Terapocki Creek

The following route description was provided by Chris Hood.

Terepocki Creek carves a series of scenic canyons into the heavily forested mountains north of the city of Mission in southwestern British Columbia. The canyon system culminates in a plummet estimated at close to 100m in height, but upstream of this point are two technical sections that can be completed without the need for ropes over 60m in length. The upper section, while not particularly long, is quite scenic, requiring 4 rappels in a deep, watery gorge. The lower section (requiring two rappels) is short and easily bypassed, but the rappel and swim out of a granitic slot is highly worthwhile.

Access to the canyon begins in the city of Mission, in B.C.ís lower mainland about an hour east of Vancouver. Continue east of town on Highway 7, watching for a left turn onto Sylvester Road, next to a Husky Station. Sylvester Road is a winding, paved rural road heading north towards the base of the mountains, with the road eventually reverting to dirt after passing the last residences. Continue along the 2WD forest road for a distance of 6.7 km to a major junction with the signed Lost-Lease Main. Keep right at this point, proceeding along the mainline and staying left at another junction before descending to a bridge over Lost Creek. The road continues up a long, somewhat rough hill, soon passing through an extensive gravel pit area that seems to function as the local shooting range. Keep right at the next junction. At a distance of 10.1 km from the end of pavement, the signed Terepocki spur departs on the left, on the edge of a large clear-cut. A vehicle can be spotted along this road by following the rough 2WD road past a few narrow spurs leading off on the right, ultimately stopping where the road encounters a right hand side road in a regenerating clear-cut. The main road turns down-valley here and descends parallel to the deep valley of Terepocki off to the right. The upper entry for Terepocki Creek continues along the mainline, past where the Terepocki spur splits off of the main Lost Creek road. Keep left at the next major junction and proceed to a point 4.2 km past the Terepocki spur (measured at 14.3 km from pavement). At this point, an easy-to-miss, somewhat overgrown spur drops away on the left, not far past a series of recent (2008) clear cuts. Park off the road nearby, wherever space is available.

The described route for Terepocki is rated 3C II to III, using the ACA canyon rating system. A minimum 60m rope is required for the longest drop, although an extra shorter length is also recommended. Natural anchors are used at all drops, and sufficient webbing and rapids are required to construct anchors for the drops. Due to the considerable amount of swimming, a wetsuit is recommended for this route.

The upper access follows the overgrown spur for a short distance, ending at a large landing near the rim of the incised Terepocki drainage. Continue to the far side of the landing, dropping into forest on the downhill side. An initial band of thick salmonberry, alder and other shrubs leads to dense, small, but somewhat easier to traverse small hemlock and Douglas Fir. Trend slightly right of the fall line, dropping steeply into the Terepocki Valley while avoiding a brushy gully off to the left. A last few meters of steep, bushy embankment leads to the creek side near the start of the upper canyon.

From the creek edge, follow the clear stream downward through the developing canyon. The route soon encounters a low cascade into a pool in a shallow narrows. Slide under a log and swim the long, clear pool, gaining a gravel bank where the pool ends and the creek channel splits. A rock knoll announces the first drop, a beautiful twin waterfall plunging into a watery amphitheater. A third, skinny cascade drops in from canyon left. Rappel approximately 12-13m from a slung log on canyon right, into a deep pool. The pool requires a swim out through a short narrows, leading to a 150m section of boulder stream walking in pretty, forested canyon. A small creek dropping in on canyon left provides a good exit route up slabs, once the bottom cascade is passed. At the end of the walking section, the stream once again drops into a tight, watery gorge. The double drop requires a full 30m rappel from a tree on canyon left, with careful consideration of flow rates. The drop begins with a 6m high falls into a punchbowl, followed by a 15m high horsetail falls, with the bottom difficult to see. A wide ledge occurs on the canyon right side of the deep pool at the base, an amazing place to stop and admire the waterfall-loud amphitheater. Swim out through the pool in deep, emerald-walled gorge, quickly gaining the top of another drop.

