Tom Koleszar – “Slide Mountain”
by Tom Koleszar, 17 August 2020.
Slide Mountain is an impressive peak about 40km NNE of Powell River, near the head of Powell Lake. At 2105m, it is one of the highest peaks in the area. I selected an area 2.5km NE of the peak along a ridge extending out towards the Eldred Valley for a day of hiking in an untouched alpine area. We were dropped off by helicopter near a small lake at 1370m elevation, in a spot with a magnificent view of the north face of Slide Mtn.
Our day’s hike was a circumnavigation of the lake, beginning with a sometimes very steep and rocky ascent of the ridge along its SW side. We eventually crested the ridge (1580m) overlooking the upper Eldred Valley with a view to Mt Alfred – it was a great lunch spot! After lunch we descended the opposite side of the lake on more gentle slopes and through heather meadows. When we got back down to the lake, it was time for a VERY refreshing swim (there was still snow at the other end of the lake!). We then had a couple of hours of relaxation and photography until the helicopter arrived to take us home.
We encountered many wildflower areas – mostly pink and white heather, but also saxifrage and others as well. The few trees were gnarled old yellow cedars and mountain hemlocks. At the higher levels there was still plenty of snow (this was in mid August) melting, and thus water running everywhere. Lots of mosses and waterfalls! However, we did not see any wildlife – only some goat tracks in a drying pond.
For the geologically inclined, Slide Mtn is a fascinating area. Though we spent the day hiking on Mid Cretaceous (~100 million years old) granitic rocks, Slide Mtn itself is composed of a mix of Triassic aged (200-250 million years old) basaltic volcanic rocks and Lower Cretaceous (100-150 million years old) interlayered volcanic and sedimentary rocks.