Leading Peak - South Ridge (Anvil Island), June 2022
Leading Peak on Anvil Island has long captured my imagination, mainly since it sits right in the middle of Howe Sound and is impossible to miss driving the Sea-to-Sky between Horseshoe Bay and Squamish. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that at a certain time of day motoring northbound along said highway one may notice a bright flash or reflection of some sort emanating from the summit. It's as if there's a beacon up there calling out to all peakbaggers to come explore! Coincidentally, Leading Peak has also seen a recent surge in popularity thanks to its inclusion in the annual North Shore hiking brouhaha known as Bagger Challenge. Fast forward to June 2022, and the timing was right for me to join 6 other baggers in sharing the cost of the boat shuttle to and from the island and finally hike to the peak.
Disembarking on the private dock owned by the Daybreak Point Bible Camp, we were a bit concerned we'd be shooed away not having gotten their approval prior to our arrival. The "shooing" thankfully never materialized, and after a ceremonial dipping of the toes in the water by the 'Challenge devotees (extra points for a "water-bag"), we set out for Leading. While there are at least a couple established trails to the peak from the south, the route generally parallels Champside Creek reaching a small lake by the same name. Along the way are numerous steep sections aided by ropes and a couple bluffs with views such as the so-called "White Spot". After the lake, the trail descends a bit to reach a forested saddle before continuing back up along the left (west) side of the summit block. The final scramble contours around to the north side of the 'block and follows the north ridge to reach the top.
Wowzers! Heck of a view from up there! Mount Garibaldi dominates the view to the north, rising above the far end of a ridiculously turquoise-hued Howe Sound. Gambier, Bowen, and smaller islands dot the sound's mouth to the north and east, with the HS Crest peaks flanking the east shore. Fantastic! Oh, and surprise, the source of that reflection appears to be a solar panel. Back down to the dock just in time for our pickup, having been stopped for a brief check-in by the bible camp folks to register our names for whatever purpose they need that for. In summary, for a subalpine island peak with outstanding views, Leading does not disappoint!
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