The premier alpine rock climbing mountain on Vancouver Island with its 1000m face. The 2135m colonel foster offers many good summer and winter alpine routes.
Mt. Colonel Foster is located in Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island. The hike in follows up the Elk River Trail (ERT). Drive west of Campbell River on Highway 28 for about 65km to the sign posted trailhead and large parking lot. The well maintained trail climbs about 600 meters over the 11km to Landslide Lake. To reach the climbers camp at Foster lake take the trail on the east (left) side of Landslide Lake up through the slide alder and timber then back down to the stream draining Foster Lake. Follow the stream up to the lake. The hike up the ERT to Foster Lake takes about 3.5 - 5 hours with overnight camping gear and climbing equipment. If you start late on the trail there are designated camping spots at 6 and 9 km with outhouse and bear caches, but to have a real chance of climbing the mountain you need to stay at Foster Lake.
Mt. Colonel Foster was named for Colonel William Foster a climber and member of the Alpine Club of Canada in the early 1900's. The main summit was not reached until a bold solo effort by Mike Walsh in June 1968. He climbed to the main summit from the north Col by climbing part way up the North West snow gully then scrambling low 5th class rock to the NW peak. From here he descended 200m of steep loose ground before climbing up to the NE peak. Then he traversed loose blocks before scrambling up to the prize of the main summit.
If you are a climber then you should camp at the small glacier lake above Landslide lake. Please practice super low impact camping at the small lake.
There are also 2 designated camping areas along the Elk River trail at km 6 and km 9. These sites have pit toilets and bear caches. There is a drop box where you should pay $5/person/day.
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