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Alpine

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Snootli Peak via Snooka Lakes

An alpine ridge tour de force. All-day on a summit. Miles of ridge-walking, with some short technical sections and some sections of loose/rotten rock. Some parties may want to bring a rope and light rack for short sections.

Note: Exiting the Snooka Lakes bowl depends on snowpack levels; in low snow conditions, start from the upper of the three Snooka lakes (https://bellacoolatrails.ca/content/snooka-lakes), head to the south end of the lake, then up not-so-pleasant looking dirt and scree slopes until gaining a south-trending series of clean granite ramps. The dirt slopes are not as bad as they look, and the granite ramps are excellent and make for fast travel. Continue up the ramps until the ridge.

Continue on this ridge more or less the rest of the way, over several intermediate peaks, to Snootli peak itself.

A grand day out.

Tatsquan Ridge

A beautiful hike through steep timber from downtown up into the alpine. Either climb the '100 stairs' to the reservoir, immediately turn left towards the creek, and follow a well-tracked steep trail upwards to briefly join a logging road; OR follow same logging road up switchbacks right from the highway. Both starts will bring you to the beginning of the Tatsquan Ridge route, marked with flagging and a sign. Enter the forest following a well-flagged route. Continue steeply through timbered benches past a couple viewpoints (380m and 970m) and a seasonal water hole (750m), through open, old-growth timber, all the way into the alpine of Tatsquan ridge and beyond. A sustained and enjoyable hike with many points of interest.

Note: there is NO running water along the trail in dry conditions; bring enough water to enjoy the day! There is standing water in many alpine tarns throughout the summer.

The route is cut and flagged.

4 Mile Ridge via Saloompt Bluffs

An elegant and efficient route linking Saloompt Bluffs with the incredible alpine ridge of 4 Mile Mountain, via the Mills Creek basin. The trail is well marked and cut, with many points of interest along the way.

Follow the upper Saloompt Bluffs trail to the lookout, then continue West along the same timber bench, climbing through a short and memorable 'rock tunnel' feature to gain a connecting timber bench with excellent views of the Bella Coola Valley and Mills Creek basin. Continue along the bench past a couple seasonal creeks all the way to a beautiful pool and fjord at Mills Creek. Cross the creek and continue through open timber to gain the East shoulder of 4 Mile; follow the timbered ridge upwards to the base of a short headwall; traverse below the headwall to gain a steep timbered ravine directly left of the wall. Climb up the ravine feature into the bluffy alpine of 4 Mile Ridge. Continue as desired West along the ridge, past many views and interesting features.

Snooka Lakes

A complex approach up and through a series of timber ribs, slides and talus fields, leading to an incredible alpine bowl with 3 breathtaking turquoise lakes.

A great basecamp within striking distance of other objectives; ridge walking, alpine climbing, goat viewing... and just generally exploring!

Trail is currently in rough condition. Some flagging, better towards the bottom.

Mills Creek - Enso Pool

Follow Saloompt Bluffs trail to viewpoint, then continue West on ledges and through timber to Mills Creek, arriving at an enchanting pool.

Trail is well flagged and cut.

Mosquito Pass

Gain the alpine south of Nusatsum Mtn via efficient route; an excellent basecamp for further adventures.

Goat Ridge via Saloompt Bluffs

Gain the striking alpine ridge leading to Goat Peak via Saloompt Bluffs.

Follow the fairly well established upper Saloompt Bluffs trail to the main lookout; continue west briefly then north and up past orange flagging through several tree terraces, into a distinct pinch point in a steep timbered slot; move upwards to easier ground and open granite slabs. Follow flagging up several slabs and timber ribbons to a small watercourse; follow the water to the base of more slabs and clear views of the alpine. Gain a blunt buttress feature and move upwards along the general prow of it, traversing off to the left or right as needed. After gaining the top of this granite slab/prow feature, alpine meadow strips open to your left below clean granite walls. Continue up through open ground, meadows giving way to rock slabs, to a final treed gully to the right of the attractive and massive summit block.

