Rambler Peak 6,906ft 2,105m is Vancouver Island's 5th highest peak, it is located at the head of the Elk River on the south end of the same divide as King's Peak and Elkhorn Mountain. Originally it was named El Piveto for its pivot-like summit tower but was renamed for the club the first ascentionists were members of. The massif is formed of the common Karmutzen basalt, the rock is solid and the peak as some excellent long alpine routes.
The Elk River trail provides the best access from Highway 28 south approximately 16km into the upper Elk valley. This trail can be used to reach all the routes on the mountain including the popular West Buttress, the Rambler's Route and the Spiral Staircase.
The standard routes up Rambler Peak are the Spiral Staircase, Rambler's Route and the scramble up the West Buttress. Probably the best overall route is the North Buttress and Ridge which makes a long, high traverse to reach the summit.
Approach from Highway 28 up the Elk River Trail. A good first camp is either at the Hemlock Camp or at the tarns in the upper valley just before Elk Pass. For the Spiral Staircase continue up the upper valley toward Elk Pass. There are several options heading southeast onto the south shoulder of Rambler. From the shoulder make a descending traverse across talus or seasonal snow slopes to the base of the very obvious lower east gully. In early season the gully is a fun, easy snow climb but in later season as the snow mets out becomes a real chose pile. Scramble up the gully to the Rambler Névé.
Cross the snow field keeping right (northeast) of the main summit tower (the red tower). gradually ascend the snow or talus to the base of a gully on the northeast face of the upper summit tower. Scramble up the gully (holds seasonal snow late in the year) to a small shoulder overlooking the west face. Make a final exposed 4th class step onto the summit. Descend the same route by down climbing and rappelling as needed.
For details of all routes on Rambler Peak see Island Alpine Select
Backcountry camping fees are payable for camping at the Butterwort Creek and Gravel Flats camp sites on the Elk River trail.
Camping along the Elk River Trail is only permitted at the designated sites at Butterwort Creek (6km in) and the Gravel Flats site (~10km in). The Gravel Flats camp is the most useful base for a day trip to the summit of Elkhorn Mountain South. Backcountry camping within Strathcona Park must be more than 1km from a road. Otherwise the considerations are as for all backcountry overnights: practice strict leave-no-trace, don't flag or otherwise mark any hiking routes and remember that no fires are permitted in Strathcona Park backcountry at any time of year
regardless of the Provincial Fire Ban status.
Guidebooks & Other Links
Local guidebook Island Alpine Select