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Reviews > Books > Trail Guides > SCRAMBLES IN SOUTHWEST BRITISH COLUMBIA > Owner Review by Theresa Lawrence

By Theresa Lawrence

November 16, 2012


NAME: Theresa Lawrence
EMAIL: theresa_newell AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 35
LOCATION: Sparwood, British Columbia, Canada
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

I have more than 15 years of backpacking experience. Day hikes and 2-3 day backpacking trips take place on most weekends throughout the year while longer trips are only occasional. I backpack predominantly in mountain terrain (Coast Range, Cascades and Canadian Rockies) with the goal of summiting peaks. Activities I use my gear with include mountaineering, ski touring, rock climbing, kayaking, biking, trail running, Search and Rescue and overseas travel. I like my gear to be reasonably light, convenient and simple to use though I would not claim to be a lightweight hiker.

Product Information

Title: Scrambles in Southwest British Columbia
Author: Matt Gunn
Publisher: Cairn Publishing
Publisher's Website:
Date Published: March 2005
Edition: 1st
ISBN: 0-9735489-0-8
Measured Size: 7.5 x 5 x 0.75 in (19 x 12.7 x 1.9 cm)
Measured Weight: 14.6 oz (414 g)
Pages: 320

Product Description

Scrambles in Southwest British Columbia (BC) is a guidebook that details scrambling routes to various peaks in the region. It is intended for experienced backpackers and climbers only. I would define scrambling as nontechnical climbing that gains access to summits, which can often be very exposed and dangerous. There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the book explaining all the risks involved and what scrambling is all about. Safety, road access, park fees, camping/ hut information and a section on how to use the guide is also included at the beginning of the book.

The rest of the book is divided into thirteen chapters with each chapter covering an area within the Southwest BC region. There is an area overview map on the first page showing all the chapters and their corresponding page numbers for quick reference. At the beginning of each chapter there is a summary of highlights for the area and information pertaining to access and camping along with an area map. Each chapter is then broken into scrambles defined by the name of the summit. There are over 120 routes, which include day trips, weekend trips and multi-day outings.

Each scramble has a summary box with the following information:

- Star quality rating with the following meanings:
*** I loved it and would do it again.
** A pretty good route. Worthwhile and enjoyable.
* Not one of my favourite routes, likely included for geographic representation or significance.
- Difficulty rating: easy, moderate, difficult, very difficult (these are defined in the book)
- Summit elevation
- Ascent time
- Elevation gain
- Maps: which topographical (1:50000 NTS) map to use
- Hike description (summary)
- Vehicle required (4WD, etc.)
- Driving time from Vancouver, BC

The rest of the section includes details of the route including how to get to the trail head and then from the trail head all the way to the summit. A photograph of the mountain with a superimposed line drawn showing the route to the summit is also provided.

The book concludes with a glossary, index and a little blurb about the author.

Field Use

Out of the 120 routes described in this book, I have done over 50 of them. Suffice to say I have enough experience using this book to make a few comments. And honestly, I have nothing but raving reviews for this book. It is simply laid out and gives all the details I'm looking for in the summary of each scramble. This allows me to quickly decide whether the scramble is for me or will work with the current weather conditions, etc. The route descriptions are consistently accurate and give just enough information to help find the route to the summit. The pictures are real photographs printed in black and white. They are high quality and represent each mountain clearly. I have never been lost with this book, nor have I gotten into a scramble beyond my abilities as the descriptions are very accurate on what to expect and whether the route is exposed. The access directions to the trail head have also been bang on. What impresses me even more about the author and publisher's website is that it provides all the new updates for the book. For example, since the writing of this book, some of the roads and bridges described have since been washed out. Some vehicle access points have also changed. Vehicles might need to be set to 4WD or the routes might not even be accessible at all. This has been exceptionally useful instead of having an outdated copy of a book. As yet, there is no 2nd edition available. The book is also small and light enough to not be a burden.

Just a few examples of some achievable peaks through this guidebook ...
The Black Tusk
Brandywine Mountain
Frosty Mountain
Locamotive Mountain
Golden Ears
Mount Marriott
Twin Lakes Northwest Peak


Scrambles in Southwest British Columbia is a fantastic guidebook for experienced scramblers. I have successfully climbed many summits with this book and have never gotten lost. I have been lost with other scramble guidebooks, so that is saying something. Especially, since not being in the right place on a scramble has led me to some dicey situations or just great disappointment. The book is very well laid out for picking a scramble based on the type of vehicle I have access to, the current weather conditions, the ability of myself and the people I'm with. I love the quick description of what to expect, including what hazards are likely and the quality of the scramble. All of these things are important to me when deciding which scramble to do. Also, I have to commend the author for the brilliant photographs used showing the overall route. I would most definately recommend this book for anyone who likes to scramble to the top of a mountain.

- Great photographs with route superimposed
- Great summary and quick descriptions
- Concise, to the point route descriptions
- Useful rating systems
- Useful information about access and camping/ huts in the area
- Useful website that provides all new updates for the book

- Nothing

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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