Monthly Archives: April 2009

Mt Gardner 26/04/09

Heather on Mt Gardner:
“Nine of us ventured over to Bowen Island climb Mt. Gardner on a gloriously sunny, clear day. We picked a slightly longer route – taking the trails through Crippen Regional Park from the ferry to the trailhead. We did a circular route, on the way up we branched off the main trail to circle around the east & north side of Mt. Gardner, then came back down past the south summit back to the main trail. There are some nice views to the North from a few bluffs, and then a steep section to climb up to the North Summit. We passed a few tiny patches of snow, but almost all trails are now clear. All trails on this hike tend to be confusing, but the group managed to follow this route by combining people’s experience from previous hikes, a trail description from 103 Hikes, and a little back-tracking! The views from the top were beautiful, even though you have to circle around a bunch of radio towers and other structures – and the helicopter landing pads are great for stretching out and soaking up the sun! It was definitely busy up there – probably 40 hikers enjoying this classic early season hike. As always, this hike was also fun for the great company – from a number of first-time Wanderungers, to our ultra-marathon runner just back from Antarctica, we always had some interesting conversation going on!”

Eagle Peak 26/04/09

Erez on Eagle Peak:
“Sadra, Lucy, Dan and I hiked to Eagle peak on a nice sunny Sunday. On the way to the the peak we climbed near Swan falls which unfortunately lacked a good point from which to seem them entirely. The trail was well marked and pretty easy to follow except near the very top where the markers where buried in the snow. At that stage, the peak was visible, though, and we also had some footprints to follow. There was less snow than expected: snow patches started around 800m, and completely covered the ground at ~950m. There was a short section which was a steep and a little icy and required careful attention not to slip. Near the top, the terrain levelled and the snow was deep and soft. Only one of us used snowshoes and mini-crampons. It took as about 5 hours to reach Eagle peak and, a little further on, Triangulation point at 1250 m. We had good views of the surrounding peaks, Indian arm, and Coquitlam Lake and some very nice sun at the top. After seeing that the ridge trail to Lindsay Lake was completely buried in snow and no markers were to be seen, we decided to return the way we came. We just barely made it out of the park before the gate closes at 20:00. All in all, a great hike with great company.”

Mt Seymour 22/04/09

Ahmad on Mt Seymour:
“The snow was hard but unpredictable in some places. There are icy sections in some places and soft ones in others. There are many path ways and the trail is only marked to Brockton Point. If you are new to Seymour or not too familiar with it, it will be hard to find the main route. I was impressed with the two people that I was with. They were new to snowshoeing and also to Seymour but their determination to summit was motivating.”

Mt Gardner 18/04/09

Paul T. on Mt Gardner:
“There is still over a foot of snow at the North Summit of Mount Gardner (the summit with the microwave towers and the view). The group took the north approach to this summit, the Skid Trail, which has some patchy snow still but none of us felt the need to strap on extra traction in the way of Yaktraks or crampons to deal with it. There is a lot of blow-down between the South and North summits and spotting the trail markers can be tricky. Signage also is confusing. While there are a couple of new, large wooden signs for the South Summit (the highest point on the island but viewless because forested), the only sign indicating the North Summit is small, and the handwritten label so faded that it’s almost illegible. We returned by trail that leads from the North Summit down the south side of the mountain. There is more snow on this side, and the going a bit tricky, but extra traction is not required. Lots of blow-down here as well and easy to lose the trail. We took over an hour out for breaks and the round trip (ferry terminal and back) ended up taking 6 1/2 hours.”

Lower Stein Valley 10/04/09

Chris in the Lower Stein Valley:
“Cara, Michele, Norico, Ribeka and I spent 3 days of mixed weather in the Lower Stein valley. Since it’s one of the only early-season overnight destinations within a reasonable drive of Vancouver, it was pretty busy – almost as busy as the May long weekend is traditionally. Teepee camp was packed and both Earl’s and Cable Car had 8-10 tents. We spend two nights at Cable Car and dayhiked to Ponderosa. The trail was snow- and mud- free and there were no blowdowns to speak of. The river was about 4-8 feet below spring levels and river-side snow and ice made water access tricky in places. Nights were cold but above freezing and the days were warm when the sun came out. There’s a dead deer in the river across from Kline’s Cabin so treat your water. We were back at the cars half an hour before the hard rain started and ate Chinese food in Hope while discussing the merits of curry-flavoured bubble bath.”

