Mount Horne

December 2, 2018


Port Alberni / Vanvouver Island, BC

Mt. Horne is rather an insignificant summit rising north of Cathedral Grove of Alberni Highway. The peak is heavily forested except for the very top, where a partial panoramic view opens up towards the south. There’s a trail system running from the parking lot all the way to the summit and apparently this is a popular hike among the locals. Al, Vlad, Mel and myself drove out from the mainland to do Mt. Arrowsmith but Cameron Connector was closed for logging. We then wasted three hours trying to get to Klitsa Mountain but the access road was also closed for logging. The third plan was bagging Mt. Wesley and Mt. Horne as consolation prize and it turned out to be a great decision. Earlier in the trip we had hiked up Mt. Wesley via the steeper SW Ridge route and now with less than 1.5 hours of daylight time we had to rush for the summit of Mt. Horne in order to beat sunset.

Mt. Wesley and Mt. Horne off Alberni Highway. GPX DL

From the trail junction we followed a rather steep trail for less than 100 vertical meters and the trail dumped us on a logging road. I suspected that if one comes from the north side then the hike could be significantly shortened by driving up this road but I cannot comment much on that. The access logistics on Vancouver Island can be very complicated at times, as we learnt in this trip.. We then hiked up this road for a couple switchbacks until a large trail sign told us to bail into the forest again. From there onward we had about 200 vertical meters to go.

Hiking up the logging road with our objective in front

This last portion of the trail is steep, overgrown at bluffy at places but route-finding was easy peasy. In no time we were near the summit and the views finally opened up. Vlad and I rushed to the top while Mel and Al showed up about five minutes later. We got there at about 10 minutes before sunset and I have to say that this was such a perfect timing. A rather lame day was salvaged by a super cool Vancouver Island sunset and not bad, not bad.

The upper trail is steep and bluffy

The best view of Cameron Lake from this peak

Almost at the summit, and the view almost completely opened up

A zoomed-in view of Mt. Arrowsmith, our original objective

Hannah Mountain in the distance on the other side of Alberni Valley

Nine Peaks, Big Interior Mountain and Mt. Rosseau

Klitsa Mountain is that massif dominating the western skyline

Al and Mel making their way to the summit

Our group shot on the summit of Mt. Horne

The sun finds its ways through the thin trees

Fresh snow on the trees adds to the scenery

It’s sunset time!!

Some peaks in the Coast Mountains that I’m too lazy to find out

Another shot of Mt. Arrowsmith

Another shot of Nine Peaks, Big Interior Mtn. and Mt. Rosseau

After the show’s over we immediately started the descent. I was not particularly looking forward to hiking down this steep and slippery trail on trail-runners. In no time we were back to the logging road and another 20 minutes later we were in the woods again. I found the trickiest section was the steep descent from Horne/Wesley pass to the old railway while the last stretch down to the shore of Cameron Lake was actually not too terribly bad.

After doing the obligatory post-hike triumph shots for Al we didn’t waste much time and got the engine going. We did not have to rush however, as it seemed like we’d have no issue catching the 8:45 pm ferry back to the mainland. The waiting game before, and on the ferry was tiring but at least it beats driving. Long story short, I eventually got back home at around 11pm, about 19 hours since waking up in the morning. A rather long ass day for two bumps but I’m not complaining. It’s a cool trip and I’m looking forward to more hikes on the island.