I Whimpered Up Mt Quimper… (Sooke, BC)

February 6, 2011
By mtnbikinggirl

Those last minute rides always seem to be the best… I wasn’t sure if I was going to get a chance to ride this weekend since the weather was looking less than stellar and I heard that the trails in Sooke can get pretty muddy after heavy rainfall (turned out to be not true). I was getting ready to leave Courtenay to head to Victoria for some meetings when I saw that there was some blue sky mixed in with the clouds. That sealed it, I turned around and got my bike!

The next morning I met up with Allen from Westcoast Outdoor in the parking lot for the Harbourview trails in Sooke. Allen was my guide for the day. We had chatted on Twitter and planned a bit of a “tweetup” however we were the only two to show up. We only saw another group of 3 on bikes and ran into some horseback riders and hikers on the fireroad heading to the trailhead. The weather was supposed to turn nasty that afternoon and I’m sure it kept people away. However it wasn’t looking too bad so we decided to head to the peak of Mt Quimper.

On the ride up we chatted about our histories and I soon discovered that Allen was formerly a sponsored racer in the UK and was still active in the mountain bike community, although he was no longer racing. He’s part of the Sooke trail maintenance crew and pointed out where there are some really great trails that were suitable for all levels on the left. However, this isn’t where we were going to be riding, we still had a ways to go to the top.

Finally we reached the trailhead for FM Radio and I was excited to get back onto some singletrack only to find out we still had another 45 mins or so of climbing. I had been forewarned that it was a bit of a hike-a-bike to the top, but didn’t realize exactly what I was in for. Yikes! Climbing is definitely not my strong point. The trail does have some sections you can ride so it was a mix of hiking and biking until we got closer to the top where the steeper grade was definitely hiking only. By this time I was down to wearing my t-shirt and was told 10 more minutes until we got there. There’s a reason they’ve nicknamed it the Quimper Whimper… (They also have an annual New Years Day ride called the “Whimper Up Quimper“)

Finally after 1.5 hours after leaving the parking lot we got to the top which has an elevation of 1800′. It was definitely worth it! At the top is an abandoned fire lookout tower that was built by the BC Forest Service in 1951, apparently it’s unlocked to allow shelter for hikers but I never went inside. You could also see Victoria and the Olympic Mountains in Washington on a clear day (I was only able to see Victoria) as well as the Sooke Basin. The view was gorgeous! It was also a few degrees cooler on this February day so we stayed just long enough to chat with the other group of mountain bikers before making our way down.

From the top you have a choice of going down a couple of different trails. The trail Airflow is more geared towards the DH/AM rider with stunts and skinnies and is also the steepest route down. We were both riding XC bikes and decided to ride back down FM Radio. It was an awesome ride down! It’s an advanced XC trail with the odd rock face and several rock gardens. I was impressed with the stone work done in some areas to prevent erosion. Near the bottom there were some large, slippery roots but easy to maneuver over.

At the bottom of FM Radio we crossed the road to Kumquat, which is a nice flowy intermediate trail. It hooks up with Ankle Biter, which is more of the same. These are the trails that Allen had pointed out to me on the ride up. It made for a nice end to the ride, especially since by this time I was absolutely cooked. I had hoped to see the Super D course for the Island Cup Series but my legs were no longer co-operating. It turned out to be a good thing… We had just loaded our bikes onto our cars when we heard the unmistakable sound of a tire puncture. Sure enough, the seal on one of Allen’s tires broke (he runs tubeless). Talk about timing!

Sadly I forgot my GPS at home and the GPS on my phone wouldn’t co-operate so I can’t show you the total elevation gain. If you would like to see the trail map, please click here.

There are several trails in the area that are definitely worth investigating. I can’t wait to go back and check them out!

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2 Responses to I Whimpered Up Mt Quimper… (Sooke, BC)

  1. Tweets that mention Sooke, BC – Harbourview Trails | Mountain Biking Girl -- Topsy.com on February 6, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bill Stenson, Mr Mountain Bike. Mr Mountain Bike said: Sooke, BC – Harbourview Trails | Mountain Biking Girl: Those last minute rides always seem to be the best… I w… http://bit.ly/fFVQby [...]

  2. mtnbikinggirl on February 8, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    You can read Allen’s account of our ride here:


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