Summitting The Golden Hinde in a Single Day
I had been there before...but had never reached the summit. My last trip to the Golden Hinde was a 3 day, solo walk-about at a pace designed to clear my mind. This time, the pace was set to try and get to the summit and back in a single day. Of course, it had been done before by many adventurous (and impatient) fastpackers. But, I hadn't ever heard of a woman's single day time...
"Hey! Wanna go for the Hinde on August 27th?"
Here are my insta snippits from our day on the ridge and our attempt to summit the Golden Hinde via Phillips Ridge in one (brutally) long day.
*Note: This is NOT a trail. This is not a 'RUN'. This is a back country route, in very remote and technical terrain, requiring navigation, route finding, climbing and back country travel skills. There are no signs, no trails and there is no cell service anywhere on this route. The final climb to the summit is technical alpine climbing that requires special hazard identification, risk management and climbing skills. Serious injury due to rock fall, sliding off snow into rock and falling off rock are all real risks on this summit. Travelling in large groups increases the risk of injury due to rock fall greatly and helmets are recommended. Travelling the steep snow gulley route requires an axe and crampons. Some parties may wish to use the assistance of ropes and gear to ascend or descend the summit, depending on their route selection, experience and comfort level. If you do not have these skills or equipment, a summit attempt is not advised, although an adventure on the trail to and from the base of the Hinde is a wonderful trip in itself. Pack your 10 essentials. If you don't know what those are, don't go yet;) Get more experience in the mountains first. Although we did complete the summit in a single day, I do not recommend it. We are ultra runners/adventure racers/alpine climbers with many years of back country experience and navigation skills as well as previous experience on the route itself. Kids...don't try this at home;)
On the trail at 3:00am we trekked into the deep dark woods of the Phillips Ridge trailhead to begin our mission to reach the highest peak on Vancouver Island in a single day. The route to the Golden Hinde begins (and ends) with 3million switchbacks up up up to reach the sub alpine via Arnica Lake. When we finally broke out of the woods, the stars were shimmering pink and gold against a deep black-purple sky. Two hours into our trek and a Roy Henry Vickers painting appeared on the horizon. Up up up we continued our climb to reach Philips Ridge, finally able to turn off our lights three hours into our adventure. Once on the ridge, the challenge became real as we could see our target in the distance along with every 'bump' that we would need to climb and descend before reaching the summit proper. Magic light, wild mountains and shared stories are my favourite kind of breakfast and I was filled to the brim that morning alongside my buddy Jen Segger.
Clouds taunted us just after sunrise on Philips Ridge. Rising up from the lakes below and hugging lesser peaks in the distance we willed them to go away. Rain was forecast for 8pm...would the weatherman be right? Or would it come early? We needed good weather to make this summit day happen. We only had a short window and only this single day all year to make our Golden Hinde dream happen...tic tock tic tock.
Closer...but still so unbelievably far. The route to the Golden Hinde is like no other. Instead of a steady climb to the summit the route tortures you with endless 'bumps' up and down over five thousand metres gain and loss. Over and over it takes you up to the alpine just to force you back down to the bush for a thrashing again. For 25kms it seems as if every meter you gain is taken away until you reach the actual summit. And the evil twist is knowing the entire time that you will have to do it all over again on the way back out. You really do need a sense of humour to tackle this route, otherwise it will drive you mad. I love it😜
This. This is the reason we came here. This is the moment we pushed onward for ten hours for. This is why we persevered through a difficult scramble at the edge of our limits. And this was only half way! Such a fantastic feeling but short lived as we knew that we still needed to get off the summit safely. This photo does not tell the entire tale of course...nor does it touch the span of emotions we felt in that moment. Those stories are for another day on the trail... It was the most difficult mountain I've ever climbed. The Golden Hinde is the real deal. 60kms,+\- 5000m gain and loss and a class 4 climb to the top of the highest point on this sweet Island. Yeeeehaw!
I am proud of us for reaching the summit and for supporting each other the entire way. Safety first, fun second, speed last. Strong and steady all day with a snails pace on the summit but we got er done. Pink high socks and trucker hats and all. 19 hours and 32 minutes of brutal mountain bliss and hopefully I never have to do that again. Til next time of course😉
19 hours 32 minutes.
10 hours to the summit.
2 Hornby bars
2 Cliff bars
3 Numa natural chia gels
Sour cream and onion chips
1 entire wheel of Natural Pastures gold medal Camembaert on the summit
Water refills at every lake, countless salt tabs
Icebreaker everything, blown out Speedcross that are in the trash today, ELM trucker hat of course!