Date: July 8, 2017
Participants: Brittany Zenger, Geoff Zenger
Report: Brittany, Eira, and I arrived home a day earlier than expected from Hornby Island, and with great looking weather coming the following day, we decided to have a go at Deeks peak. I had a failed attempt of Deeks on skis back in December and I was eager for the opportunity to deal with unfinished business.
Much like last year when heading to Mt. Hanover, we drove up the Deeks road for ~3.2km to just before the final steep rise on the road and parked here so as to not destroy the XTerra on the final stretch of road. The road seemed to be in even worse shape than last year and it’s getting to the point where I might just give in and park by the highway the next time I head up towards Deeks Lake.
We left the car at 8:25 and started our march up towards Deeks. About half an hour up the Deeks lake trail there is a marker on a tree pointing towards the “Bypass trail”, and this is the route we chose for our ascent. The “bypass trail” (aka “Deeks direct”, aka “Deeks W Ridge direct”) is the most direct trail up to the summit of Deeks but is in need of some love and care. There are a few places on the trail where we were left hunting around wondering where the next ribbon was, but for the most part it is obvious enough to follow. The only point with real confusion was where the trail popped out onto a boulder field and it wasn’t obvious that the trail continued to directly up and to the right without ever crossing the boulders. That said, with a bit of work, I could see this trail becoming very popular as it really is a fantastic route.
As the trail nears treeline it became increasingly steep, overgrown and buggy, but by noon we were clear from the trees, and although we lost the trail markers we headed up straight for the summit without any difficulties, and were on top by 12:45. The air was clear and the views were great, so we stopped for a lunch and to ponder our way down, eventually deciding to descend towards the Deeks-Windsor col to find the regular trail down to Deeks Lake.
We started our descent at 1:30 and quickly discovered that the route down the east side of Deeks (towards the Deeks-Windsor) col is steep, not travelled very often, and hard to follow with occasional snow patches obscuring the footbed. Nonetheless, we managed to follow the route all the way to the final bump above the col, where we lost it. Unfortunately we turned off the ridge too early and instead of going up and over the final minor bump we turned to our right and worked our way down a very steep, unpleasant, and precarious bushy slope until we found the flagging from the proper trail from Deeks joining us from the left. From here it was just a couple minutes walk to meet the main trail heading up to Windsor. Unlike the Deeks trail, this trail was in fine condition and we were able to make our way down to Deeks Lake, where we arrived at 3:45 and stopped for our final snack of the day.
From Deeks Lake it was the familiar old slog down to the car, which we reached at 5:15 for a total round trip time of just under 9 hours. As it stands now, I wouldn’t recommend Deeks over the other peaks in the area like Brunswick or Harvey, but with a bit of work on the bypass trail, Deeks could once again be a north shore classic.