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post #1 of (permalink) Old 05-21-2021, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Default Tribute to Dick Culbert

Technically this isn't much of a TR but I thought it of interest to update CT on the Mt Elphinstone summit trail. I haven't been up there since Oct 2019 but with a beautiful crisp sunny morning I decided a quick dash to the 2/3 of the way mark would be in order, before the wet, mucky snow starts. On the way I encountered the recently placed, wonderful tribute to Dick Culbert the legendary BC mountaineer who was instrumental in building the Mt Elphinstone summit trail. Here's a picture for interest sake.

Well over a decade ago I was venturing up that way and wondered who was placing yellow metal trail markers along a new, actual trail bed. In 1984 I was the forest engineer who established boundaries and road/bridge designs for the now regenerated cutblock that one crosses near the last push to the summit. It was a total surprise when I returned many years later only to find Dick Culbert building this wonderful trail. I had the pleasure of several fascinating conversations with him up on the slopes of that local mountain.

Here, on the Sunshine Coast we remain ever so grateful for Dick and Peter's hard work and dedication to the Mt Elphinstone summit trail. From a handful of locals hiking up there a dozen years ago to today with many hundreds of hikers every season, the trail, like Dick himself, is a local legend.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 05-22-2021, 12:49 AM
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Always nice to see your post pop up. I regret being on Elphinstone just once, there is lots to explore
You still haven't moved to the Island then?
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 05-22-2021, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Always nice to see your post pop up. I regret being on Elphinstone just once, there is lots to explore
You still haven't moved to the Island then?
Hey ya, Zelj .... no, we are still on the sunshine coast. We've been looking at property on the central island (north Nanaimo to Qualicum) but the market is ridiculous, even frantic. Prices have exploded just as they have where we live but there's very little good inventory to look at. A handful of places we were interested in were sold in less than one day, with multiple offers, over asking price. I'm sure it would be the same if we sold our place but then finding a place on the island is very difficult. The realtor we are dealing with has three client families that are living in hotels trying to find a place. We aren't in a position of needing to sell. So we're not inclined to jump into the real estate craziness.

Maybe the market will quiet down a bit in the summer and if so we'll probably look again.

How are things in Canmore area?

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 05-22-2021, 02:10 PM
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Maybe the market will quiet down a bit in the summer and if so we'll probably look again.

How are things in Canmore area?

Similar in terms of real estate. Realtor profession, which is parasitic by nature, is one that really profited from this situation. Low rates + more and more people working remotely & wanted to escape cities. One specific here is zoning; in ultra-high demand are condos that can be rented short-term. They just fly off the market higher than they were listed for.


The other day I cycled to Three Sisters and every time it seems border towards Dead Man Flats has expanded for another km. Low quality pancake condos and townhouses, like mushrooms after rain. There are now signs all over Canmore "Stop TSMV Development" (TSMV = Three Sisters Mountain Village), but of course nobody listens.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 05-23-2021, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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Similar in terms of real estate. Realtor profession, which is parasitic by nature, is one that really profited from this situation. Low rates + more and more people working remotely & wanted to escape cities. One specific here is zoning; in ultra-high demand are condos that can be rented short-term. They just fly off the market higher than they were listed for.
That's a familiar story everywhere it seems. Even in towns on the Island like Campbell River, development is sprawling to accommodate swelling demand. There's not much high density housing surge on the Sunshine Coast but i'm sure it will happen.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 06-20-2021, 04:56 PM
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Yes I thank him for that, too. I run so never looked long enough to realize what it was.

By the way I have been looking to find 3rd route to Elphinstone(Main South Access Route(Culbert Route), North logging road Route, then this Western Route) lately without success so far.

According to Alltrail's map it goes from 100m South of Latona Rd turn off. I did go up that way half a dozen times along the deserted logging road, but there is no flag or anything where the straight ridge ascent starts. I guess this is a bushwack perhaps.

Have you guys/anyone have experience taking this route?
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 06-21-2021, 09:38 PM
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By the way I have been looking to find 3rd route to Elphinstone(Main South Access Route(Culbert Route), North logging road Route, then this Western Route) lately without success so far.

According to Alltrail's map it goes from 100m South of Latona Rd turn off. I did go up that way half a dozen times along the deserted logging road, but there is no flag or anything where the straight ridge ascent starts. I guess this is a bushwack perhaps.

Have you guys/anyone have experience taking this route?

Hi Trailrunner! I went up that logging road in the spring, and looked around a bit at that spot for signs of anything. There doesn't seem to be a trail or flagging but it doesn't look like it would be too bad of a bushwhack.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 06-22-2021, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Have you guys/anyone have experience taking this route?
Hey Ben

That route you're looking at is actually a mountain biking trail put in by some seriously intense riders a few years ago.

Last year I was coming down off the summit and saw three guys and a girl carrying their bikes to the summit to ride down this new trail.

When you stand on the summit survey marker you can see this trail down and to your left. I went down there a little bit. It's very steep, very rough but I didn't go all the way. One day I'd like to try going up that route from the road.

