Black Rock Mountain – March 5, 2006

Mountain height:       2,462 m (8,078 feet)
Elevation gain:          920 m
Ascent time:
Descent time:            2:45

Hiking with Mark.

After a frustrating 4-week lay-off, due to a fairly serious lower back injury (sustained while I was cleaning and restringing my guitar – don’t ask!), I was more than excited to get back to the mountains. I was also a little nervous about aggravating the injury and so we picked the short and easy hike up Black Rock Mountain. We got the easy part, but my impeccable route-finding skills screwed up the short part and we ended up doing a 24 km day instead of 18 km.

Not daring to risk the health of my little Civic on the rough road, we parked at the top of the hill and walked the 3.5 km to the trailhead. Actually we walked right past the turn-off (by about 3 km), because I was looking for a trailhead sign, that no longer exists. This little detour added 1.25 hours to the approach, but I needed the exercise anyway (right?!).

Once on the trail, the ascent was easy. The grade of the trail was very mellow, which was great for my back, and above the treeline, the scenery improved immensely. We were both pleasantly surprised by the terrific and interesting rock formations. With deteriorating weather conditions, however, we didn’t stop to explore and went right to the summit. The view from the lookout was a little anticlimactic, given the heavy cloud cover, but we were expecting bad weather, so it wasn’t surprising.

The descent was probably the best part of the trip. The weather cleared a little and so we stuck to the ridge throughout the upper section. Again, the rock scenery was fantastic and the vertiginous drop on the east side quite exhilarating. Only the drudgery of the 3.5 km hike back to the car put a damper on things. A great hike, with terrific scenery – definitely worth the nasty drive to get there. 

Starting down the "Big Hill"; Phantom Crag in the background


Phantom Crag


A closer look at the spectacular summit of Phantom Crag


More of the interesting mountain


Coming out of the treeline on Black Rock Mountain (taken on descent)


At the start of the interesting rock scenery


Small remnants of winter 


Snow starts to fall near the summit block 


Aylmer (left) and Devil's Head (right)


Same as above, with a slither of sunlight


Mark comes up the the summit block


Approaching the lookout


The scenic east ridge, on descent


A little exploring along the east ridge


Same as above


Looking down a small, but deep fissure


Fissure jumping; I could have just stepped across it, but that wouldn't have been very dramatic! 
I guess my back wasn't bothering me too much at this point.


Looking back at the impressive cliffs of the east ridge


Interesting rock colours 


More vertical rock faces and more snow


Mark crawls out onto a narrow rock outcrop


Some dramatic weather to the north


A last look at Devil's Head