This is a general guide to be used in conjunction with the Kusam Klimb map. During the annual official Kusam Klimb event, the trail will be marked with signs and flagging tape. Weather, natural hazards, animal traffic as well as other factors can alter the trail and the trail markings. Be alert and careful. Always travel in the back country well prepared, and be sure to let someone know your plans and when you are expected back.
Each leg distance in the descriptions below will be the distance from the last checkpoint. Elevations noted are from sea level.
(Also known as the first View Point)
Total Distance: 3.7km (2.2km pavement, 1.5km steady steep up wide trail.)
Elevation Gain: 381m
Heritage Hall is located on Sayward Road 3 km from the Sayward Junction on the left hand side (just past the fire hall on the right). Proceed on the shoulder of Sayward Road continuing from the Heritage Hall toward the Village of Sayward for 2km to Sabre Road and turn right.
Follow the pavement uphill to where it dog-legs right. Turn left onto the gravel road 100m and see a trail sign on the right. Bill's trail rises steadily to a clearcut block, traveling down for a couple of steps and then switchbacks up and steady into the trees.
The foot bridge is 1/2 km from the trailhead of Bill's Trail. The outhouse is at the 1km mark (there are no facilities at the checkpoint) and Checkpoint 1 is at 1.5km.
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM HERITAGE HALL START IS 3.7KM
Total Distance: 4.0km (Rough, steep cliffs and probable snow year-round.)
Elevation Gain: 1092m
After Checkpoint 1, the trail immediately narrows and becomes steeper. A few sections offer ropes for assistance. Note that these ropes are for aid only and that you should not rely on their strength for safety purposes.
There are several short lookout side trails at the .5km, .6km, and 1.0km marks, and then just before the helicopter pad at 1.1km. Each is only 10-20m off the trail and offers spectacular views as well as an enjoyable spot to catch your breath. Elevation at the helicopter pad is 841m. You have just climbed 451m in 1.1km!
It's pretty well steady uphill as you pass an old growth plateau to the top of Keta Lake View rock at 2.2km at 1270m elevation. Elevation gain in the last 1.1km is 429m. The trail slowly side-hills to the right at a steady -- but not as steep -- incline. Keep right at the Springer Peak junction sign.
At 2.9km, elevation 1440m, you will be able to see the col (mountain pass) ahead, an alpine lake below the col and a spectacular view of the Salmon Valley below. It is a short (400m) steep descent down to the lake at 1353m. From the lake, a short 700m takes you steadily up to Checkpoint 2.
HAZARDS: Depending on the season, there can be a lack of moving water between Checkpoint 1 and Checkpoint 2. Drink your fill at Checkpoint 1 and pack at least one liter of water. Most times of the year it is very dry for the first 3.0 km of this leg.
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM HERITAGE HALL START IS 7.7KM
Total Distance: 2.6km (Steep descent through old growth.)
Elevation Loss: 568m
Keep to the centre of the gully as the trail from the top drops quickly within another old growth section. Always keeping the creek on your left, you will descend 2.6km steeply to a single log bridge into an open area. The 2-3 Hut is at the exit of the forest. There is tarp shelter here (originally built to shelter the medics who hung around that part of the trail) and an outhouse.
The route down from Checkpoint 2
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM HERITAGE HALL START IS 10.3KM
Total Distance: 2.4km (Steady descent on old road trail.)
Elevation Loss: 164m
Once at the open area, the trail is noticeably less steep as it follows an old logging road on your left side, switch backing down and crossing the main creek several times. Checkpoint 3 is at the parking lot terminus of the Stowe Main logging Road.
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM HERITAGE HALL START IS 12.7KM
Total Distance: 5.0km (Gravel Road)
Elevation Loss: 482m
Follow a 4x4 deactivated gravel logging road steady down. The first switchback at 400m is very loose. Proceed around this corner with caution. There are dozens of dipsy-doodles (or cross cuts made in the road to deactivate or discourage vehicle access). VEHICLE TRAFFIC HAZARD!
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM HERITAGE HALL START IS 17.7KM
Total Distance: 5.5km (2.5km gravel road & pavement; 3.0km mostly gentle down trail.)
Elevation Loss: 259m
The route follows an old overgrown logging road mostly in a straight line gently downhill for 1.8km. It is wide and grassy with several creek dipsy-doodles. Creek levels will vary.
At the Cottonwood "wood" sign (just past the junction with the Cottonwood Loop), the trail narrows along new growth alders. Watch out for tripping hazards from the cut off small stumps.
After crossing a small creek the trail decline increases over flat rock and follows beside the creek. (You can usually hear it, not see it.) Watch for the sharp right turn onto a freshly-cut rougher trail and onto a tree bridge with a tree growing out it! This will take you almost to the other side of the creek, depending on water level.
The trail rudely goes straight up the steep loose dirt bank for about 50m. At the top, you are at the boundary of a newly cut forest. Ignore the trees with red ribbons on them as they are boundary markers, not part of the trail. The trail roughly follows in a diagonal 100m on your left to the end of a logging gravel road. Follow the roads down 1km to a stop sign and the top of Cottonwood Road.
Turn left at the junction and down on Ryan's Road. Another Left at Sayward Road and a nice, FLAT .5km to the Heritage Hall!
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM HERITAGE HALL START IS 23.2km
- Heritage Hall Start & Finish: N50’20.212 x W125’54.702
- Checkpoint 1: N50’21.010 x W 125’53.054
- Checkpoint 2: N50’20.585 x W125’50.689
- 2-3 Hut: Coordinates Not Available
- Checkpoint 3: N50’19.665 x W 125’49.145
- Checkpoint 4: N50’18.865 x W125’15.736
Smile! You're On...
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