That road is actually called the Ouillete creek

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 06-28-2021, 06:37 AM
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Well marked trail, a bit less so around the top but nothing unmanageable. You can expect snow and mud every now and then but I can say it's very doable with proper hiking shoes and crampons (ideally, but I managed without). Can be very slippery because of the snow melt. junk removal charlotte nc

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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-04-2021, 07:43 PM
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Thanks Andy and Trailseeker for sharing the info.

I will check it out on the bushwack assumption. Looks like that would go through some nice old growth stands on the sharp ridge!

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Hey Ben

That route you're looking at is actually a mountain biking trail put in by some seriously intense riders a few years ago.

Last year I was coming down off the summit and saw three guys and a girl carrying their bikes to the summit to ride down this new trail.

When you stand on the summit survey marker you can see this trail down and to your left. I went down there a little bit. It's very steep, very rough but I didn't go all the way. One day I'd like to try going up that route from the road.

That road is actually called the Ouillete creek
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 07-04-2021, 07:46 PM
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Actually a couple of weeks ago I aimed to peak from backside logging road to go South bound from Port Mellon Hwy(that ultimately links to B&K road). See Green route on attached map.

I turned off the main road and kept going towards the backside trail but I forgot how to go at the unexpected minor forks and got lost and came back.

Later found with the map only went up like 900m area. This was even before the trail entrance. Sharp big rocks & loose ones and hard to run but they cleared majority of road side alder at 400m elevation or higher.

By the way there is another logging road at the other side of the valley and this one has a bottom gate but it was open for cars. Anyway AllTrails map shows there is one 200 x 300m sizeable alpine lake at the end so out of curiosity headed up that way. See Blue route on attached map.
It starts getting into youngish old growth Hemlock and later real mix of Hemlock/Cypress old growth after 800 ish then gets flat. But then there were a bunch of unknown forks and got lost again then turned around and came back. Best to carry your phone or navigator to know where exactly you are.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 07-13-2021, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Actually a couple of weeks ago I aimed to peak from backside logging road to go South bound from Port Mellon Hwy(that ultimately links to B&K road). See Green route on attached map.
.

By the way there is another logging road at the other side of the valley and this one has a bottom gate but it was open for cars. Anyway AllTrails map shows there is one 200 x 300m sizeable alpine lake at the end so out of curiosity headed up that way. See Blue route on attached map.
It starts getting into youngish old growth Hemlock and later real mix of Hemlock/Cypress old growth after 800 ish then gets flat. But then there were a bunch of unknown forks and got lost again then turned around and came back. Best to carry your phone or navigator to know where exactly you are.

That unnamed lake is actually called "Clare Lake". Some years ago it was a popular jeep 4x4 destination and we even built some benches and a bit of a trail to the shore. There is an island in the lake that was nice to swim to in the heat of summer. About 10 years ago the road washed out badly on a steep corner. I have not been up there since.

What is the condition of the road? Is it passable with a 4X4 or is walk only? Yes, it is very easy to get turned around on the spur roads up there

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post #13 of (permalink) Old 07-14-2021, 02:42 PM
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Dick Culbert is a name every Coast Mountains lover should know. His son also, who put together the first South to North traverse of the Coastal range.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 07-20-2021, 04:35 PM
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Is that right eh Andy? Clare Lake. Wow now I got more excited!

After the plateau(800m ish) any regular car can drive, before there are sections of very sharp large rocks piled up and super steep(including water fall section). No deactivated ditches at all. Very wide and side bushes completely cleared. It appears to be used for some active logging so if the gate is open on the weekend then probably safe for a 2hr 4x4 trip up and down. I don't recall major dips so I imagine even Subarus can get up there but 2WD high clearance might have challenge getting up there.

Any photo of Clare lake at all?

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That unnamed lake is actually called "Clare Lake". Some years ago it was a popular jeep 4x4 destination and we even built some benches and a bit of a trail to the shore. There is an island in the lake that was nice to swim to in the heat of summer. About 10 years ago the road washed out badly on a steep corner. I have not been up there since.

What is the condition of the road? Is it passable with a 4X4 or is walk only? Yes, it is very easy to get turned around on the spur roads up there
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 07-20-2021, 04:47 PM
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By the way also on Sunday I went up Elphinston half way to find the trailhead on this Ouillete Creek road. I am talking about a 3rd Elphinstone trail Eastern approach and this is likely by far the steepest. I did it by using the Gia GPS. It was super difficult to find the turn off but I piled up some wood crossing over there so if anyone goes there now it is obvious.

There is only flaggging every 200-300m I saw. Once you start into the trail off the gravel, it becomes more and more clear there is a good effort made to trim off branches, trees, crossing over logs with zigzag chainsaw marks etc. Basically it goes up along the relatively narrow ridge in the Hemlock forest so you really don't get lost.

From 800m ish it turned to stunted old growth. I went up till 870m point. There might have been a view if sunny but it was foggy so turned around. Ran upto that point though stopped a few times as I was checking where I was but crawled down at sections down hill. Kind of Grouse Grind without any steps 85% most of the time.

I didn't measure time but probably this can be faster than main trail. I even wonder if Dick built this one but not good for public consumption and abandoned to publicize as Elphin trail.

My friend who came down oneway this Ouilett route(without knowingly he was coming down the wrong way) said he doesn't recall much of a view. Some nice old growth at upper side.

I will put the photos up when I settle the technical challenges later.
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