January 4, 2017
North Shore Mountains, BC
Despite the elevation being slightly lower than the nearby Mt. Windsor, Deeks Peak does offer one of the finest panoramas of the Howe Sound on a clear day. The various bumps of this peak form a west-to-east ridge-like structure with the true summit on the far east end. This peak boasts three different routes as far as I know. The most popular one goes up from Deeks/Windsor col but involves one steep pitch; the Kallahne Creek valley approach via Lost Creek Cabin travels through some unique terrain on the north side, while the “Old Bypass trail” that goes more-or-less up the broad forested west flanks is the least popular among the three.
For someone who doesn’t visit the same mountain twice the better way to experience Deeks Peak is by traversing it using two of the three routes listed above. To further complicate things Al and I decided to add Mt. Windsor to the loop and do the whole thing in some full-on winter conditions. It looks big on paper but is actually quite a reasonable day-trip. We had approached via Deeks Lake trail in dark and then tagged Mt. Windsor earlier in the morning, and now back to Deeks/Windsor col it’s time to focus on our next objective.
The set of snowshoe tracks were clearly defined and led us up the broad wooded east shoulder without too much of a problem, but just when the terrain ahead became steep we lost their tracks. We spent quite some time looking for it but eventually gave up and decided to do our own route-finding up the bluffy part. There appeared to have a break directly above us so we aimed there, and after traversing a steeper slope diagonally left we found their tracks again. To be honest this part wasn’t as bad as I thought and the terrain tapered off shortly after that.
Through more steep forest we arrived at the summit plateau. The true summit still required one minor detour to the left followed by ascending a steep, but short funnel feature. The views were awesome just as predicted and also thank to the calm conditions we spent some good time lingering around.
Keeping our bearing due west we gotta have to traverse up and over a series of false summits. There’s some micro-terrain, up-and-downs and steeps but nothing overly tricky until the terrain started to descend steeply. This area is exposed to wind so the previous parties’ tracks weren’t very visible and we got confused in no time. We made a mistake by going too far down skier’s left (south) side and had to backtrack. Then turning right (north) we dropped into a valley feature. Picking up their tracks we followed them down into the upper Kallahne Creek valley but after a while I checked my GPS and realized it’s deviating from the planned path again. And sure enough, the path soon took a 180-degree U-turn, overcoming some very steep side-hilling terrain with some very bad run-outs. Neither of us were happy about their route choices, but nevertheless we got down into the creek.
Descending the upper Kallahne Creek valley weren’t very pleasant mostly due to the very uneven surface of snow. There were wind drifts, slabs, breakable crusts and powders as well as at least 2-3 snowshoeers tracks all mixed up creating all kinds of surprises. The cabin was a welcome sight though and we spent some time lingering inside flipping through the logbooks. There’s a highway of tracks downwards from the cabin and the snowshoes were no longer required. Deep post-holes were quite often discovered but plunging down was still overall much faster than going step-by-step on the ‘shoes. The overgrown old logging road was a long and monotonous one. Gradually the snow on the trees started to disappear and the trail had make its transition from nicely-covered-by-the-whites to icy/dirty surfaces. The next thing we’d reached the main Porteau Road and followed it for an additional kilometer back to the parking lot.
Our round trip time was about 9.5 hours which was a bit faster than I was expecting. The previous groups of tracks surely helped a big time on our pace and I’m very glad to have done Deeks Peak as a traverse. In my opinion this one has better view than Mt. Windsor but on the other hand it’s also a bit more involved.