Mount Ford

December 12, 2020


Manning Provincial Park, BC

Not to be confused with Ford Mountain which is a forested bump in Chilliwack River Valley, Mt. Ford locates on the boundary of Cascade Recreational Area on the west side of Manning Park. Mt. Ford is marginally more attractive. There’s still zero technical interest and the peak is still mostly forested, but at least the summit is free of vegetation. The NE Face of Mt. Ford does look somewhat interesting for perhaps skiers, but the access probably denies any skier from even considering that line. The fastest way to reach the summit of Mt. Ford is by a steep forested grunt from Dewdney Trail in Snass Creek drainage. There’s a user-maintained and flagged route that eliminates much of the bushwhack, but I still think the better time to do Mt. Ford is winter/spring when the thick snowpack covers most, if not all of the underbrush and dead-falls. For peak-baggers it also makes the most sense to combine Mt. Ford with Mt. Dewdney in one trip, and that’s exactly how Vlad, Winnie and I did. Earlier in the day we had ascended Mt. Dewdney.

Mt. Dewdney and Mt. Ford from Dewdney Trail. GPX DL

The spot where we topped out on Dewdney-Ford ridge was not exactly at the Dewdney/Ford col and that meant we would have to deal with some undulating terrain and frustrating elevation regain on the way back. We still opted to ditch gears at that spot because we really didn’t have other options. I decided to ditch the entire backpack carrying nothing but a jacket and some water (in Vlad’s pack), which turned out to be a mistake. I left my gloves behind and almost paid the price. The traverse to the base of Mt. Ford’s north ridge was easy going with some descending and side-hilling. The north ridge of Mt. Ford appeared steeper than expected, but upon closer examination it was actually pretty mellow. The cold wind picked up unfortunately and not having gloves really started to bother me. I had to wait for Vlad to catch up to grab my jacket but I was still very cold. At this point we were under 200 vertical meters from the summit so I just had to suck it up. Meanwhile Winnie took over the lead so I no longer needed to break trail.

The NE Face of Mt. Ford from where we ditched gears

Plodding on the flattish and undulating ridge

Finally started to ascend the N. Ridge of Mt. Ford

Looking west towards Mt. Outram

Winnie leading the way. This view was very foreshortened

Partial Summit Panorama from Mt. Ford. Click to view large size.

Partial Summit Panorama from Mt. Ford. Click to view large size.

A closer look at the south face of Mt. Dewdney that we just ascended

The east face of Mt. Outram

Looking across Highway 3 towards Silverdaisy Mountain etc.

The typical Manning Park terrain looking east

A closer look at Snass Mountain

Hozomeen Mountain is iconic from all directions

Tulameen Mountain to the north

Some tall peaks (Skihist etc.) on the far NW horizon

This frozen lake just to the south of Mt. Ford probably hasn’t seen many visitors

Vlad approaching the summit

Me on the summit of Mt. Ford

Our group shot on the summit of Mt. Ford

All we did on the summit was to take some obligatory photos. Vlad and I opted to descend the south ridge a short ways to check out a frozen lake on the south side but that’s it. We plodded back down the north ridge for as quickly as possible and then back to where we ditched the packs. I finally started to feel not as cold so we took one last long break eating some food. We were doomed having to finish this trip in dark including descending the steep forest with head-lamps on, so there’s no need to rush. We had just over half an hour’s daylight time left so might as well enjoying the evening scenery. The snow conditions on this steep forested descent was terrible for snowshoeing that we all tripped and fell a few times. The upper section was the better part so we zoomed down fairly quickly. About 2/3 of the way down we had to turn the head-lamps on. The snow was too steep and crusty for comfortable snowshoeing but too soft and deep for boot-packing, so we really had to take our time. For the last 300 vertical meters we finally took the snowshoes off. The snow was icy enough that we had to strap crampons on. Once down to Dewdney Trail we took the crampons off and managed to plod back out in just over half an hour.

One last look at Mt. Dewdney

Vlad starting the descent

Plodding back across the Dewdney-Ford ridge to where we topped out

From where we ditched gears, looking back towards Mt. Outram

The NE Face of Mt. Ford

The north face of Mt. Brice down Skagit River valley

Vlad descending with incredible dusk scenery behind

Winnie descending with Snass Mountain behind

A closer look at Snass Mountain

The evening glow on Snass Mountain

This sums up our steep forested descent…

Our round trip time was 9 hours 40 minutes which was actually faster than expected. We finished the trip well into darkness but the time was only 5:30 pm… This was probably my last time hiking this Dewdney Trail as I’ve now finished Snass, Snazzy, Dewdney and Ford so there’s no need to come back. This was great as I did not enjoy this trail at all on any of my previous visits. The drive back home was not as tiring as I thought but took a while.