All of us had been so preoccupied with trying to ford the Highwood River that we had neglected to consider the route up Gunnery Mountain which is not nearly as straightforward as I remembered. We ended up hiking all the way to Gunnery Pass without seeing any obvious trail leading to the notch separating Gunnery Mountain from Holy Cross Mountain. The low clouds also complicated matters by making it difficult to see where we were supposed to be heading. Backtracking a little from Gunnery Pass, we headed into the bush and tried to follow game trails up the slope. I became separated from the others at one point, and while they continued to climb upward, I stayed low and traversed southward. I eventually stumbled onto a flagged trail which looked very promising, and I shouted a few times to try and get everyone else's attention. Getting no response, I hiked up to the notch and waited for the others to show up.
Eva, John, Stephane and Zosia eventually arrived at the notch albeit via a more arduous route than the one I had taken. Together, we hiked up the north slope of Gunnery Mountain before taking a short break at a false summit. From there, we continued up to the true summit and stopped just long enough to take a group photo near the summit cairn. On my previous trip up Gunnery Mountain, I had descended the southeast ridge directly to the highway without too much trouble under clear conditions. Cloud cover made route-finding a little trickier on this day as we found ourselves descending increasingly steep and loose terrain on the south face. Worried about getting cliffed out, we worked our way onto the crest of the southwest ridge where we were relieved to find easier terrain. We had no further route-finding issues and eventually reached the highway about a kilometre west of the Gunnery Creek trailhead.
Given the lousy weather and questionable
route-finding, this was hardly a stellar outing by any stretch of the
imagination. As always though, good company makes even the worst
days in the mountains enjoyable. Everyone remained in good spirits
throughout this trip despite all the challenges, and that counts for a
The group gears up near the Gunnery
Creek trailhead. Gunnery Mountain is shrouded in clouds at
Despite the wet weather, the group is
still in good spirits at Gunnery Pass.
The group heads into the bush in
search of a route up Gunnery Mountain.
Some wolf lichen help brighten up an
otherwise gloomy day.
Eva and Zosia hike up the northern
slopes of Gunnery Mountain.
The group arrives at the summit of
Gunnery Mountain (2086 metres).
Despite the wet weather and lack of
views, Sonny, Stephane, John, Zosia and Eva seem happy to have reached the summit
of Gunnery Mountain.
Stephane and Zosia descend some
After a somewhat harrowing descent,
Stephane is relieved to see the highway again.
John makes his way down a cliff band
near the highway.
group marches back to the Gunnery Creek trailhead along the highway.
Distance: 8.9 kilometres
Round-Trip Time: 4 hours 56 minutes
Net Elevation Gain: 597 metres