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5040 Peak Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr  


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Ridge - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Ridge

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Parking Spot - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Parking Spot
Waterfall - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Waterfall
Subalpine Flowers - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Subalpine Flowers
Approaching Cobalt Lake - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Approaching Cobalt Lake

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Cobalt Lake - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Cobalt Lake
Cobalt Lake - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
 
On the Ridge - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
On the Ridge

Have you ever driven Highway 4 out to Tofino on a clear day and noticed all the great peaks looming above the highway in all directions? And have you ever wished you could get a spectacular view of these mountains without having to bushwack for hours or climb up some class 5 faces? Well, 5040 may be your answer.

5040 peak gets its name from its summit elevation, and was named before Canada converted to the metric system (1532m, 5040 feet). It is a great mountain to climb on a clear day because it is surrounded by some of the most rugged peaks on the Island and can be reached via a great trail without too many steep or exposed sections. Some have described it as having the best views on the Island, even when compared to the Comox Glacier and the Golden Hinde.

The Cobalt Lake route was built in 2006 by the Alberni Valley Outdoors Club, and is still in great shape in 2011. The trail begins as a flagged route through the logging slash, and slowly makes its way up to the steep old growth forest above. The trail through the forest is quite steep, and makes its way over to follow the river that drains Cobalt Lake. Once the trail nears the river, it basically follows the river all the way up to the lake. Along the way, the trail starts to break into the more open sub-alpine and there are a few rock bluffs where you can follow the small cairns. There are a few small waterfalls before you reach the last stretch where you head north right up to the lake.

Mom on the Snow - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Mom on the Snow
Heather Meadows - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Heather Meadows
Steep - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Steep
Lonny and Jordan - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Lonny and Jordan

When we did this hike in Sept 2011, Cobalt was still almost completely frozen over, and there was lots of snow evident in the route to the summit. I wouldnít normally expect this in September though, as 2011 had a big snowpack and a cool summer.

The view from Cobalt Lake is great, as you look straight across the Effingham Valley at Triple Peak and Cats Ears Peak. I think it would be really fun to camp at the lake if there were less snow, although lugging a big pack up that steep trail would not be fun.

To continue towards the summit, you follow along the lakeshore and cross at the mouth of the river that flows out of it. Continue along the trail that heads up a forested slope and onto a big open ridge. Once on the ridge, you now have a great view of Steamboat Peak and Pogo Peak, as well as a clear view of the summit approach.

View - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
View
Triple Peak - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Triple Peak
Lonny and Jordan - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Lonny and Jordan
Cold Swim - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Cold Swim

As you approach the bowl just below the summit there are two possible routes; one is to head straight up a steep gulley with some exposure, and the other is to veer right (east) towards the saddle and then turn left (NW) and follow the ridge to the top. We opted the saddle/ridge route as it was less steep and we did not have crampons or ice axes for the steep snow up the gulley.

The summit provides absolutely spectacular views. You look across at the mountains mentioned earlier, as well as Adder Mountain to the north, Klitsa and Nahmint, Mt. Hall, and even Mt. Arrowsmith way off in the distance. There is a summit register to sign before heading back down.

Cold Swim - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
 
Cannon Ball - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Cannon Ball
Steep Trail Down - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Steep Trail Down
Map - 5040 Peak Trail Guide by Lonny Barr
Map

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