Mount Doogie Dowler:
A mountains physical appearance often gives rise to local names and there are numerous instances where people in a community will give a mountain a particular name because it resembles a specific object: Pyramid Peak, The Thumb, Rugged Mountain or even Nine Peaks. In the early 1900's the highest mountain on Vancouver Island, the Golden Hinde, was called "The Roosters Comb" because of its resemblance to the comb of a rooster. Although not everyone will agree that these nomenclatures are fitting, the names tend to stick and get passed on by word-of-mouth. On the mainland of Canada just north of West Redonda Island between Bute Inlet and Toba Inlet in Desolation Sound is one such mountain. On a clear day this mountain can be seen while driving north from both the old Island Highway near Oyster Bay south of Campbell River and sections of the new Inland Island Highway as it approaches the Campbell River airport. This mountain has been called at different times either "Dogtooth" or "The Cowboy's Hat" depending on your frame of mind at the time. This is, however, not its official name.
This double summited mountain was officially named Mount Doogie Dowler (2,076m) in May 1984, by Rolf Kellerhals, a resident of Quadra Island. Doogie Dowler was a local of Refuge Cove and Heriot Bay from 1949 to 1983 who, with his wife Pauline, owned and operated the Heriot Bay Store and Post Office for many years. As a memorial to Dowler, Kellerhals named the mountain that could be seen every day from the front porch of the store.
Who and when the first ascent of Mount Doogie Dowler was made is unknown but the mountain made the news in November 2002 when a young Black Creek man, Nathan Travis Smith, died on the slopes of the mountain from a fall after a solo ascent. The reason for the fall is not known but his untimely death only reiterates that solo climbing can be dangerous. Although there are many instances when climbers go out on their own, this form of climbing is venomously attacked by the general public and called irresponsible. We need to acknowledge, however, that as in any dangerous sport there will always be those who take risks and we need to look at their background and experience before generalizing. By looking at the progression of certain sports, including some of those in the high profile Olympic (summer and winter) Games, we see that those who take the risks by performing feats that were once considered impossible ultimately become the champions and in the process up the standards for the future. Mountaineering as a sport has also seen changes due to those who take risks through improved equipment, experience and by having the drive and mental stamina to perform the feats that some might say borders on insanity. Unfortunately, even for the best, unforeseen accidents can and do happen.
However, Mount Doogie Dowler, "The Cowboy's Hat," or "Dogtooth," which ever name you choose to call it by, isn't any more dangerous then any other mountain. As with most mountains, there are easy ways up as well as more challenging routes and the route climbed depends on an individual's skills.
wanting to climb Mount Doogie Dowler it is accessed from Campbell River
(or Heriot Bay on Quadra Island) by boat or floatplane. From the base
of the mountain on the waterfront, logging roads wind part way up the
mountain which helps make the climb a day trip by strong, competent climbers
but on a beautiful summer's evening it is nice to camp high on the mountain
and watch the sunset over Vancouver Island. As darkness descends, the
lights of Campbell River and its inhabitants along the coast begin twinkling
brighter and the setting sun changes from subtle yellows and pinks to
vibrant reds and oranges creating a blaze of colours behind the outline
of the island's mountains.