Elkhorn

As low as:

$670.00 / person

(at 2:1 ratio)
  • STRENUOUSNESS
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  • TECHNICAL DIFFICULTY
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About 


The Elkhorn, affectionately known as the "Matterhorn of the Island Alps," is the second highest peak on Vancouver Island. The North West Ridge is the classic line, and was first ascended by an Alpine Club expedition led by A.O Wheeler in 1912. This route remains a challenge today, with over 1800m of elevation gain from valley to summit. Atmospheric low-fifth class climbing leads to striking views of Colonel Foster, Kings Peak, and Rambler amidst the rugged and remote backdrop of Strathcona Provincial Park. 

Price reflects a two-day trip. This trip can also be done as a three-day for those desiring a more leisurely pace - for three-day pricing, please send us an email.

Included in the price:

  • 2 days with an ACMG guide
  • Group technical gear

Not included in the price:

  • Transportation
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Personal equipment
  • Personal technical gear (harness, helmet, ice axe, crampons - available as add on)

Questions? Check out our FAQ page for details about our booking and cancellation policy, and other commonly asked questions or send us an email. 

Location 


The standard route up the Northwest Ridge of the Elkhorn is typically accessed up the Elk River Valley and the ERT (Elk River Trail) in Strathcona Park. 

Here are some details to consider about this region:

  • There is no cell service between Campbell River and Gold River
  • Trailhead approximately 1.5 hours from Campbell River
  • If you are looking to camp in the area before or after the trip, there are two pay campsites near Gold River, or there is a free camping location just outside Strathcona Park a few kilometres from Gold River here
 

Itinerary 


A typical day starts at 08:30 and ends around 16:30. The pacing of this trip will be entirely dependent on the group, guide, number of days to complete and other factors such as time of year, weather and conditions. Any specifics pertaining to your trip will be indicated in the booking tab or in the pre-trip email. 

Exact meeting details will be provided in a pre-trip email sent one-week prior to your trip. 
 
Questions? Check out our FAQ page for details, or send us an email. 

Requirements


Whether you have chosen to do this trip as a strenuous two day or a more relaxed three day outing, this route will involve strenuous days of hiking and climbing and requires a good level of fitness. To join this trip, you should: 

  • Have scrambling and hiking experience
  • Be comfortable climbing up to 5.4 in hiking boots
  • Be comfortable gaining approximately 1200m vertical gain with a load of approximately 25kg 

Preparation

The best training for hiking and climbing is to go hiking and climbing. Regular hikes going up-hill with a load on will get you in shape for this trip. 

You should be comfortable climbing up to 5.4 rock in boots (bring your boots to the crag and try top roping climbs in this range).

Questions about the suitability of this trip? Send us an email. We’re happy to help you find or customize trips to suit your needs. 
Gear List
 
Temperatures on this trip could range from -5°C at night to around 25°C (+) during the day. Ensure all clothing and equipment are in good repair, and fitted properly to you:
 
Technical:
 
Available as a “Mountaineering Kit” rental add on ($30) when you book.
 
  • Helmet – UIAA approved and adjustable
  • 2x locking carabiners – at least one should be pear-shaped
  • Harness – a simple, lightweight alpine seat harness
  • Belay/rappel device
  • 7mm accessory cord – 5 metre length
  • Double shoulder length sewn sling – should be rated to 22kn
  • Crampons – simple, 10-point general mountaineering crampon (either step-in or strap- on are fine depending on your boots)
  • Ice axe – general mountaineering tool, 60-80cm depending on your height

Clothing:
 
  • Long underwear (top and bottom), poly-pro, wool or silk
  • Mid-weight jacket, wool, fleece, synthetic or down
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants)
  • Toque, wool or fleece
  • T-shirt or long-sleeved shirt (white or other light colour), synthetic
  • Lightweight hiking pants, nylon or similar
  • Gloves

Footwear:
 
  • Mountaineering boots (suitable for carrying a 30 lb. load over rough terrain) 
  • 2 x pairs of socks, wool or synthetic blend
  • 2 x pairs of liner socks, poly-pro or silk (optional)
  • Gaiters that fit your boots (optional)
  • Lightweight camp shoes (optional)

Sleeping:
 
  • Sleeping bag (warm to -5°C)
  • Therm-a-rest or other sleeping pad (available for rent)
  • 3-season tent (available for rent)

Cooking:
 
  • Small cooking pot (available for rent)
  • Fuel canister (available for rent)
  • Stove (available for rent)
  • Lighter
  • 1 breakfast, 2 lunches (ready to eat), 1 dinner, various snacks (for 2-day trip) (please note that all lunches should be ready-to-eat, and will likely be consumed on the go). For tasty, nutritous and locally pre-made dinners check out https://wildedgeketo.com/
  • Eating vessel and utensils
 
Other:
 
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses with 100% UV block
  • Sunscreen, SPF lip balm
  • Toothbrush and a small container of toothpaste
  • 2 x 1 litre water bottles (or a 2L bladder)
  • Water purification system
  • Pocket knife
  • Head-lamp with spare batteries
  • Small first aid kit (optional)
  • Hiking poles (optional)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • 50L+ backpack with waist belt

Group Gear Logistics

Your guide will bring along group emergency (first aid, communications device) and technical gear (the rope, the rack). You are only required to bring the items on this list.

Rentals

 
The following items are available for rent as an “Add On” when you book (or upon request). These are available on a first come, first serve basis:

  • Mountaineering Kit - Includes all items on the technical gear list for $30.00 ($15/day)

If you require other from the personal gear list such as mountaineering boots, you can check out Sports Rent based out of Victoria.

Questions? Send us an email or read our blog for advice on choosing appropriate gear. 

Testimonials

For several years my daughter's birthday present for me was a guided trip with Jan Neuspiel to one of the higher local peaks on northern Vancouver Island or in the Bute Inlet area. Without exception, the climbs were enjoyable and successful, and the memories remain with me as some of my most enjoyable mountaineering trips. At the start of a trip the objective always seemed to be higher and more difficult than anything I could reasonably expect to climb safely. Yet once we got going I never had reason to fear or worry, it was simply lots of fun in spectacular surroundings. If it wasn't for very arthritic knees, the birthday present tradition would, hopefully, still be going on. Rolf Kellarhals, Quadra Island, BC.
Lyle was great. Very professional, yet also interesting to talk to and always aware of our needs/status. I must say it was weird for us (me especially) to be in the back country and having someone else making all the decisions, but the benefits of observing and learning were worth the weirdness! Clarke Gourlay, Qualicum, BC.