Goat ridge opens to the north-west.

Note - above 1000m there are several long granite slab sections that are easy to walk on in dry conditions, however parallel vegetated gullies offer an alternative in poor/wet conditions. The general route is the same.

Nuxalk Ridge via Crystal Creek

A steep and adventurous hiking route up to the alpine of Nuxalk ridge with many points of interest. Start from the ice rink, traverse below granite walls to the deep ravine of Crystal Creek. Crossing the creek, head up through the canyon before continuing steeply through burnt timber bands, weaving through small rock bluffs, gradually moving right towards the highest notable stand of timber. Follow ledge systems and gain the first summit from the West, traversing it Eastward before continuing up through steep old growth mountain hemlock to the alpine.

Goat Peak (Winter route)

Starting up the Saloompt Bluffs trail, continue north up the blunt ridge, through mixed slabs and tree islands until gaining the alpine.

Some short steep sections at beginning give way to gentle slopes.

Devon Girard's picture

Saloompt Bluffs

A steep start leads to moderate hiking through old growth, rising gently to a fork in the trail - the Upper Bluffs trail continues upwards past many waterfalls to a series of viewpoints overlooking Hagensborg and the surrounding mountains. The Lower Bluffs trail leads to the base of the climbing walls.

Trail is cut and well flagged; the Upper Bluffs trail gets more traffic, is quite tracked in and easy to follow.

Tatsquan Traverse

Incredible natural circuit around the ridgeline of the Tatsquan watershed. Start and finish from downtown Bella Coola.

Devon Girard's picture

Nuxalk Mountain Circuit

Alpine tour de force, an incredible circuit linking Nuxalk ridge and the Snootli descent trail with the Snooka lakes.

Nuxalk Mtn is more technical from the North, so climbing up from Nuxalk Ridge and descending via Snooka lakes is recommended. Technical difficulty will vary with conditions, there are a couple brief sections of 4th class scrambling between the North and South Nuxalk summits, where some parties may wish to use a rope. The descent via Snooka lakes trail involves some route-finding and can be a bit rough/bushy in places. Allow 16 hours for the complete circuit.

Odegaard Meadows Route

Easy route finding, follow the approximately 2km flagged route to the meadow and lakes above Odegaard Falls. The route heads up onto the ridge and into the alpine via the Odegaard Falls Recreation trail. Watch for the pink flagging on your right (East)

Grey Jay / Blue Jay North Bentinck Lookout

This trail and boardwalk wind through alpine forest along Grey Jay Lake and then wanders through open meadows and wetlands to end at a viewpoint overlooking North and South Bentinck Arms. It offers a nice afternoon stroll and on return there is the option for a refreshing swim in Blue Jay Lake. Views of the Coast Mountains are spectacular, although somewhat limited compared to the ridge above M Gurr Lake. Alpine flowers are abundant in the summer. Blue Jay Lake is much warmer than M Gurr Lake and, uniquely, this high elevation lake contains trout.

Hammer Lake, Ape Lake

This trail route leads into the heart of the Coast Mountain wilderness through dense high elevation forest to more open sub-alpine parkland and then onto lushly flowered alpine meadows that lead to imposing jagged peaks. The trail starts off through a subalpine forest of Engelmann Spruce, Mountain Hemlock and Subalpine Fir where huckleberries are plentiful in season. The trail can be quite wet at certain times of the year or during/after prolonged wet weather. There is a large section of boardwalk closer to the lakes where the trail opens up into subalpine meadows. The views of the surrounding mountains are impressive. Pearl Peak with its glacier plastered on the side can be seen beyond the meadows and lakes.

An alpine viewpoint is the final destination with amazing views of Iroquos Ridge and its glacier ice fall over the Noeick River. South-east is the route to Ape Lake and the peaks of the Monarch Icefield\, including the looming pyramid of Mt. Jacobsen. Beyond the viewpoint the route to Ape Lake requires a map and compass and should only be attempted by experienced\, well prepared hikers. There is no flagged trail yet.

Purgatory Lookout

This route offers spectacular alpine views as it winds between meadows, ponds, talus boulder slopes and snow avalanche brush tracts and is an ideal mountain bike excursion. Originally part of a road that connected all the way to South Bentinck Arm, it can still be driven in a 4X4 to the lookout, depending on the level of debris from the previous winter’s snow avalanches and roadside brush encroachment. The lookout is spectacular with a fabulous view of the Noeick River valley, Styx Mountain and Purgatory Glacier directly across the valley. It is possible to continue walking the old forest service road downhill for more views; however, the road is brushing in quickly. If you do make it downhill to the river, just remember it’s a long way back up to the vehicle. The Noeick River valley was washed out a few times by a jokulhlaup (a glacial phenomenon where the rising waters of Ape Lake broke through the receding Fyles Glacier ice dam, dumping a wall of water down the Noeick River valley and wiping forests and roads all the way to South Bentinck Arm).

Odegaard Falls

The Odegaard Falls area in the Nusatsum valley is a must see attraction as it is in the heart of the Coast Mountain wilderness with its spectacular peaks and glaciers. The falls are very impressive, especially in early summer when it swells with snow melt. The trail to the falls passes through an old mossy forest of western hemlock, Sitka spruce and amabilis fir. You get the first view of the falls from the foot bridge crossing the Nusatsum River. There is a great viewpoint at the base of the falls that have a vertical drop of ~175m.

Should re-route trail to stay on west side of creek, enhance trail to top meadow.

Clayton Falls Rec Site

With a great shoreline picnic site and a viewing platform of the falls cascading through a canyon of cliffs scoured smooth by water and glacial action, the Clayton Falls Recreation Site is one of the most popular sights in the valley. Depending on the season or the current weather, the falls can be a full apron or narrow streamlets flowing through ancient grooves. Pink salmon spawn at the bottom of the falls between late July and September. Look for them attempting to jump up the falls. Salmon also use the spawning grounds created by B.C. Hydro below the outflow from the generating station. The park has picnic tables and outhouses. At low tide there is even a small stretch of sandy beach. Watch the boats coming and going and maybe even a sailboarder, yacht or ferry. Note the old cannery across North Bentinck Arm. Seals hang out at the mouth of the creek and from the bridge over the creek you can sometimes see seals chasing down salmon at high tide.

ATV parking at water tower and BC Hydro may put in off-loading ramp

M Gurr Lake

This is an easy access trail that winds through stunted sub-alpine forest to a crystal clear\, emerald jewel alpine lake. You may want to go for a quick swim, although the neighbouring pond east of the lake is warmer. Wildflowers are abundant and provide a colourful bloom in July and August. Beyond the lake the trail is not as distinct\, but still easy to follow. Once on the rocky part of the ridge\, pick your own way to the highest point. The viewpoint above the lake) provides awesome views of the coast mountain peaks rimming North and South Bentinck Arms, Burke Channel and the upper Clayton Falls Valley.

Nusatsum

Amazing ridge walk in the sky, to the iconic peak of Nusatsum.

Snootli Descent Trail

Breathtaking views up an improbable line, crisscrossing the open north-west butress of Nuxalk Mountain, up narrow ledges with a few fixed lines.

Saloompt Peak

Epic mountain biking on goat trails through steep oldgrowth, up to a lake-studded granitic ridge with hardcore berries.

Schoolhouse Peak

An alpine walk thru the sky; beautiful terrain and great views of the Bella Coola valley.

Gain the Northwest ridge via the Hagensborg Loop Trail; leave the loop trail east of the quarry, up the right side of a creek and into timber, avoiding a cutblock to the right. Traverse gradually rightwards to the true ridge line, and then up a sometimes-faint but friendly trail up through interesting features, various stands of timber and broad ledges. Forage your way through the subalpine to a magnificent broad ledge at about 1600m. Continue slightly right of the north ridgeline through alpine boulder fields and bands of meadow. Depending on the snowpack, move upwards as seems reasonable through snowfields, ledges and gullies to the broad summit.

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