Adder Mountain East Ridge Route

Page Type
Vancouver Island/BC, Canada, North America
Route Type:
Hiking, Mountaineering, Skiing
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day
Class 2/AI1

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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Adder Mountain East Ridge Route
Created On: Jul 13, 2010
Last Edited On: Oct 7, 2016


Adder Mountain East RidgeUpper east ridge

A much shorter, more direct and more straightforward route than the North Ridge/Face. Approaches from the Nahmint Valley via the south shore of Sproat Lake. A long and somewhat unpleasant drive from the Port Alberni area on badly maintained and finally deactivated (read 4WD necessary) logging roads to a starting elevation of 640 metres.

A brief phase through logging slash is followed by an equally brief one in old growth before emerging onto open ground at only 850 metres elevation.

Thereafter, wonderful open ridge hiking to the last steep climb up the summit block.

Probably the best choice when cornice hazard threatens the North Face Route.

East Ridge Approach

From the signal light at the bottom of the hill in Port Alberni drive 6.8 km and turn left onto McCoy Lake Road. Drive 1.9 km and keep right on Tyler Road. Go ahead 1.6 km to a 4 way junction at N49 15.254 W124 54.241 and go straight across onto gravel. Approximately 1 km later the road swings round to the west and begins to follow Taylor Arm, an offshoot of the south side of Sproat Lake.

Continue about 13 km and keep left at N49 14.018 W125 02.867, the junction with Taylor Main. Shortly thereafter the road turns south (may now be called Gracie Main) and begins to climb up a pass ahead. Proceed 6 km up and over the pass and down to the junction with Nahmint Main at N49 11.720 W125 04.421. Turn right and cross the Nahmint River within 1 km.

Adder Mountain East Ridge Route Start
Nahmint Valley approach drive limit

Adder Mountain East Ridge Route Start
Adder Mountain East Ridge Route Start
Immediately after crossing the river keep right at a junction at N49 11.983 W125 05.223

Drive west on Nahmint on good 2WD surface and after 5.8 km cross the river again to its north bank at N49 12.810 W125 09.049

Proceed west on Nahmint for just over 4 km and note spur 600 on the right at N49 13.732 W125 11.935. This gives access to Mt Klitsa.

Proceed west on Nahmint. Soon after spur 600 the road deteriorates and the first of the cross ditches/water bars appear. Lock in 4WD and go ahead a further ~ 7 km to a large washout that bars further progress at N49 14.412 W125 15.919. There is adequate parking here.

Route Description

Adder Mountain East Ridge
Group on the east ridge of Adder Mountain approaching the summit

From the start point at 640 metres elevation walk across the big washout and ~ 1.5 km up the remains of the road right to its end at N49 14.694 W125 16.924

Walk off the road and pick your way slightly north of west up through the logging slash following flagging where you can find it. This route is less frequently travelled than the north route and consequently there’s nothing startlingly obvious in the way of a use-path. About 10 minutes in the slash should see you safely into the old growth above.

Proceed up through the trees gradually swinging round to a true northwesterly heading to intersect a stream flowing down from a small tarn above. Go up either bank of the stream to the neighbourhood of the tarn at N49 15.105 W125 17.997 and 1,100 metres elevation. 

Adder Mountain East RidgeLower east ridge
Adder Mountain Upper East RidgeUpper east ridge
Adder Mountain Upper East RidgeClimbing the summit block
Adder Mountain East RidgeEast ridge from the summit

You are already out onto friendly open slopes at about 850 metres elevation but above the tarn the sub alpine ridge is wide open and presents wonderful open hiking, particularly when still under snow.

Head left (west) up the wide ridge and directly up to the summit. There are two steep phases before the steepest one on the summit block itself. Several bluffs provide sporty diversions if desired but, if not, an easy route around (usually on the south side) is always available. When the route is snow covered, some might appreciate an axe on the last pitch.

Walk across to the slightly lower west summit if desired being careful to avoid cornice hazard in early season.

Descend by the same route. About 10 km return from cars including the road walk. Average time: 3-3.5 hours up and 2-2.5 hours down (less on snow).

A Mapsource/Garmin tracklog is available for the full approach and east ridge route. Just send me an email or PM.

Essential Gear

Some will appeciate an ice axe and perhaps crampons in icy conditions, particularly on the last steep climb up the summit block.

Weather/Links/Red Tape etc

Please refer to the Adder Mountain parent page

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Adder Mountain East Ridge Route

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