Adam ascends the lower gully.
The Lost Gully is a fun winter gully route on Mt. Arrowsmith, just outside of Port Alberni, BC. It ascends two gullys, separated by a short rock/ice step, to Mt. Arrowsmith's South Summit. The gullies vary from about 25-55 degrees. The route is well named as the Lost Gully is notoriously hard to find. Ascent of the gullys is usually followed by a traverse across the gentle ridge to the North Summit and descent down the Judge's Route (see route description page attached to the mountain page).
Entrance to the first gully
To reach Summit Main, follow the directions on the Mt. Arrowsmith parent page. From there continue following the directions to Pass Main. The logging access road you want to take is located approximately 1 km before the Judge's Route parking area, at km 12.8. To be certain, drive until you reach the 4WD access road for Judge's Route, then drive or walk back down Pass Main to the second spur on your left (ignoring the spur between Judge's and the one you want, note that it is on your right going up). Walking down to the spur and leaving your car at Judge's Parking will have you arrive at your car if you decide to do a circular route, descending Judge's Route and ending up back at your car. The spur has recently been extended due to active logging in the area, making older directions incorrect. You no longer go to the end of this road to start the route (as it says in Island Alpine).
This has lead to much confusion recently. Instead, walk up the spur to just pas the washed out creek. About 200m from the end of the logging road (as of 2007) turn left into the forest. Continue up the forested ridge until you reach the small subalpine cirque.
A friend recently sent em the following update on current access (as of May, 2008): From the summit of Hwy 4 heading towards Port Alberni, take the Connector to Cameron Main to Pass Main which leads to the old Mt Arrowsmith ski area.
Parking near the start of Pass-15 makes it easy for vehicle retrieval.
Pass-15 leads to a new clearcut. We found it convenient to hike up the
south side of the new clearcut. This was quick and kept us in the shade.
From the clearcut high-point, head straight up to a short shallow gully and
continue up the snow to the right side of the South Summit of Mt
Arrowsmith. The Lost Gully is impossible to miss once your up there.
From the South Summit, traverse across the sub-summits to the true summit,
and descend Judge's Route. Where the route meets up with the old logging
road (not Pass Main), contine bushwacking straight down the stream bed until
you meet Pass-22 (~400 m). Follow Pass-22 to Pass Main and back to your
The summit traverse Ascending the first of the two gullies.
From the cirque at the top of the forested ridge traverse to climber's right to a small 30 degree gully. This is the first of two gullys. In softer snow conditions it can be easily soloed to level ground before any difficulties requiring a rope are encountered. In icy conditions this section may warrant use of a rope and protection. At the top of the first gully, the route continues to climber's left up a wider, steeper gully. At the base of this gully is a very short and narrow gully with about 2 m of vertical rock. This is the crux of the route and can vary in difficulty depending on the time of year. It is usually fairly easy to cross but in late season the snow and ice may melt away, leaving the top bulging slightly over the gully. From here the large upper gully is fairly straight forward. Ascend the steep snow to the top of the gully, then traverse up the snow ridge to climber's left to the top of the South Summit. From here you continue in the same direction, crossing the many bumps of the ridge, on the summit traverse to the Main Summit. This traverse can usually be completed fairly quickly, but can be difficult in poor weather or visibility. Be careful of large cornices extending over the northern side of the ridge. At the base of the North Summit, traverse diagonally left up a narrow snow band of about 50 degrees to the main summit. In late season this can appear daunting, but is more secure than it appears. You are now on the summit! Rejoice, then carefully descend Judge's Route (See description attached to main page). Be careful to reach the trail where it enters the forest proper again, as this can be tricky without a boot pack after new snow. Descend Judge's and down the spur back to Pass Main. You should come out right at your car if you parked at the Judge's Route parking area. Route time can vary from 4-10 hours in good weather, depending upon snow conditions, proficiency of the party and weather.
On the summit at 7pm after a day of epic weather...
HELMET (high risk of falling ice)
-Ice axe (1 or 2)
-map and compass (or GPS)
If roping up add:
-2-3 locking carabiners
-2-6 60cm snow pickets (depends on comfort level)
-1-2 short ice screws (depends on conditions, may not be necessary)
-slings and non-lockers for pickets/screws
The summit traverse
For more route information and even more routes refer to Island Alpine – A Guide to The Mountains of Strathcona Park and Vancouver Island, Philip Stone, Wild Isle Publications, 2003, ISBN 0-9680766-5-3.
Route information on Mt. Arrowsmith may be found at the Alpine CLub of Canada-Vancouver Island Section bulletin board