An account with photographs of scrambling up and out of the Barron Canyon in the vicinity of Hardwood Creek.
2015 May 29
The question occasionally arises as to whether it is possible to combine a paddle trip through the Barron Canyon with exploring the hiking trail at the top. My answer to this question has always been that this is not practical; the hiking trail is not accessible from the river. However, in the last year or so, I have come to suspect that there perhaps is a route to scramble up and out of the canyon starting just a little downstream of Hardwood Creek. Recently, my friends Ric and Richard and I (Bob) decided to give it a try. Some photos from our climb are presented below.
We bushwacked over to Hardwood Creek — probably less than 200m. We were regretting that we didn't bring any flagging tape with us (to ensure that we could find our way back down), but it's probably just as well since we returned via a slightly different — but better — route. I suspect that the use of flagging tape is against park rules.
In retrospect, this climb was somewhat anticlimactic. Certainly, it was intimidatingly steep and the surface was somewhat unstable, but even as inexperienced climbers, we never felt that we were recklessly risking our necks. And the steep part was not that high. It got our heart rates up but was certainly within the capabilities of these three old guys. That said, there is a real danger of slipping, it is certainly not suitable for children and the route would probably become quite treacherous in wet conditions.
Once we were up, the bushwack over to Hardwood Creek was straightforward — we could hear the falls — although the bush away from the cliff edge was thick.
From the top of the falls on Hardwood Creek, it would only be a bushwack of less than a kilometre to connect with the Barron Canyon Hiking Trail. Certainly there would be an elevation gain of several tens of metres, but it is spread out rather than concentrated in the form of a cliff. Thus I am quite confident that this would be a possible route to connect with the hiking trail and thus access the high point of the north canyon wall. Whether this constitutes a sensible or practical side trip to augment a paddle through the canyon is another matter. But these comments are theoretical; we did not attempt to connect with the hiking trail and thus cannot vouch for the route.
Disclaimer: This account is solely a record of what we did and is not a recommendation to others. You are solely responsible for your own route selection and safety.
I have not included a map with a gps track for this route. I recorded a gps track but it is too noisy to be useful. I think the issue is that in the canyon there is only a limited view of the sky and the gps signal is subject to reflections off the canyon walls. However, while I have not included a gps track, the location of all of the photos are indicated (the "map" link under each photo).