Mount Jarvis

January 26, 2021


Hope, BC

Mt. Jarvis is among those forested summits in the immediate vicinity of Hope guarded by steep bluffs and dense coastal rainforest on all sides. It sits right next to Coquihalla Highway, but reports of ascent are extremely rare and in fact, I’m only aware of a couple successful trip reports in the old ClubTread forum and none of them contains very detailed information. There was a privately owned tramway that goes up to the north summit but it had been removed long time ago. The only route that seems to make sense for the south (true) summit is by a direct attack from the H.B.C. trail parking in Peers Creek drainage, via 1400 vertical meters of bushwhacking and forested travel. There appeared to have some views from the very top according to the aforementioned trip reports but the entire ascent would be done with nothing but trees to see. Needless to say, the ascent of Mt. Jarvis does not sound very appealing for most.

I later found out that Mt. Jarvis actually boasts over 600 m (2000 feet) prominence making it one of the “P2K” objectives in the BC Cascades and because of that, I had no problem convincing Matt Juhasz to give it a go. Matt invited Matteo to join the team and the ambitious plan was to start in dark and finish by noon so that I could be back home in time for work. I did not want to take a workday off for this peak. A cold front deposited 5-10 cm of snow down to valley bottom and added extra challenge (or fun) for us as this meant the first 500 m of gain would be bushwhacking in dark and with fresh snow. I left home at 4 am, grabbed some breakfast at Whatcom Road exit and made to the trail-head about 2 hours later. The logging road off Othello exit was covered in snow but did not impose much of a problem to Matt’s truck that we were able to park at the highest we could drive to.

Mt. Jarvis bushwhack. GPX DL

The bridge across Peers Creek was in place and the gate was actually not locked. The tire tracks suggested at least one truck was able to drive higher on the road. For us this was not relevant as we had to bail off the road right after crossing the bridge. Getting into the forest required one awkward 3rd class step and then we faced about 200 vertical meters of steep BW3 bushwhack. The darkness, fresh snow and snowshoes strapped to my backpack made it more memorable than the bushwhacking grade suggested. After a while the density of the bush eased and we had some cruise sailing for a few more hundred vertical meters of gain. There were a few bluffs to ascend through or work around. The head-lamps were stored and the snowshoes were strapped on at around 1000 m elevation. The first “viewpoint” came around 1400 m elevation where we faced a small elevation drop as we finally could see a little bit beyond.

Dark and cold.. Me heading into the forest.

Matt starting the bushwhack.

Matteo led us through a band of unavoidable alders, with fresh snow…

Higher up the bush gave way to slippery and frozen ground

The typical conditions in the lower forest

Twig wondered around

We were glad to finally have some sunshine through the trees

Matteo and Matt simul-crawling out of a very steep tree zone

Coming to this opening around 1400 m

Looking back we could see Mt. Grant

One steep bluff then forced us traversing out climber’s right for a while before finding a break through. I led us through a steep ramp feature that involved some technical snowshoeing and vege belays on 40+ degree treed slopes. It’s very likely that we didn’t go through the easiest line but we were too lazy to traverse back and forth to search around. Beyond this step we encountered some undulating terrain and a few more steep bluffs. The ascent onto the summit plateau took longer than expected but once there, the views indeed opened up revealing some very unusual perspectives of the familiar peaks.

Spin drifts in the forest suggested strong wind aloft

A very frosty Twig leading the way

Matteo led us up another 40+ degree bluff

Matt tackling another steep roll

Silver Peak / Isolillock Peak massif

Hope Mountain is one of the easiest summits around here

The last roll to gain the summit plateau

A zoomed-in photo of The Old Settler

A very unusual view of Hope and Fraser Canyon

The plod across this frozen tarn/meadows towards the summit

Jorgenson Peak is another elusive peak here – bagged in 2017 solo

The spires in Anderson River Group to the north

Tulameen Mountain sure looks a bit differently

Much better views than expected from this forested summit

Mt. Outram pokes behind Mt. Hatfield and Macleod Peak

Silvertip Mountain is the northernmost “Ultra” of the Cascades

Coquihalla Mountain behind “Carry Peak”

An unusual view of Needle Peak

A rarely seen perspective of Coquihalla Pass right of center shot

Me on the summit of Mt. Jarvis

Our group shot on the summit of Mt. Jarvis

Matteo and Matt climbed to the true summit of Mt. Jarvis

Twig and I also made the very true summit…

The summit was cold and windy even with tree coverage. While snowshoeing down the upper mountain Matt and Matteo played a combination of glissading and some skier’s techniques. I struggled to keep up from behind as I’m not very used to glissading with snowshoes on. I did play some “jump turns” on snowshoes. Once the snow ran out the terrain became very steep and slippery and we all took a few slips and slides. The bushwhacking downhill was overall not as bad as I was expecting but did seem to drag on for a long time.

Plodding back across that frozen tarn or meadow

Matt leading down the first steep roll

Matt found a cool pillow to practice his snowshoe jump

Matteo jumping in style

Matteo in a mellow stretch of the forest

Following our own tracks was pretty easy

We lost our track around here briefly

Another steep bluff to descend

Alders took over on the lower slopes

I remembered this piece of alder on the ascent…

Let the gravity do its job..

Our round trip time was just over 6 hours on a steady pace. The peak was definitely not a walk but with this strong and keen group I still managed to get it done as a before-work exercise. I eventually got back home just in time for work.