Rockface Mountain

August 10, 2019


Kamloops / Paul Lake, BC

Rockface Mountain is rather a pimple attached to the bigger, but still-forested Mt. Harper that boasts a small ski resort near the city of Kamloops. I suspect the name of this pimple came from the steep east face that does resemble a “rock face” although not very major. Rockface Mtn. does boasts more than 100 m of topographic prominence so is legitimate to be counted as a separate summit. I did this hike as part of the drive from Canadian Rockies back to Vancouver after completing two of the 11,000ers in the Rockies. Earlier in this day I had already tagged the nearby Gibraltar Rock. The weather seemed more stable than forecasted and I wanted more.

Between Mt. Harper and Rockface Mountain I picked the latter because there’s very little information and I wanted to explore. On my Gaia GPS app there’s a road that goes very high up on the southern slopes from Pinantan Lake a few kilometers east of Paul Lake, and from the road’s end it showed I could follow a trail to the eastern of the two summits. The true summit would likely need to be attained by some light bushwhacking and likely had no view whatsoever, but I didn’t care. I had no service at Paul Lake so couldn’t do a detailed research and the Gaia GPS map was all I had at the time. The road turned out to be much rougher than expected with lots of muddy places, deep ruts and overall very narrow. I had to park the Tacoma at about 2 km from the road’s end.

Rockface Mountain ascent route. GPX DL

I thought the hike wouldn’t take long so carried nothing other than my cell phone. I easily hiked to the road’s end and from there I turned right onto an overgrown spur road and picked up the trail that’s showed on my Gaia map. The trail was steep and loose that the trail-runners seemed a bit undertooled for the job, but I made to the saddle nonetheless. I was already thirsty as the day was hot and humid, and the hike had taken longer than expected. I turned left towards the true summit fully expecting a bushwhack, but to my surprise I found a flagged path that seemed to run towards the direction I wanted. The path went climber’s right around a rock buttress but I somehow got sucked onto a narrow and exposed traversing ledge. After some narrow squeezes I came to a mossy 4th class step and turned around. It surely wouldn’t be the right way and I surely found the flagged path traversing much lower than the ledge in the woods. The path eventually led me back onto the ridge crest and from there, it was an easy stroll over a few false summits to the highest point. There’s very minimal view from the true summit so I went back almost immediately. I did not miss the trail/path on the return and once back at the saddle I made a spontaneous decision to check out the eastern sub-summit for completeness even though I was very thirsty at this point. There was indeed some better views from that sub-summit so I was glad I pushed for it. The rest of the descent was uneventful.

Taco on the lower portion of the access road

Rockface Mtn. does look impressive from this angle

This is where I parked my Taco, about 2 km from the start of the trail

Fallen trees on the road

This is the trail that eventually runs to the east sub-summit

I got sucked onto this exposed ledge and had to backtrack

A glimpse of view from the true summit of Rockface Mtn.

A while later I made to the eastern sub-summit, and this is looking down at Paul Lake.

An eastern partial panorama. Click to view large size.

Me on the eastern sub-summit of Rockface Mountain

After carefully driving down the dirt road and then Paul Lake Road back into Kamloops I decided to have a luxurious dinner in a Chinese restaurant. It was way past 9 pm when I finished the dinner and I didn’t manage to get home on that day. I somehow got all the way back to Abbotsford after fighting tiredness for over an hour on the Coquihalla Highway, but had absolutely no strength left at that point. I parked at the Petro Canana parking lot at Exit 95 and slept in my truck, and finished the last half-an-hour drive the next morning.