Mt. Artaban & Burt’s Bluff

Trip Date: Nov 11, 2013

Participants: Geoff Zenger, Brittany Zenger, Ed Zenger + a BCMC party of another 12 people

Difficulty: 1

Report: A few weeks ago I chose to roll the dice on Vancouver’s November weather and put a trip on the BCMC schedule a traverse hike up and over Mt. Artaban on Gambier Island.  At an elevation of only 615m and requiring a water taxi to get to, Mt. Artaban isn’t the kind of place I’d be likely to head on a summer weekend, but it seemed like it could be a great place to head for an off-season hike.  I was right 🙂

We departed Sunset Marina just after 9am on Rembrance Day, and by 9:30 were standing on the Halkett Bay dock.  This wasn’t where we expected to be dropped off (it turned out that we actually thought we were going to Halkett Bay Marine Provincial Park, not just Halkett Bay), but after a few wrong turns and with the friendly assistance of a woman working at Camp Fircom, we found the trail heading towards Mt. Artaban and headed up.  The trail up Mt. Artaban is well marked and in good condition, never too steep and generally very pleasant.  Despite having 15 people in the party we didn’t have any trouble getting up, and were all on the summit by 11:15 enjoying the great views of the peaks above Lions Bay while enduring the blustery summit winds.

Although we had originally thought of spending a long time on the summit, the wind was too much for us and at a quarter to noon we decided to descend towards Brigade Bay to the north of Mt. Artaban.  This trail isn’t in as good shape as the trail up from Halkett Bay, but it is still easy to follow and in an hour we found ourselves back down at the water.

At this point it was only nearing 1 o’clock and we still had 3 hours to make our way over to Camp Artaban where we were scheduled to be picked up at 4pm, and so the group consensus was to try and also hike up the trail to Burt’s Bluff.  On the Gambier Island trail map the Burt’s Bluff trail looks like it’s about 250m long with 100m elevation gain and marked with green markers.  In reality, the green markers are only green on the backside and have been sun-bleached to blue/teal on the front and the trail ascends over a couple kilometres to about 450m.  That said, the view from the top is great and if you’re doing this trip I highly recommend heading up there as well.  We reached the top just before 2:30 and after a very quick break turned around to make our way down and to Camp Artaban.

Down on the main trail connecting Brigade Bay to Camp Artaban, we headed towards Camp Artaban and despite some confusion over where exactly Camp Artaban was that could have easily been avoided by looking at Google Earth before the trip, we eventually found our way to the dock at the camp with a comfortable 10 minutes to spare before our scheduled departure time from the island.  In all, a great day and a great off-season trip.  Thank you to everyone who came along!

Disclaimer: Leading Peak on Anvil Island remains my favourite Howe Sound Island hike by a significant margin.

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