Deeks Peak circuit via Bypass Trail
August 21, 2016
A 'John and Katie' version of a Deeks area circuit. Not up to oldmatt's standards, but it was a great day through some new terrain for us. : )
Pulled into the Porteau Rd. lot just off the hwy. and saw 12 cars in the lot at 7am...yikes. Gate was wide open, and looks like it has been open for some time. Having 2wdr, we parked in the Porteau Rd. lot.
Somehow I ticked off a wasp along the road up and got stung through the sock. Perhaps keep and eye out for a nest about 15-20 minutes up from the hwy.
We have been up been up in the Deeks/Windsor area quite a bit, but never via the Deeks Lake Bypass Trail, so up we went. Steep, buggy, faint footbed, and not terribly well marked. The flagging you do manage to see is old and tiny, so keep a sharp eye (we lost it a few times). Would be a complicated route without the markings that are still there. Bushy in places. Came across several bear scats, some very large.
Topped out on a bench around 1450m and wasn't sure which way to go from there. Left went to the plateau of tarns along the Kallahne route, straight up looked very steep and right went nowhere (we went right at first). We ended up going straight up, basically following a shallow, but steep gulley. Some minor bush and use of hands. No flagging or trail, so I assume we were not on route, but we eventually connected with the marked trail to the peak. When reaching Deeks Peak, we decided not to summit, as we have been up there a few times already and we were on a mission to complete the loop down to the lake. One we have not done on our own or without snow.
Dropped down south off the ridge and came across that tricky spot down into a gully. We have been turned around here before, but with some snow still around. No snow this time, but it still wasn't going to happen. It's just a 4-5' step, but not a dog friendly step. Awkward to help her down as well.
We back-tracked and tried to find a more suitable route for us down into the gully. Everything down was so steep, but we kept trying and thankfully found a way down for us. Still some very steep terrain, but it was more of a dry needle covered dirt slope that was no problem for her, but a few slips and slides down for me. Some good trees and bush to grab onto helped keep me in one piece.
Made it down into the gully and then ascended it back up to the ridge on the east side of Deeks Peak, where I was pretty sure we would connect with a marked route. We did.
Looking up at the east side of Deeks Peak once we were back on the ridge. We did not come down that, but from the left and out of picture.
Gully leading down the north side from the same vantage point.
A view of Mt. Windsor from the east ridge of Deeks Peak.
Another gully leading down the north side. Still some snow around these parts.
A good marked trail leads along the east ridge and down to the Deeks/Windsor pass. Trail does fade to no trail just before hitting the pass, but still well marked, and then we were back in familiar territory and settled for lunch. Bugs were still plentiful and aggressive, so we didn't sit for long. Had time for Windsor, but there were a lot of clouds around and it was starting to sprinkle. Being up there a few times, I couldn't motivate myself for more and I was quite satisfied with finding our way up and along this route snow free and on our own.
Here is a shot of our track from where we topped out on a bench around 1450m. Deeks Peak is incorrectly labelled...the actual peak is the bump under "range'. Frome there you can see how we wrangled our way down the south side of the peak and up to the east ridge. As mentioned, the trail is well established and marked from there down.
She done good, again. : )
Thanks for the report on this area, John. I haven't made it up to Deeks Pk yet, but one day I'll cobble together all the info I can find on this apparently vague route and knock it off. Is it advisable to go when there's snow? From what I've read, it seems like that's the case.
Katie continues to impress. And you're doing alright too ;)
I like the route, although I've only done it once. I agree the markings are very helpful with very little traffic. I think I recall the bench you're referring too. I scrambled straight up too, but I think from above I saw flagging over to climber's right, so there may be an easier bypass.
It is good to see people using the old bypass route. It has some great viewpoints. I always go straight up from the ledge to meet the old trail from Lost Lake cabin. I flagged it once, but those seem to be gone now.
The step down on the ridge route is quite easy when turned around, but not at all dog or dog holding friendly. Glad you persevered and found an alternate.
Im surprised by the bugs, I had nothing a few weeks ago.
