Rugged Mountain is the focal point of the Haithe Range on Vancouver Island. Climbing Rugged is a rewarding endeavour, and one that requires good physical fitness and strong scrambling ability/rope work. Routes to the Summit all involve semi-technical climbing/exposed scrambling. The standard route, the East Ridge, involves 250 meters of low 5'th class climbing. Other more challenging routes push the grades to 5.8 rock and WI4 ice climbing. The summit of Rugged Mountain offers a stellar 360 degree view of Northern Vancouver Island. On clear days one can easily see Mt. Waddington to the east and Tahsis inlet to the west.
View from Rugged Mountain's Summit
As described in Phil Stone's Island Alpine, the easiest approach to Rugged Mt. is via a de-activated logging rd off the Nomash main line, branch N20. In the Summer of 2013 a dedicated group of local climbers spent 3 days cutting away pesty Alder trees, much improving branch N20. Once at the end of the trail maintenance section a well flagged route will lead you down the valley towards Rugged's imposing South-West face. About half way down the valley the trail will trun 90 degrees leftwards (well marked) and head up a creek bed. Once at the top of the creek bed follow the flagging into the thick second growth. You'll spend a memorable 30 minutes+ bushwhacking thru the second growth till glorious Old growth shows itself. Follow the flagging as you work your way to a ridge that lead you towards the mountain.
Off the beaten path, approach to Rugged Mt.
View from Ridge Summer 2010:
Rugged Mt. as seen from approach Ridge.
View from camp site on approach Ridge Winter 2010:
Camping on the approach Ridge Feb 2010
East Ridge: AI2 low 5'th class, 250m (III)
South Ridge: low 5'th class, 300m (II)
Johnson/Newman Route: 5.8, 500m (III)
South-West Face: 5.6, 700m (III)
North-West Face: low 5'th, 150 M (II)
View from Upper Rugged glacier early Summer 2010:
Rugged Glacier...easy access prohibited due to bergschrund.
The Chuck: AI2/3 150m (II)
Dan's Route: AI4 250m (II)
Lee/Hinkkala (North West Face): WI3, 700m, (IV)
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
Winter Climbing on Lee/Hinkkala Route:
High up on Rugged Mt. North-West Face
High Up on Rugged Mt. North-West Face
No red tape: please take out what you bring in.
When to Climb
Routes are good to go year round. Please be cautious if attempting a Winter route. Cold temps are key.
Depending on your route of choice you can camp below the South-West face, or more commonly at this spot:
External LinksIsland 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