About two years ago we tagged along with a group of wheeling buddies on an exploratory trip of a popular area north of Whistler. This group of friends, who go by the name Wayfarers Overland, is a bunch of down-to-earth guys who enjoy heading out in their trucks and exploring the bush. They are a great group and we were happy to join in on one of their trips.
Our group left the pavement in D’Arcy, BC on whats known as the Highline Road. This route climbs high above Anderson Lake, following above the north shore, to the communities of Shalalth and Seton Portage. We didn’t snap many photos on this trip as we were having too much fun – but I did manage to snag a few.
Here the group stopped at one of the impromptu camp spots along the Highline:
High up overlooking emerald-coloured Anderson Lake:
Completing the Highline Road without much fuss, we reached Shalalth and Seton Portage and stopped to check out the hydro tunnels.
These tunnels and much of the infrastructure in the area are run by BC Hydro for hydro-electricity production. Water drains down from the higher Carpenter Lake, right through the mountain. The rushing water spins giant turbines which create electricity to power a large area of the province. I recommend a quick google search on the area to learn about the interesting history, and to plan a visit here! Keep in mind though, there are very little services, and some roads are closed in winter. The traverse itself could have closed gates depending on when you are there.
From Shalalth we climbed the switchbacks up to Mission Pass and settled into a small clearing to set up our group camp for the night.
Despite the September sunshine, temperatures dipped below freezing overnight (approx 4000 ft elevation). A crackling group fire, a tasty dinner, and good camp gear went a long way to keep warm overnight – even for the baby!
The next day’s objective was the Mission Ridge Traverse. Nobody knew if it was passable as all maps show the road to be washed out. No one we had spoken with had even attempted it or knew about it. Truth be told, we were just happy to check out the area and see where the road would take us. From near the top of Mission Pass, the road starts out as an underused dirt road generally heading east along the ridge. The road climbs in elevation until passing over the north-west shoulder of Mission Mountain. Here is where the road peters out and turns into rocks and boulders, long forgotten by miners and logging trucks. This section was fairly short, but also the most fun.
In terms of technicality, the photos never do it justice! However, I suspect any high clearance 4×4 would be able to do this route – with careful spotting. It’s also steep. At some points you are driving over beach-ball sized boulders and tire placement was key to avoid bottoming out the rockers and undercarriage. This was the case even with trucks lifted on 33 inch tires etc.
The 80 series sitting high on Ironman suspension had no issues:
We all made it through the crux area and stopped for group photos:
After a few more kilometres, we looked back and could see the rough part of the traverse, and the scale of this beautiful alpine area:
The rest of the road was easy going:
The end of the traverse lead us down to the Moha area, and back to the road between Lillooet and Gold Bridge, near the east end of Carpenter Lake. The Terzaghi Dam is an interesting attraction for the area, and there is a rec site and basic camping area here.
The group spent some time here, eating lunch and soaking up the sunshine.
From here the group did some more exploring up by Marshall Lake, toward Gold Bridge, and camped out one more night before reality set back in and various other commitments split the group up. For us, we were able to meet up with family in another area of the province for our annual deer hunt… but that’s another trip report!
We are looking forward to another group trip with the Wayfarers Overland group.