At this point, the canyon is slightly wider, with the stream funneling through a notch and falling approximately 8m to another deep pool. A promontory on canyon left allows for a preview of the drop below, with a logjam providing potential material for anchor construction at the top of the next rappel. The 8m drop can be anchored from one of several logs clustered near the top, again into a deep pool requiring a short swim out past a curious rock knob. A short downclimb follows, and the stream swirls around an open bend and drops over a low angle, 5m high cascade into a huge, deep pool. The vicinity of the fourth drop lacks obvious anchors, but careful searching yields several possibilities. A knot (backed up for the first down) in a crack on canyon left offers perhaps the best option. A fracture located in the back of a recess on canyon right holds several small chockstones, although these are situated well back from the lip and would result in a difficult rope pull. As noted above, ferrying material down from the promontory above rappel #3 is another option. Once the rappel is complete, a long swim out of the mini-lake leads to more open, boulder-floored canyon.

The big pool marks the end of the upper technical section, with the canyon initially retaining its scenic character with high walls pocked with interesting caves and overhangs. The canyon floor is boulder strewn, with lots of wading as the walls gradually revert to more wooded valley slopes. The next section is essentially a long, streambed walk on sometimes slippery boulders, small gravel terraces and occasional stream-polished outcrop. Eventually, the walls constrict the canyon bottom and the stream cascades through a short section of pretty narrows. The combination of pools, polished volcanic/sedimentary rocks and remnant old growth make this a pleasant interlude after the long boulder walk. Below the narrows, the gorge opens again, soon passing a relatively easy exit on canyon left. At this point, use paths ascend through forest to the edge of the clear-cut and roadway close to the lower parking spot at the junction with the Terepocki road.

At this point, the recommended option involves continuing down-canyon a short distance. Just below the exit area, the stream enters an area of polished granitic boulders; a pool here requires a short swim past low, water-smoothed walls, followed by another section of boulder streambed. The walking soon ends, however, as the creek soon begins dropping between enormous, polished granodiorite boulders, requiring some creative scrambling through little plunge pools and cascades. The creek soon encounters outcrop, plunging abruptly into a short, granodiorite slot filled with deep water. The direct drop, a 10m rappel off of a slung log, is tricky due to a constricted channel. It is perhaps better to scramble out on canyon right, then drop into a watery side channel/fissure. There are two possible rappel points here, with several boulders and pinches available for anchors (difficult rope pulls).. A 7-8m, partially free rappel with an awkward start drops through a small cascade to the floor of the slot. A short swim out between polished, overhanging walls quickly gains a wedged log, with the passage beyond widening out into a deep, incredibly clear pool. The slots can also be bypassed via an easy downclimb on canyon right. The pool is accessed via steep trails on canyon left, and is popular with the locals, who have constructed a rope swing over the pool. Swim out of the pool and scramble out onto outcrop at the lower end. Huge boulders block the downstream continuation, with a narrow siphon funneling much of the stream flow into a tight passage. At this point, it is probably easiest to scramble onto the huge boulder on canyon left, then rappel back down to creek level between the boulder and an adjacent, similarly scaled rock. The drop is approximately 5-6m off of a slung log and has an awkward start. Below this point, the creek reverts to walking over large, slippery boulders in a deep notch overhung by old growth forest. The creek soon begins cutting another shallow inner gorge not far downstream, a precursor to the big drop, and a good point to exit the canyon if not prepared for an estimated 90m rappel. Prior to the first cascades into the shallow gorge, exit up steep forested slopes on canyon left. Ascend slightly in the up-canyon direction, watching for paths in the steep woods. The route may encounter short sections of deadfall or brush, but the route continues uphill and soon gains the Terepocki road. Follow the road uphill and parallel to the up-canyon direction, ultimately gaining the lower shuttle parking.