When I passed by this section of Northern BC a couple years ago, I looked at the parks nearby and made a mental note to research more for a multiday hike in the future. Just the photos of the Spectrum range alone makes one spend a couple hours looking into the possibility of checking out this region.
Previously called the Rainbow Mountains, the range is so colorful from the heavy mineralization from the Mount Edziza volcanic complex. As well, this location is the main source of obsidian in Northern BC and First Nations travelled from as far away as Alaska and northern Alberta for the sharp stone.
There are very few trails in the region, mostly not marked, often overgrown and always difficult to hike. There’s two main areas in the Mount Edziza Park, the Spectrum range (South of the Raspberry Pass) and the Edziza area, neither of which has vehicle access, all very remote, and home to Grizzlies, moose, mountain goats and sheep, and wolves.
With little information and no trails, we made our own trail plan, traversing from Little Ball Lake to Mowdade Lake in a U-shape heading over the range. Everyday we passed by one or two mountain ranges, and normally crossed at least one river/stream. Our maps were old (glaciers having receeded a large amount) but with barely any trees, we were able to find our route relatively easy. Scrambling passes were more difficult, as sometimes you would climb most of the way up a mountain only to pop over the other side and realize you couldn’t get down safely. Another time we scrambled up a pass with loose scree that just kept getting steeper to the point we ended up climbing up a waterfall as it had the largest stable rocks to cling to.
River crossings were another challenge and there was a day we reached a river towards the end of our day. We could have camped and then attempted the crossing in the morning, but we chose to attempt the crossing in the evening in case someone fell in and needed to spend the day warming up. The river was ranging, and we scouted until we found a narrows (which made the river even faster). There was a 1 meter jump that could not be missed. Packs were thrown over separately and Whiskey made it on her own (with alot ALOT of encouragement and a rope tied to her harness).
Water was everywhere, and filtered it was clean and easy to cook and drink with. We never needed to carry much with us, as everyday we would pass countless sources of water or snow.
Finding suitable camp spots was also easy, the main question being, “should we keep going, would it be better further on”. We buried our bear bags (Ursacks), with all our food overnight far from our camp spots and never had any issues. We carried dehydrated food packs, and with very limited spaces in our ursacks (the determining factor in what we could bring), packed dried fruits, bars, and shared double
Communication became key, as our last day ended up being longer than any of us expected (with no trail, we didn’t know how long anything would take). With my InReach mini device I was able to speak to our plane for a pickup as late as possible. We were racing the sun as we finally got to Mowdade Lake (with a couple wrong turns) and boy the elation when we saw our plane picking us up!