I think snow will make the route very hard to follow. I have cleaned up most of the bush below the ledge section mentioned earlier (only a bit to go), so I would recommend summer/fall instead.
Good to know what it's like to get down Deeks on that side with a dog. We went up and down the west ridge last year with a dog and also lost the marked route a couple of times.
Redbeard: Attached below is our track along the Bypass Trail. It discreetly leaves the Deeks Lake Trail around 580m. Small metal tag on a tree. Easy to miss. This was our first time up the Bypass Trail, so I don't know how it goes in snow. It is steep. I imagine navigation would be difficult if you are breaking trail.
guntis: I like the Bypass Trail as well, and prefer it over the Kallahne route to Deeks Peak.
oldmatt: I agree, that step down to the east side of Deeks would be easier in the other direction with a dog. Doesn't look like much of a problem for us uprights in either direction, though? That is the area where the bugs were at their worst. I had to resort to the net (which I lost while slipping and sliding down into the gully) just to breathe. Thanks for the work you put into the trail.
martin: I don't know where it came from, but I was always under the impression the Bypass Trail wasn't very dog friendly. Katie had no trouble with it, whatsoever.
Thanks guys. : )
Thinking about it more while day-dreaming at work, I would have to agree. You are weaving around, over, along and under many steep bluffs on that trail. Snow hanging off those would be too dangerous.
The Kallahne route to Deeks Peak is preferred in snow. I also prefer the upper reaches of the Deeks Peak area snow covered. Windsor is nicer in snow too.
great job on getting this done J&K! No pics of Howe sound from that clearing ~1000m altitude?
Re that 4-5' step on 1st pic -- Katie peeking "No way I'm going down there ?!!. I apologize for maybe dumb question, but couldn't you, as it is just 4-5', less than human height, just jump down first, then with arms raised above you lower her down?
Thanks. No other pics. Kind of a dull sky kind of day, and we were on a mission. : )
Regarding that step, yes, at least she gave it a look. The footing isn't that great at the bottom of it (sloping rock) and then another minor step below that. Fighting a reluctant dog was out of the question, and I promised to stop taking her through stuff she didn't want to do. I think I could have easily just jumped down myself.
Was thinking of going up Deeks again via the bypass so I looked up this thread.We did it with our dogs as well maybe 15-20 years ago. This is the most direct route to Deeks peak I think. Last year coming down from Deeks lake I looked for the branch off from the lake trail but missed it.So its at app.580 m. elevation via Redbeard,thanks for that. See if I can find the metal marker. Heres my recollection of our trip back then. The branch off the main trail was a little vague and there was some flagging,thanks for that. Sometimes overgrown and of course where the sun gets through up higher the flagging gets hidden by the undergrowth. We went flag to flag pretty much. Alot of blueberries on this high west side(we were there in September).I remember giant bear plops all day long and they all looked like blueberry pie filling. A good sign,they are getting lots to eat. Once you get to the high west shoulder of Deeks and intersect with the Kalahanie route its more open and easier to navigate. After getting to the peak I referred to the Fairley book(always underestimates!) which said the quickest way down to the lake was straight down the hill through the forest to the south staying east of the bluffy west shoulder.I hadnt been on the Deeks -Windsor col route down at that time. So we backtracked a bit and saw what looked like a trail straight down to the lake. My dog did a quick recon....ok,looks like a trail and off we go. Actually it was a series of bear slides down to the north side of the lake. And slide we did,especially the two dogs. We got down to the lake and could hear a very loud humming of wasps and first through the nest was my dog,totally swarmed. She was in front and as soon as we saw the explosion of wasps on her we all ran and all got swarmed with many bites. I counted 20 stings mostly on my legs but in retrospect the toxin must have been weak as it was late in the summer. So we hopped into the lake for a swim and had a good laugh. As a foot note,my dog had a personal war with wasps from that day on.In my backyard,she would lie there patiently waiting for one to get close and kill it with a well placed bite and eat it. Though she got stung a few times in her mouth it didn't deter her from her grim task!
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