Stats include all five peaks + overnight stay
Elevation Gain: 1,724m
Total Time: 10 hours 54 minutes
Date: August 14th, 2021
Locomotive Mountain is located about 1 hour north west of the town of Pemberton and sits on the south eastern end of the Train Glacier. It’s mentioned in Matt Gunn’s book alongside with Face Mountain which is across the glacier from Locomotive. There are several other peaks along the ridge that divides the Train Glacier and Freight Glacier; which can be combined in a single trip. I first considered this area and traverse when my group of friends: Mike, Jacob, Kate and Madi, were looking for an ideal alpine objective that could incorporate an overnight stay. The week before our planned outing, I put the Train Glacier up for a group vote and everyone was set on the idea. Next came a bit more research. I found a trip report where a group had done the traverse starting from Face Mountain all the way to Locomotive. I felt going in the reverse made more sense for our group, because Madi and Kate were leaning towards a less involved approach. Starting from Locomotive meant we could easily grab Tender Mountain and Caboose Peak and turnaround if need be. With the plan made, we set out to be at the trail head for around 9:30pm on August 14th with a planned meet up in Whistler beforehand to convoy over.
On the 14th, I woke up at 4:45am and was out the door by 5:00am to go pick Jacob up in East Vancouver. We left Jacob’s at 5:20am and made it to Whistler sometime around 7:20am where Mike, Madi and Kate were now waiting for us. From there, I lead the convoy through Pemberton and up the Hurley River FSR before arriving at the trail head for 8:50am or so. Already there were at least a dozen cars parked by the trail head and I can only guess it’s because of the very short approach to the Semaphore Lakes area.
We geared up and started our down the trail, taking a more leisurely pace while everyone caught up and talked. The trail through the forest was quite obvious and made for an uneventful walk. We made it to the lakes about an hour later and set about trying to decide where to our place tents. The first lake we encountered was already pretty busy, so we opted to move to the next one and a few minutes later we found a good spot. Everyone paused for some snacks here and then we ditched our heavy overnight packs in favour of lighter day packs. About 20 minutes after we arrived we were starting our way up the first talus slope to Locomotive Peak.
The boulders were set in well and so didn’t shift under our weight, making for a much faster ascent than expected. A top of the first talus slope, we then continued traversing south around the base of Locomotive Mountain through the glacial moraine until we hit the last remnants of a glacier on the south side of Locomotive. We stayed climber’s right of the first glacier until we crested another slope and spotted a second pocket glacier. Here we could see a few lines up, some more involved than others, but when we spotted a group of 4 along an obvious ridge on the south side, we opted to go for that route instead. To reach the ridge we navigated in between the two small glaciers and then ascended that directly to the summit. Besides some more boulders, it was more of a hike than a scramble and we reached the top without any difficulty.
At the summit, we paused for lunch and took in the full views of the Train Glacier. I asked around about tagging the next peaks and everyone was feeling strong and agreed to continue on. So after our break, it was time to head over to Tender Mountain.