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Red Pillar Access from Oshinow Lake
Timestamp Free: 2020.06.04 - 20:46:43
Ranges: North America Ranges / Pacific Cordillera Range / Insular Mountains / Vancouver Island Ranges
  (2 days)     Elevation Gain: 1600m
Participants: Dave Campbell; Aaron Barsky
Difficulty: 4: Route from Oshinow Lake (Deep Lake) is well flagged and easy to follow trail (similar to BCMC trail up the Needles in Lynn Valley); Red Pillar itself is reported to be fourth class
Access route to the Red Pillar from Oshinow Lake. Much more straightforward than the traditional overland approach from the Comox Glacier.
This is a brief description of the access route into the Red Pillar from Oshinow Lake. The weekend we visited the area it poured rain, and we made it to the alpine where we quickly set up the tent and dove into our sleeping bags before succumbing to more advanced hypothermia.

Traditionally, the Red Pillar has been accessed from the Comox Glacier. This involves a fairly rugged traverse of Mount Argus, and is not very straightforward at all (see Peter Rothermel's description of a trip to Mount Harmston which follows a similar route). A three-day return trip would be fairly strenuous. Often the Red Pillar is also climbed as part of a bigger traverse across the eastern side of Strathcona Park, either from Comox Glacier to Flower Ridge, or from Albert Edward to the Comox Glacier. The Red Pillar is on the historic list of "eligible" peaks to gain senior membership with the Island section of the ACC, and is truly a one of the fine mountaineering objectives on the Island.

Recently, access from Oshinow Lake has received a fair bit of attention as an alternative way to gain the Red Pillar. Logging roads extend up the Ash River to the south-east of the peak (in fact for some strange reason the logging roads go right into the park but that may be part of park expopriation of the area in recent years). From this side, the Red Pillar is now often climbed as a day-trip in summer.

There are two options for getting across Oshinow Lake (note: Oshinow Lake is the official name, but locals call it Deep Lake due to its fjiord-like steep-sided, deep bottomed shape). One can either follow a trail for 5-6 kilometers along the northern shore of the lake, or take the more aesthetic approach of canoeing the lake, and picking up the trail on the other side of the lake. When we...

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