The Alpine Club of Canada - Vancouver Section
Sat, Aug 28 2010 - Mt John Clarke Commemoration & Climb (View Original Event Details)

Event Leader(s): Rob Brusse
Participants:Melinda Straight

Write Up:
A celebration and climb of the newly named Mount John Clarke was made on August 28-29, 2010; this was a weekend-long celebration to recognize the renaming of this peak in Squamish Nation territory. The work to get the peak officially named for John was done by Glenn Woodsworth, John Baldwin and me. However, without the strong endorsement by Chief Bill Williams of the Squamish First Nation this likely would not have happened. Chief Bill hosted the celebration and asked Aaron Nelson Moody, also of the Squamish Nation, to conducted the naming ceremony. This took place on the banks of Sims Creek at the base of the giant cedar where John’s ashes lie. [map 92 J4] and is close to the start of the John Clarke trail. John’s trail ascends through ancient forest to Bug Lake in the sub-alpine, and the route continues along the ridge to the glaciated, rocky summit of Mount John Clarke at 7566 feet. Since John’s death in 2003 Dwayne Himmelsbach has single-handedly maintained the trail and it is an impressive route. Fifteen of the approximately 50 participants in the ceremony beside Sims Creek left the river at about 3PM. Official leader Sandy Briggs, and unofficial leader John Baldwin led from the back and front of the keen bunch, respectively. The trail climbs very steeply through old growth forest with stately giant Douglas Fir, Red and Yellow Cedar and a mossy relatively clear understory. It is 2-2.5 hours of unrelenting elevation gain to reach Bug Lake at ~4,000 ft. We continued climbing and by 7:30 PM three separate camps were strewn at various levels on the ridge above Bug Lake. It was clear and crisp and the views of Sims Creek, and Mt Tinniswood to the North were stunning. Last to arrive was Jeremy Williams and Karin Burnikell. Jeremy was filming the ceremony and ascent and he and Karin were lugging 50 lb of video gear including a heavy camera and tripod. Sunday morning dawned clear and the various groups coalesced at the top of the ridge and then divided again into a directissimo and ridge group. There is about a 200 foot descent between the ridge and the main summit massif. Some folks, following Dwayne and Sandy, went directly toward the peak by donning crampons and crossing steep frozen snow slopes to gain the summit ridge, while others, led by John Baldwin, went south and west right to the top of the ridge and descended to reach less steeply angled snow slopes. We were all soon on the peak and writing notes to put in the skookum summit register that Lisa had made out of black ABS pipe. Jeremey set up his camera to register our arrival on the peak and then did interviews of participants to capture their reflections on the significance of the naming of John’s peak. The clouds scudded by enveloping us periodically and then parting to reveal the striking slabby ridges to the south and north. The windows of visibility allowed one of John Clarke’s favorite activities, the spotting of distant peaks; John Baldwin won! Around 1.30 PM we reluctantly left this magic spot for the grueling 7,000 foot descent. Chased by a few showers of rain and hail, all were back on the logging road by 6:30 PM -14,000 feet of elevation change in 27.5 hours! Need I tell you that some had sore quads for days later? We weren’t the first to climb Mt John Clarke. There was a note in the cairn and we met another party descending from the peak. It is likely that the peak will see increased activity. Despite the longish drive to the trailhead the access to tree line is remarkably rapid on Dwayne’s excellent trail and there is the opportunity to traverse across the peak to descend into Princess Louisa Inlet via Loquilts Lake and Chatterbox Falls. Another horseshoe-traverse is also possible, around the headwaters of Outrigger Creek. Outrigger Peak and ridge can be gained via a logging road up Wingate Creek south west of Outrigger Creek. (see: One can apparently drive to around 2,500 feet on this road, and Dwayne is working on clearing a trail to the alpine. Mt John Clarke can also be the jump off point for a trip to Mount Tinniswood or the starting point for the whole Stoltmann traverse to Meager Creek. John Clarke would have loved the weekend. Sims Creek and surrounds was one of his favorite areas and in his later conservation years he frequently took parties up through the old growth and into the alpine. As he once said when he emerged from the trees and gazed north, “Ahhhh, my Coast Range!” Participants were Marg and Brian Ellis, John Baldwin, Linda Bily, Sandy Briggs, Lisa Baile, Dwayne Himmelsbach, Mark Milner, Jeremy Williams, Karin Burnikell, Bridget McClarty, Peter Wood, Marina Dodis, Dave Robertson and Peter Paré (reporter) Figure legends: Lisa Baile and Bridget McClarty celebrate the ascent of Mt John Clarke. Dwayne Himmelsbach, master trail builder, at camp on the ridge. Lisa Baile and Peter Paré below Mt John Clarke

Have some photos from this event that you'd like to share in our photo album? Please forward them to Kayla Stevenson at Please note that we prefer to receive the photos in approximately 640x480 or 750x500 pixels - do NOT send original high-res photos. If you have a LOT of photos, please submit up to twenty of your favorites (only) for a day event, or up to forty of your favourites for a multi-day event. Thank you.

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