coastal british columbia  

Adder Mountain Trail Guide - photos & guide by Lonny Barr  


update: I just completed this hike on Sat 13th October 2018. The access information for the mount adder trail is now incorrect due to logging in the area. Lonny mentions to stay right on the logging roads. There is now a new right hand turn which takes you off of the main logging road and sends you into a drainage away from the trailhead.
DK

Summit Ridge looking South
Summit Ridge looking South

Info:

Remarks:

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Parking at Trailhead
Parking at Trailhead
Trailhead
Trailhead
Huge Stumps in Clearcut
Huge Stumps in Clearcut
Old Growth Forest
Old Growth Forest

Looming directly above Sutton Pass on Highway 4 to Tofino lies Adder Mountain. The mountain gets its name from the Adder’s Tongue Fern, which grows on the mountains lower slopes. Although driving the highway only provides short glimpses of this 1507m peak, the view from the top gives a great vista of the many mountains that consume the skyline on the road to the coast.

The trail starts off at the edge of a clearcut, and descends down through some magnificent old growth to the bottom of a river valley. The well-worn trail works its way southwest up this valley and through some good stands of Yellow Cedar. In spring and summer there will be a series of braided streams to cross as you move up the valley. After about 20 minutes you start to climb up the right side of the valley and along some small bluffs into a bit of a saddle at the headwater of the valley you just climbed.

Trail Through Forest
Trail Through Forest
Four Trees from One
Four Trees from One
Lone Tree
Lone Tree
On to the Plateau
On to the Plateau

From this small saddle, the route heads south as you enter a subalpine plateau with some tarns and get your first look at the summit to the south. There is a big lone tree in the plateau that serves as a good landmark for route finding. Continue heading south and eventually drop down a bit of a ledge, which has a rope for a handhold.

After this, keep heading south and the ground gets progressively rockier with less vegetation. You can basically choose your route up the rock and aim for a steep gully that leads onto the summit ridge. The gully is located on the west end of the north face, and is directly below a dip in the summit ridge (see photo). It is fairly steep and made up of loose scree, so make sure to watch out for rockfall and ascend one at a time. This is the area that is heavily corniced in snow conditions.

First View of the Summit
First View of the Summit
North Face
North Face
Upper Meadows
Upper Meadows
Steep Gully up North Face to Summit Ridge
Steep Gully up North Face to Summit Ridge

Once you gain the ridge, you turn east and follow the ridge to the summit. From the top, you get a great view south; Louise Goetting Lake directly below and the Marion Creek Watershed leading towards Triple Peak, Cats Ears, and 5040. Looking west you get a clear look at Steamboat and Pogo Peak, as well as the Clayquot Plateau. There is a summit register located inside a brass canister in the rock cairn.

Summit Ridge
Summit Ridge
Summit Ridge View
Summit Ridge View
Lonny Approaching Summit
Lonny Approaching Summit

When we did this hike in August 2015 there was no snow anywhere due to the extremely low snowpack and hot summer. In “normal” seasons, there would likely be snow persisting well into summer. At the summit, as we were having lunch we had a Black Bear and her two cubs climb up towards us. As soon as they saw us, they ran down the slope towards Louise Goetting Lake.

Summit Ridge looking West
Summit Ridge looking West
Eric, Bryce, and Lonny at the Summit
Eric, Bryce, and Lonny at the Summit
Adder Mountain Map
Adder Mountain Map