This was definitely not the lofty summit of a Himalayan giant with a panoramic vista, but a tree-covered knoll with a few small jigsaw-puzzle pieces of a view over Gambier, Keats and Bowen Islands towards Vancouver. How small? Maybe half-a-dozen pieces from a 1000-piece puzzle? Yeah – that’s not much of a view. And the route was not an awe-inspiring valley with glaciers tumbling in all directions, but a path through scrubby second-growth forest.
But it wasn’t a trip without its highlights. A sunny ferry ride with gorgeous afternoon light on the mountains of Howe Sound (complete with a sundog reflecting in the sea) and a good group go a long way to making a trip enjoyable. Thanks to Steve for suggesting it (I think…) and to Louise and Susan for good company.
The trail was very well marked to begin with (purple and some very helpful signs) but once it reached the Sprockids mountain bike park navigation became a little trickier. After the purple came the yellow, followed by blue and red markers when we turned off towards our destination. This brought us to Langdale Falls, a lovely little ponytail of water tumbling about 30 feet. Beyond the falls (where there is no bridge to cross the creek), the trail deteriorated and on more than one occasion we had to stop and make sure we were still on the trail. Hint: if you run out of markers on your side of the tree, stop and look back the way you came to check for markers (they’re now orange or red heading to K2). On our return, we opted to take the YMCA trail (blue markers) and were glad we did as it was much shorter. Three hours up, 1.5 down.
A few things to note…
K2 is not signposted at *any* point along the trail until beyond Langdale Falls. I see that newer editions of 109 Walks have modified this route to only go as far as the falls, and then pick up an alternative trail to make a loop back towards the ferry. That’s probably a more sensible route as the trail beyond the falls is really not maintained, with many fallen trees, and even peters out into nothing shortly before the “summit”. I was glad of the GPS at one point.
Above the falls, the descent to the creek (and climb out again) are very steep and would be tricky in wet weather. Note there is no bridge here so the crossing may be difficult or even impossible at other times. Further on, there was one other creek crossing that was a mess of deadfall – finding a way over that was tricky.
There’s a new trail and bridge over lower Langdale Creek. We missed that and took the old trail down to the creek and picked our way across. Crossing the creek this way would be treacherous if the water level was higher. Stay high and go for the bridge!
At this time of year, there are no services at the Langdale ferry terminal, so nowhere to get coffee etc. Ticket sales end 15 minutes before departure, and you must obtain a (free) boarding ticket on the return leg.
Distance: 14 km
Elevation gain: 630 m
Photos on Flickr