Mount Wood

February 5, 2022


Vancouver Island, BC

Mt. Wood was the last of the five peaks that I bagged on this past Saturday on Vancouver Island. This was the least attractive if looking at the maps, but turned out not as bad as I thought. It was still a “dumpster-diving” objective but just wasn’t the most dumpster-ish out of the five. This peak is the highest in a piece of woods immediately to the north of Malahat Pass and Spectacle Lake and subsequently boasts over 300 m prominence. The area is riddled with logging roads, but most of them are gated. Having a bike is the key to have some fun on objectives like this. Earlier in the day I had bagged Prevost, Big Sicker, Maple and Tzouhalem all with the trusty fatbike. I was already beat but I still had some daylight time and I must make some use of that.

Mt. Wood bike-up. GPX DL

I followed Google’s direction to drive over Malahat Summit onto the paved road heading towards Spectacle Lake Provincial Park. I veered left just before the lake and parked in front of a locked gate on the FSR system that I planned to take. From here I had about 6 km of riding to the summit of Mt. Wood, which was not as short as I had hoped for. Immediately after passing some junctions I saw ATVs and trucks coming up from another spur so there must be a way to bypass this stupid gate. I wasn’t complaining as biking was just as fun. After gaining about 30 m elevation I had to lose close to 80 m. The downhill stretch was fun on the way in, but would be frustrating on the return. From the lowest point I turned left and rode/pushed the bike up some rougher roads eventually to the west and north-west of Mt. Wood. I encountered intermittent snow patches near the top. I parked the bike directly to the north of the summit and made a quick dash to check out the true summit, which required some bushwhacking up through a cut-block. The view from the true summit was next to nothing so I quickly descended and rode to the east side of the summit where a communication tower structure was located. There were some views from this spot so I stopped for a short break.

My bike parked at the stupid Mosaic gate
Passing some massive logging machines
The sun actually came out at the very end of this day
This was during that downhill stretch.
The very typical view and terrain of this area. It’s dumpster-diving after all…
Passing a small pond. Thankfully no mosquitoes in winter..
Wrapping to the NW of the summit
I ditched the bike for a short bushwhack to the true summit
A view from the cut-block slightly under the true summit
Me posing at the communication structure east of the summit on Mt. Wood

I had less than 20 minutes before sunset so a total of slightly over half an hour’s daylight, so I had to hurry up on the descent. I decided to take a short-cut via a trail labelled on my map. I did not get as lucky as on Mt. Tzouhalem as the trail was in some very poor conditions with lots of dead-falls. I still managed to ride as much as I could to reach the spur road about 50 m down. Unfortunate this spur road was overgrown and difficult to ride on as well, but I did my best to not slow down too much. I eventually rejoined the major FSR and had a furious ride down to that low point. The 80-m re-ascent was very tiring and I eventually got back to the truck just before head-lamp time.

The short-cut “trail” was in a bad shape but I still rode it…
The sunset horizon from the overgrown spur.

I checked the ferry status and made a spontaneous decision to rush to Victoria to catch that 7 pm ride back home. I was counting on taking the 9 pm ride, but it seemed like I had a good chance to catch that earlier ferry. I drove the whole way to Swartz Bay terminal faster than I normally would do, and made there with about 15 minutes of spare. Fortunately the line-up was not too bad so I did get onto this ride. I had a massive dinner on the ferry and eventually got back home after 9 pm.