On 23 June 2013, I ascended Mount Outram near British Columbia's Manning
Provincial Park. As described in Jack Bryceland's 103 Hikes in
Southwestern British Columbia, the trip up Mount Outram is a grueling
endeavour entailing nearly 1800 metres of elevation gain albeit mostly on
a well-maintained trail. From the parking lot, I easily followed
the signed trail which briefly joins an old road before entering forest.
Despite the general lack of views, I welcomed the shade of the trees as
the morning sun was already unbearably warm. For the next several
hours, all I could do was march steadily up the never-ending switchbacks
with only a couple of level sections and a tricky creek crossing to
alleviate the monotony. Harassing mosquitoes ensured that I did not
dawdle on the trail though. Shortly after the creek crossing, I met
a party of four with backpacking gear on their way down, and I found
reassurance that masochism was not a trait unique to myself.
After crossing some open slopes filled with glacier lilies, I
inadvertently surprised a young lady who was napping on a snow patch
right on the trail near tree line. She had decided to forego
continuing up with her friends since she had already climbed Mount Outram
the previous year. Already quite weary, I was tempted to plop down
beside her, but instead, I kept slogging up the open ridge which was
largely still covered with snow. Footprints left behind by those
ahead of me made it easy for me to climb up some of the steeper patches
of snow, but I was still regretting wearing only light hiking shoes which
quickly became wet. I eventually ran into the young lady's
companions who were descending, and I became hopeful that the summit was
near. Foreshortening, however, is severe on this mountain, and the
final grind up to the summit ridge took far longer than I was expecting.
There are two summits of similar height at the top of Mount Outram.
The south summit is easy enough to reach and, on this day, had a geocache
stashed in its sizeable cairn. Reaching the north summit requires a
couple of downclimbs, one of which is fairly exposed. My GPS showed
that the north summit is higher by 7 metres although I am doubtful about
the accuracy of that figure (nevertheless, most other trip reports I
found on the Internet agree that the north summit is higher).
Just as I was about to leave the north summit, rain began to fall.
I quickly scrambled back up to the south summit to retrieve my hiking
poles before beating a hasty retreat down the upper mountain.
Slowly getting completely soaked, I plunge-stepped down several large
snow patches which enabled me to lose elevation quickly. The
situation got a bit more dire though when a mist rolled in and obscured
visibility in all directions. Suddenly, I had no distant landmarks
to aim for although I had a good idea that I still had to traverse quite
a distance to skier's left to regain my ascent route. Without
having to consult my GPS, I managed to find my way back to the open ridge
I came up, and from there, it was a simple matter of retracing my steps
down to the main trail. A long and boring descent ensued, but at
least the rain chased away most of the mosquitoes.
Upon returning to the trailhead, I threw all my wet gear into my car and
promptly drove into the nearby town of Hope where I checked into an
inexpensive motel to enjoy a hot shower and a nice warm bed.
||A wooden marmot adorns the sign at the
west entrance to Manning Provincial Park.
||Sonny crosses a creek right at the
||Sonny hikes along the historic
||Strangely, the trail to Mount Outram
is mostly outside the provincial park.
||One of the first open views is to the
southwest. At left is Silvertip Mountain.
Glacier lilies are in abundance here.
||The trees start to thin out.
The route continues up the left hand ridge.
This is looking east into the bulk of Manning Provincial Park.
Here is a more comprehensive view to the southwest.