|Avalanche runout at the base of Klitsa Mountain's north aspect|
Among those is the 1,639-metre (5,377-foot) Klitsa Mountain, whose summit and north ridge dominates the south west skyline as one drives along Sproat Lake. To the Hupacasath First Nation, the mountain has traditionally been called Kleetsa because of the white chalky appearance it maintains for most of the year. During an early June foray to the summit along the mountain's north ridge, the name didn't fail to disappoint.
|Descending Klitsa's Great Gully|
Although closer than many of Vancouver Island's more well-known peaks, the area's many overlooked summits are still a pretty long trek for most south island resident. Throw in the need to catch a ferry over from Salt Spring Island and the benefits of overnight near the trail head become significant — even with 14-hours of daylight.
Our party of eight elected to camp out in a clearing along the Taylor River main logging road which traces the banks of the swift-flowing Taylor River. The head start gave us ample time to enjoy our surprisingly scenic "campsite"before hitting the trail at about 8 o'clock.
The trail reaches the base of a gigantic north facing bowl. A chaotic scene of uprooted trees proved this is no place to hang around in avalanche season. With crampons cinched and harnesses secure just in case, our route followed a semi-steep narrow gully up hiker's left to the North ridge proper. Rain turned to sleet and sleet turned to rain as we crested the ridge and sat down for a well-deserved lunch.
|Ascending Klitsa Mountain's north ridge|
|Reaching the clouds along Klitsa's north ridge|
|Towards the Jubilee Gully|
|Down the Great Gully|