Elevation Gain: 471m
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Date: December 11th, 2021
This weekend was calling for another round of high avalanche danger in the Sea 2 Sky area and that meant my options were limited to more modest objectives. I was still really keen to get out however, as I needed to do more training for my upcoming Aconcagua attempt. The key this time was going to be testing out an ascent with a heavy pack. Aconcagua was going to involve 18-22kg packs and so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be struggling with a burgeoning pack on the first day.
I shopped around looking for something under the snowline and eventually honed in on Farrer Peak. It’s the unofficially named peak that is often skipped along the well known Diaz Vistas trail near Buntzen Lake. The route was short at just shy of 7km and around 500m of elevation gain. Despite that, I knew there was a sustained steep section before the summit and this would be a great place to get a feel for the heavy pack.
On the Saturday I ended up leaving quite late as I was waffling over the weather conditions. They were rainier than expected, but I had the right rain gear so just went for after all. I arrived at the parking lot just short of 1:30PM and had little time to spare. The park sign said gate closed at 4:30PM, so I’d need to be back in under 3 hours. I packed up quickly, including my simulation weight (several water bottles, two 12 packs of sparkling water and some other miscellaneous items) and headed out.
The trail followed briefly along the road, before cutting across the narrow terminus of Buntzen lake and then up into the forest. There was an alternate route, not on the map that I took for a change of scenery and it rejoined with the main trail about 200m later. For the rest of the way to the base of Farrer Peak it was a minor elevation gain over a well maintained trail and made for easy travel.
Once I reached the base, the steep-ish grunt started. Thankfully, to my surprise the heavy pack didn’t hold me back too much and I was able to keep a decent pace. I just made sure to pick my steps more carefully as it’s harder to regain balance once you start tipping over. The route was short and easy by BC standards and I made it to the summit plateau in about 1 hour from the car. I then took the eastern trail fork to a view point before pushing into the forest again in search of the summit.
Finding the summit proved a bit challenging as the plateau had a few minor bumps that could have been the summit. To remove all doubt I visited the bump with the GPS marker as well as an adjacent one that certainly appeared higher. There wasn’t much to see so I left once I checked off both high points and headed back down.
Coming down the descent track was fairly trivial and I was back at the base of the peak in 30 minutes or so. I then continued down the nice modest trail all the way back to the car. In the end I had plenty of time to spare before the gate closed, but it was nice to pick up the pace and see how I did anyways.
Overall a great easy outing for most weather conditions and the views are quite nice. Many people will come very close to the summit by virtue of taking the Diaz Vistas trail. Anyone looking to claim the high point need only traverse 10 extra meters of the trail to claim the top.