Coburg Peak

GPS recording available here: (note some data missing)

Elevation Gain: 1,949m
Distance: 22.14km
Total Time: 9 hours 18 minutes
Date: July 31st, 2021

After waiting for the rain to cease and the rocks to dry, Kevin and I were finally ready to make our over to Coburg Peak from Gotha. The initial route involved descending around 100m down to the Gotha-Coburg col over some class 2 terrain. While we were heading down, I was trying to determine what the actual route would look like. There was an obvious ramp from the eastern side, but it was not accessible without ascending 5th class terrain from the eastern gully between Gotha and Coburg. Looking further west, there was significant cliff coverage and I couldn’t for the life of me make out what the route would look like. However, there was ample flagging along the route so far and so we just continued to follow that and hopefully a reasonable route would reveal itself.

Here’s a look at where the route roughly goes. The crux is the cliff band where the blue line follows under and then veers up
Heading towards the col. Weather is improving by now but some intermittent rain here and there
Kevin down climbing a few tricky steps on the way to the col
Continuing down. Lots of rocky steps like this
Looking at the rocky gully from the col. There’s potential to access a moderate ramp from the East end, but from this perspective the terrain looks iffy

We made it down the col without any issue and then started ascending up through the bush to Coburg’s slopes. The route followed a narrow foot path that at times were just the odd foot mark in heather, but the flagging continued to guide the way. We continued pushing through the bush and then the route trended more climber’s right until we lost the flagging.

I thought I saw a worn foot path and so down climbed a steep slope until I saw a possible route to a narrow gully. I crossed the slope until I was directly under the gully and saw mostly 4th class terrain covered in wet downsloping moss. This didn’t feel quite right and I couldn’t make out any obvious foot prints so I relayed the details to Kevin. He decided to ascend back up our path to the last flag we saw. Shortly after he called out that he’d found the route again and so I climbed back up to rejoin with him.

Staring up to Coburg from the col now. Lots of flagging to mark the way
Kevin coming up behind me. Lots of steep bushy terrain here.
Steep forest and narrow paths along the way
More bush, but it’s manageable
If you see this terrain, you’ve gone too far climber’s right
Looking up the wrong gully after a route finding error. Kevin found the right flagging shortly after

Here the route went directly up a bit further before veering climber’s left under a cliff band. On the left side was a steep dirt gully and then ahead lay some flagging that indicated a route up through the cliff. This is where we encountered the crux of the route. It was a roughly 15-17ft class 3 section that had some moderately tricky, albeit fun moves. Starting first with a stemming move across a good foot hold and then finishing with a tight squeeze through the top part of a chimney to complete the section. From that point there was a class 2 section to get above the rest of the cliff band then back to dirt.

Nearing the crux of the route now as we go climber’s left across Coburg’s face now
Almost to the crux now
Looking up at the crux of the route now
Keving heading up first with a nice stemming move
It’s a bit tricky on the first move and the last, but there’s solid holds and footing
Here’s me coming up now
Finishing the stem move
Looking down at the crux
Kevin finishing the last of the moves to top out on the cliff band

We pushed up through a bit more vegetation and another class 2 rock section and then came across a “junction” of sorts. To the right was a dirt covered slab that could be traversed with a straightforward stemming move. It was low-ish consequence as a fall would take you perhaps 5 feet down to the trees. Meanwhile on the left was a short down climb to a rope which bypassed the slab. At the time, Kevin and I weren’t sure where the rope lead so we just went with the slab route and then continued following the flagging up through the bush. The terrain finally eased out and we broke out on to the summit shortly after.

Steep vegetation and some class 2 rocks above the cliff band
More climbing above the steep vege slope
This is above the “junction” but unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of the actual slab and rope
On the summit now
Kevin found the summit register
Myself on the summit

Not long after reaching the summit a group of 3 caught up with us. After a short intro we found out they were Jen, Steve and Dennis from the north shore’s Bagger Challenge group. They had actually been the ones to flag the whole route, so exchanged some appreciation for the nice work.

During this time the rain had been starting up on and off, so I didn’t want to spend long on the summit as I knew down climbing the crux section would be messy if the rocks were wet. The group of 3 started down, but Kevin wanted to hang out for a bit to enjoy the summit. We agreed I could tail the group down and he would join up shortly after on the col.

For the way down, I descended the same route I took up and was back at the “rope junction” again. I still opted to go for the slab traverse again and while it was a bit more awkward on the return, it was overall easy enough. Then it’s another short descent of some class two terrain and vegetation before we were above the cliff band again. Dennis, Jan and Steve were just ahead making their way down the first class 2 section above the crux. I waited for them to clear and then descended to a flat spot above the crux to wait for everyone to finish down climbing. At this point Kevin rejoined with me and was quicker on the descent than I expected.

Once the trio was through crux section, I started my descent. Dennis was kind enough to come back and spot my foot placements if need be. However, downclimbing was actually much easier than the ascent and I was able to get down easily without assistance. Kevin made it down shortly after and now the toughest section was out of the way. We followed the flagging back to the col and then pushed back up to the summit area of Gotha.

Dennis (red), Steve (white) and Jen (blue) descending below the summit now
Jan and Dennis descending the upper 2nd class section above the crux
Dennis starting down the crux
Kevin catches up now and starts down the 2nd class bit
Kevin descending the crux now
A look at the steep northern face of Coburg on the way back

Again we paused for a small break at Gotha and then started the long plod back to the car. We retraced our steps down the boulder field and then onto the bench meadow and finally back to the main trail for Mount Windsor. From there it was a long, uneventful, 8 km + descent back to the car.

One last look at Brunswick from Gotha
Above the boulder field again
Back on the normal trail again

After it’s all said and done, I found Coburg Peak to be super fun. Gotha makes it worthwhile since you get 2 peaks for 1 on the journey. The only downside to this route is the unfortunately long approach from the trail head. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic scramble and thanks to the flagging eliminates a lot of difficult route finding that may otherwise lead you into treacherous terrain.

2 thoughts on “Coburg Peak

  1. Thanks for this trail report, it was super useful! I did Cotha & Coburg yesterday, and your details & pictures are 100% valid. I did find the Coburg crux chimney much easier than it looks in the pictures. It did not have exposure, and the only move that required any real scrambling skills was the the first step to get to the top of the small 140-150cm cliff at the bottom of the crux. From that point upwards the crux was easy.

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