Crown Mountain: N Glacier/West Gully Route

Crown Mountain: N Glacier/West Gully Route

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 49.94434°N / 125.81327°W
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: AI1/Class 3
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: Class 3
Sign the Climber's Log


Crown Mountain North Glacier/West Gully Route
Crown Mountain summit route.

Refer to the parent page for initial details of the approach as well as a detailed history of this important mountain.

Glorious alpine ridge hiking leads to a summit route that is challenging without being overly difficult.


Refer to the main page for details on getting to Vancouver Island and to the general vicinity of the mountain - ie the town of Campbell River.

It is assumed that the reader has used the approach directions in the main page in order to get to the mountain and establish a camp at or beyond the first alpine tarns on the north ridge of Crown Mountain.

Victoria & Warden Peaks
Victoria & Warden Peaks from 5412

Crown Mountain from the Upper North Ridge
traversing to the N glacier
Proceed along the open north ridge from wherever you camp until the sub-peak on the ridge “Peak 5412” is in sight. Once it is, the way ahead is pretty obvious. There are wonderful views of Victoria and Warden Peaks to the NW from just about all points on the north ridge.

Go right up and over Peak 5412 (which has a summit cairn) and down to a narrow saddle.

Traverse the next high point on the ridge to the left (east) and go ahead until a descending traverse SE can be made towards the base of the north glacier that sits between the main (east) and west summits of Crown Mountain. We found that the best course to avoid steep side-hilling on loose boulders and scree took us to the glacier to the neighbourhood of N49° 56.798 W125° 48.936 about 100 metres map distance above its lowest tongue – although this will be seasonably variable.

Route Description

The first part of the route climbs the glacier direct to the tight col between the main and west summits. The north aspect ensures that crampons will be necessary except in the hottest weather. The angle of the glacier is no more than 30° at the top – less at the bottom - and no crevasse hazard was apparent.

From the col a left trending gully leads at loose Class 3 to the west ridge proper of the main summit. There is lots of loose rock in the lower section of the gully and some might appreciate a helmet here.

Scramble up the gully, turn left and walk along the ridge to the summit in 10 minutes with one minimal downclimb necessary to scramble across a break in the ridge where “The Cleft” (a steep winter-only gully) comes up almost directly to the summit from the base of the north glacier.

Climbing the N Glacier
Climbing the N Glacier

Approaching the Col
Approaching the col

Class 3 Gully
Class 3 West Gully

Descending the West Gully
Descending the West Gully
Beware of a second gully that appears to go up to the ridge but from a point below the col. The Island Alpine guidebook route sketch shows this as the correct gully – it isn’t - although the description in the text is correct. Go right onto the col in order to find the correct route.

The summit of Crown Mountain is flat, heather covered and quite wide. Sign the register (just 16 entries from 1986 to date) and admire the wonderful panorama around you. You’re looking at the view that inspired the creation of Strathcona Provincial Park. Once you’ve been up there yourself, you’ll know why!

A Mapsource GPS tracklog is available for the approach and summit routes described above. Simply email or send me a PM.

Essential Gear

Crampons and ice-axe for the north glacier.

No climbing hardware required for the west gully but many will appreciate a helmet.

External Links


Nearest point current conditions and forecast.


The correct map for this trip is the government 1:50 000 topographical map sheet 92F/13, “Upper Campbell Lake”. Advance copies can be ordered on-line at this link. Copies are usually readily available in good bookstores and outdoor stores throughout the Island.

Suggested Reading:

Lindsay Elms’ historical treatise on the mountains of Vancouver Island should be considered essential reading before any trip into Crown Mountain. Visit his Beyond Nootka site in general and the Crown Mountain page therein in particular.

Island Alpine – A Guide to The Mountains of Strathcona Park and Vancouver Island, Philip Stone, Wild Isle Publications, 2003, ISBN 0-9680766-5-3 and/or visit Island Alpine Climbing Guide

An excellent guide to the back roads of Vancouver Island is Backroad Mapbook. Volume III: Vancouver Island

Crown Mountain Summit View SSummit view south
Crown Mountain Summit View WSummit view west

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Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.