Hike Anvil Island — Leading Peak

Anvil Island - Howe Sound, BC At the north end of Howe Sound is a remote and imposing island: Anvil. It is remote because there is no public transportation available to reach it. Yet it is close and familiar with less than 2 kilometres separating it from the Sea to Sky highway. As the glaciers of the last ice age retreated, Anvil must have been a sturdy nunatak that stood in the centre of the path of the glacier that carved the fjord that we call Howe Sound. No wonder it has such steep sides.

Yesterday, October 8, I was invited to join a group that was going to hike to the summit of Anvil: Leading Peak. The guide book promised a 5-hour return trip from the dock on Anvil. Since the vertical climb was only a little more than Mt. Gardner on my Bowen Island, it seemed like an easy hike. The truth is that, while it is just a hike, there are some steep scrambles, and the day is much more of a workout than the statistics would suggest. The weather has been wet. The forecast said that the rain would hold off until the end of the day. If you plan to do this hike, I suggest it will be much easier if you go when the many roots and slick rock are dry.

To see my pictures, please proceed to the next pane…

Kinbasket - Cormorant Marine, Bowen Island

The Bowen Island hikers were picked in Snug Cove at 9 AM. We stopped at Sunset Marina for the mainlanders and headed for Anvil Island

Daybreak Point Bible Camp

We had made arrangements to begin our hike at the Daybreak Point Bible Camp dock. The weather was improving.

If you look carefully at the skyline, there is a white dot at the top of the highest bluff in the above image. This is a well-known feature on Anvil Island, called The Whitespot.

Many steep pitches on slippery roots and slimy rocks

As soon as we left the fairly level ground of the bible camp, we began to ascend many steep pitches on slippery roots and slimy rocks

White Spot - Anvil Island

It is possible to take a short side trip to the dome of rock above the Whitespot. It is a good place for a break

Lake, about 2000 feet, Anvil Island

The next part of the hike is a pleasant ramble northward across the upper part of Anvil Island to a small lake at about 2000 feet elevation.

South Aspect of Leading Peak - Anvil Island

Shortly after the lake, from a small dome, there is a glimpse of Leading Peak less than a kilometre away. For non-climbers, seeing this destination is a daunting moment

Notch to the west of Leading Peak

After that view of the summit, the trail leads down into a broad valley and then up into a steep-sided notch just to the west of the peak. Having glimpsed the terrain ahead, some of our group decided this was a far as they would go today

Trail to the north aspect of Leading Peak - Anvil Island

The trail led out of the notch and around to the north aspect of Leading Peak. The first section was broad and easy hiking

Time to begin to climb up to Leading Peak

The traverse ended here, and it was time to go up to the summit

This pitch was the end of the line for the dog on Leading Peak

This pitch was the end of the line for the dog. There is a rope, but it is thin and didn’t provide as much security as we would have liked

For the next few pitches my hands were too busy scrambling to be taking pictures. Also, because the weather was closing in and we’d decided on a 1:45 PM turn-around time, we were moving as quickly as we could. We walked onto the top at 1:47 PM.

Summit - Leading Peak, Anvil Island

The helicopter pad at the summit of Leading Peak. The high mountain to the east (centre of the picture) is Deeks Peak

Fresh Snow on Mt. Garibaldi - From Leading Peak

Although the weather was closing in, we (backcountry skiers) were pleased to see fresh snow on Mt. Garibaldi

The forest on the upper plateau of Anvil Island has some beautiful flowers and a grand carpet of moss.

Small flower near the summit of Leading Peak - Anvil Island

exotic moss - plateau of Anvil Island

The root down

The root down. We appreciated the available vegetable belays

Last Pitches on Anvil Island

After a surprisingly tiring hike, at the end there is still all of those slippery scrambles below the White Spot.

The Bowen Arrow approached the dock on Anvil Island

We had used a cell phone to ask Cormorant Marine to pick us up at 5:30 PM instead of 3:30 PM. The rain just began as we arrived at the dock. The Bowen Arrow is the newest and most comfortable launch in the Cormorant fleet.


11 Responses to “Hike Anvil Island — Leading Peak”

  1. 1 Morgan October 10, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Lovely Dad! Looks like a wonderful (if slightly intense) day.

  2. 2 Jordan Oram (@maplemusketeer) October 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing that adventure with us! I’ll definitely be keeping it all in mind every time I pass by on the boat 😀

    And I’m adding it to my list 😉

    • 3 Jennifer Pardee October 11, 2011 at 10:34 am

      What a great “documentary” of our day together. Too bad Shasta and I didn’t make it to the Peak. Thanks for sharing your photos and creating the blog post! I hope we can hike again together. Thanks Robert!

  3. 4 Robert October 11, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Hi Jen, thanks for the comment. I have a few more pics that tend to show lots of faces. Always a bit concerned when I haven’t asked for permission. Anyhow, the blog story was for folks wondering about the experience and the route. I could post the other pics privately at Google+, but so far, only my geeky friends use that. And I don’t really care for Facebook.

    The pics at G+ are the same, but larger (more detail). Just no story: http://j.mp/pU8lnE

    BTW, There is another good thread with pics about another group that went up there in 2004. Not much has changed. It’s over here at ClubTread: http://j.mp/oINIUf

  4. 5 Blake MacLeod October 11, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Brilliant Robert. Well done, and I look forward to more hikes! To infinity, and beyond!!!

  5. 6 Robert October 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Hi Blake, since I managed ‘falling with style!’ I guess I’m now ready for ‘ infinity, and beyond.’ 🙂

  6. 7 Mark Pardee October 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Fantastic photos, Robert, and great commentary on what was happening on your ascent/descent that day. What an exciting/fulfilling day!
    Mark Pardee
    (Tim Pardee’s much younger twin brother [well, 7 minutes younger]).

  7. 8 Dave Jamieson May 27, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Really nice to get a sneek peak at the amazing views from the top of Anvil. Thanks for sharing!

  8. 9 downhilljill October 17, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Just completed this hike today. Your comments are dead on! Beautiful view though. We were lucky to see Orcas as well on our boat ride in

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