Road and Gate Information

As most of us are aware, the Vancouver Island back-country is subject to changing conditions – rock slides, washouts, road deactivation – and because so much of the land is privately owned, access to some of our beloved routes and destinations is often restricted.

Mosaic is the timberland manager for TimberWest and Island Timberlands – two private forest landowners on Vancouver Island. Mosaic offers access to designated roads on weekends only and when safety and operational conditions permit. Opportunities are updated weekly with details available online at

Before venturing beyond an open gate, make sure you know the gate opening and closing schedules (although this is no guarantee that gates won’t be locked prematurely as some of us have found out) , and that you drive with care. Here’s a YouTube video from the B.C. Forest Safety Council illustrating safe use of the Resource roads:

Weather and Snow Conditions

The success of an outing and the safety of participants depends so much on being prepared for the conditions in the backcountry. Mountain weather can be very different from what we experience in the Valley and at sea level. While the local weather forecast (e.g. ) can give a rough idea of the local conditions, we recommend consulting more specific forecasts for the mountain regions. Mountain Forecast lists some, but not all, of the peaks that we visit. Here is the link for Mt. Arrowsmith:

Another site to check out is Ventusky – A review by Digitaltrends describes the site as “stunning” and comments:

As informative as it is beautiful, the “Ventusky” web app is the work of Czech-based meteorological firm InMeteo. The interactive map…lets you pull up all kinds of weather stats, including temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, and wind speed. The temperature and wind speed maps, with their swirling lines and patches of pretty color-coded data, are a joy to simply gaze at regardless of the information they offer. You can zoom in close to a particular location, or see the world’s weather patterns that are enveloping the planet right now by pulling out and viewing the entire map at once.

Avalanche Information

Before venturing into snowy backcountry the Avalanche Canada website should be consulted to assess the avalanche risk:

There is lots more Internet information about avalanche safety. REI Co-op (U.S.) has a fairly succinct article on the topic:

The Ten Essentials

Each hiker should carry the 10 essentials on every hike.

1 Navigation
2 Headlamp
3 Sun Protection
4 First Aid Supplies
5 Knife
6 Fire
7 Shelter
8 Extra Food
9 Extra Water
10 Extra Clothes

For more information about each of these 10 essentials see the representative links below.

A Day Hiker’s 10 Essentials:­

A Mountaineer’s 10 Essentials:­

North Shore Rescue – What to Bring: