Distance: 14.5 km
Elevation gain: 1035 m View map Download GPS track
I’ve hiked to Buller Pass a couple of times and each time thought about scrambling up the little peak separating the north and south drainages of Buller Creek, but never got around to it as other objectives beckoned (Andrew Nugara calls this peak Buller Creek Peak in his updated scrambling guide). After a trip report from last week suggested the snow in the area was still manageable, however, I decided today would be the day I scrambled to its summit.
We were joined by Alison
today, and after meeting up at the closed gate for the Buller Pond day use area shortly after 8:00 am, we started hiking along the Buller Pass trail. What little snow there was had been packed by snowshoers and time passed quickly as we chatted on the long approach to the junction for South and North Buller Passes. Shortly afterwards the snowshoe track we were following strayed into the bush instead of following the usual route to the pass, but it was still easier to follow it than to forge our own route.
The track led us a bit higher up the lower slope of Buller Creek Peak than we wanted and we ended up breaking trail over several small snow-covered ribs as we contoured towards the recommended ascent route at the base of Buller Pass. We soon got tired of this, however, and decided to head directly up the frozen scree of the peak. It didn’t look that bad from below, but it was far steeper than we’d expected and very tedious.
An hour after we started the ascent we reached the very tiny summit, having ascended 420 m over a distance of just 850 m. Like many of our trips of the past few weeks, the views could’ve been spectacular, but were obscured by Environment Canada’s definition of sunshine (low cloud and flurries). With little wind, however, we were able to enjoy a quick lunch on the summit before heading down.
For our descent we decided to follow the recommended ascent route, heading for the col between the south and north Buller Creek drainages before descending to the south. The slope was less steep in this direction than our ascent route had been and hard snow patches made the descent to the col relatively easy. From the col to the valley bottom was one enormous snow slope that could’ve been very dangerous in the wrong conditions, but today the snow served only to speed our descent.
The trip back out to the truck was long and uneventful, but I couldn’t believe how exhausted I was! This wasn’t an unusually long or taxing trip, but I guess the trail breaking and steep ascent had been a bit more than I’m used to this time of year. That’s just one more reason to get out again, I guess!