Blackwall Peak

August 12-13, 2020


Manning Provincial Park, BC

Blackwall Peak is probably the easiest summit in Manning Park as one can drive to very much near the top. However, there is no trail from the upper parking lot to the summit of this peak and to reach the summit some scrambling and light bushwhacking is required. The Blackwall Base Area is also the start of the trail system heading for the Three Brothers and the area is reasonably popular for flower watching in mid summer. An ascent of Blackwall Peak had never really popped up on my check list until Wendy organized a Manning Park hotpot party. The main purpose of this party was to take pictures of the meteor shower but in reality, they just wanted to hang around having fun. Wendy and her friends had pre-booked the date and the campground but as always, I would not make any commitment until the very last minute. The weather indeed cooperated and I did happen to be around the Lower Mainland, so I said yes to the invite. However, I threw out the idea to camp on the summit of Blackwall Peak to watch both meteor shower and the sunrise so we agreed to meet at the upper parking lot around midnight.

Wendy and her friends had made to Manning Park’s campsite in late afternoon and already had a few hours’ fun time eating a hotpot and shooting photos. I missed out that part because of work, but I was more keen on the summit so that’s OK. I drove out of Vancouver at 9:30 pm after work and made to the parking lot before midnight. The guys then immediately informed me that they tried to scramble up the south ridge but turned around due to “difficult terrain”. I was confused but I didn’t push them hard to join. I figured they weren’t equipped for off-trail travel anyway, so I packed my own gears and headed for the summit solo. We agreed to have breakfast together at the campground.

Blackwall Peak from Blackwall Base Area. GPX DL

From where I parked I walked for about 200 m down the road to the start of the south ridge. I could see that with zero scrambling experience it might be difficult to commit to the terrain, especially in the pitch dark. I did have to do some scrambling on loose rocks and the south ridge felt longer than expected. It didn’t take me long to reach the summit. I found a relatively flat spot to pitch out the tent sheltered from the wind and went straight to sleep. I had little interest in watching the meteor shower as I was not equipped with the proper camera gears for that anyway.

My tent on the summit of Blackwall Peak

In the next morning I woke up at around sunrise and the views were surprisingly good. The weather was a bit on the cloudy side but I did see some neat colours. It was very cold though, so after a while I packed the gears and went down to the truck. I took a scramble route straight down the east face (3rd class) and even found some game trails at the bottom of the face, that brought me straight back to the truck. I then drove down the roads back to the campground and not to my surprise, everyone’s still sleeping. I didn’t want to wake them up so waited in my truck for a while, but eventually at around 9 am I had to wake them up. There was still fair amount of leftover food from the previous night’s party and that was plenty enough for our breakfast. By around 10 am we had to end the party. While the others decided to go home I opted to bag another peak to justify the long drive up this way.

Sunrise from the summit of Blackwall Peak

The clouds actually made more dramatic morning colours

Hozomeen Mountain at dawn

My tent on the summit in the morning

The sunrise’s changing pretty dramatically due to the clouds

Another photo of the ever-changing sunrise views

Mt. Winthrop in the distance

Hozomeen Mountain

A closer look at the two summits of Hozomeen Mountain

Mt. Spickard with Mox Peaks on the left and Mt. Custer on the right

The group of Bulgers in Pasayten Wilderness

One more photo of the sun

Me on the summit of Blackwall Peak

The 3rd class gully that I descended

Looking back at Blackwall Peak

Wendy taking photos of the camera gears…

The gigantic group tents…

The hotpot breakfast party!