Distance: 9 km
Elevation Gain: 751 m (2464 ft)
Time: 5.5 hours
Date Added: September 9, 2011
Last Update: September 9, 2011
If crossing the Blackstone River doesn't deter you, then great views and interesting rock formations are your reward on top of Pilot's Peak. Tall rock columns are scattered around the summit, and the rounded grey ridges behind Pilot's Peak are spectacular.
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Drive to kilometer 117.5 on the Dempster Highway and look for a road on the right (east) side which leads down to the river. You can park just below the highway and walk down to the river.
The Blackstone River is braided at this spot, but can still be difficult to cross. In the spring, or after heavy rain, it's probably worth avoiding this hike as crossing the river would be dangerous. Even late in the year when the river is low, expect water up to your knees.
Being braided, the river is wide here and takes about half an hour to get to the other side. If you have rubber boots, or even better, hip waders, then you can wear them to cross the river and leave them on the other side for the return trip. Otherwise, some sort of sandals or water shoes are recommended.
At the other side of the river, climb up the bank and head across the tussocks towards the small group of trees at the base of the slopes. Walk around the left of the trees and cross the stream so that you are on the right (south) side of it.
Follow the stream up the slopes until it forks into a Y. Cross the right branch and walk up the slope, heading slightly to the right.
Make your way to the ridge on the right (south) of Pilot's Peak. When you reach the steep section below the peak, climb up to the right so that you can avoid most of the sharp, loose rocks which are difficult to climb on. Climb straight up until you reach a section below the summit that flattens out a bit. Explore the north-west edges of the summit here where tall columns of rock are standing upright. Then, head up to the summit for an amazing view of the rounded, grey ridges behind Pilot's Peak. Follow the same route back to your vehicle (which is, unfortunately, on the other side of the river).
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