McGillivray Ridge 31/07/10

Chris on McGillivray Ridge:
“Cam, Cara and I spent 4 days on and around McGillivray Ridge on the edge of the Bendor Range with a mix of thunderstorms and smoke haze. Smoke kept the big animals away but we saw many ptarmigan families and marmots and a few pikas. The Hurley is in rough shape (washboarding and exposed rocks) but still 2wd. The East Hurley to Bralorne and the Kingdom Lake FSR are also both 2wd (and in nicer condition). We parked at the start of the McGillivray Pass road and hiked up. The alders at the start of the road are growing in again but it’s still easy to maintain hiking speed. There’s a few blowdowns on the road as well. We left the road for the high trail and found that, once you hit the meadows, the trail is hard to follow due to non-use and I was working off memory most of the time. We camped on the ridge near where the trail crosses over and used melting snow fields for water. There’s still lots of snow as we found on the second day when we continued along the ridge: at one point we encountered an 8-m-high drift. We found and packed out some old garbage including a leg-hold trap embedded in the tundra. We made a try for Whitecap Mt on our third day by following the horse trail down into Connel Creek. This part of the trail is in better shape but still disappears in lush meadows. We passed the Chilcotin Holidays cabin (in poor shape because there’s no door to keep wildlife out). The meadows beyond were the lushest I’ve ever seen – up to our waists in flowers and couldn’t see our feet. There were remnants of the trail heading up a creek to the west of Whitecap but too hard to follow. We ran out of time with 400+m still to go but with the steep part of the climb (40 degree slopes) done. On our last day, we bypassed McGillivray Mt and headed NW along the ridge – much narrower than the eastern half before dropping down, sidehilling around Royal Peak and down the ridge to the Piebiter roads. Most of these roads had been cleared for ATVs perhaps last year but those that aren’t are slide alder hell. Crossing Piebiter Creek (knee-height), we checked out the old Piebiter cabin (sturdy but in need of a good clean-out) before heading down to the car again.”

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