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Salt Spring Island 10/04/09

Su-Laine cycling on Salt Spring Island:
“Three things to know about this trip: 1) New and stupid ticketing procedures can make it difficult or impossible for foot passengers to make a quick ferry transfer at Swartz Bay, so allow up to two extra hours in each direction. 2) The Easter long weekend is cold and wet for bicycle camping. This is a time of year for bed and breakfast travel, we now think. If you camp in this weather, bring warm clothes and try to persuade some of the superb campfire engineers from this group to join you. Ruckle Park had very few other campers, however one of the neighbouring groups thought their site was some kind of party venue. The noise from these idiots made for some bad nights’ sleep for some of us. 3) Having the chance to hike up Mount Maxwell on a clear spring day makes it all worthwhile. We took about 4.5 hours to do a highly satisfying loop from sea level. No snow, no mud, just hours of views and beautiful forest.”

First campfire of 2009

Mt St Benedict 05/04/09

Ahmad on Mt St Benedict:
“We were lucky to follow a well packed track for about 4/5 of the trail. It saved us a lot of time especially as we started late at noon because of an unexpected car problem. We broke trail the last 1/5 of the way. Avalanche risk was my constant concern because of high temperatures. There was debris from one big avalanche just on the shore of Mckay Lake and two smaller ones along the way. It tooks us 3:30h to summit it. The views on the top exceeded my expectations.”

Joffre Lakes 04/04/09

Cara at Joffre Lakes:
“Chris, Donna and Scott joined me on an early morning trip to Joffre Lakes. The weather was sunny and crisp, above freezing at the lower elevations and at mid day, but below at the top lake. The snow was deep and varied with elevation but thankfully a path was somewhat packed down so we didn’t have to break trail. Snowshoes were definitely needed and the lakes were still crossable, though this won’t last long. Joffre was pretty quiet. A handful of backcountry skiers were in the area, and two snowshoers later in the day. We easily made it to the top lake and enjoyed the stunning panorama before heading back to extricate the car from the parking lot (this required a shovel, chains, and 3 people pushing) then headed to Squamish for a nice dinner to polish off the day.”

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Gambier Island 04/04/09

Steve on Gambier Island:
“5 hikers, 2 ferries, great weather, but too much snow.

Who would have thought that hiking the pass between West Gambier’s two mountains would be so snow laden? I had called a local logger to get a feel for the conditions and felt it was maybe a foot deep at worst, but clearly had only gone ¾ of the way. At the ¾ mark the snow started to get very deep and once we hit the highest point (500 m) and started heading down to the lake the trail turned into a raging riverbed (which resulted in many super-soakers), covered with windfall and surrounded by massive snow banks. We climbed, slid, crawled and slipped, but our progress was slowed such that it wasn’t an option to continue, but since I’ve found we might have been within 1 km of the lake, but that would not have been a fun 1 km.

Regardless, this place has serious potential! Three hikes in one area, and I suspect when the snow clears that Gambier Lake will be much faster that the estimated 6 hours, especially for fit hikers (it’s not challenging, just long). Better yet, I suspect the snow was worse in the pass than on the peak trails. Mt. Killam looks like a must do, and should be open soon and was recently laid out in 103 Hikes 6th ed.”

North Burnaby cycling 04/04/09

Su-Laine cycling on the Trans-Canada Trail in Burnaby:
“Vlad, John, and I loved this ride. Highlights were seeing the snow-covered Lions from under the Second Narrows Bridge, getting lost in Burnaby and ending up on a beach that none of us knew existed, a bald eagle flying over to check us out, and enough hills for a good but not too tiring early-season workout. East Burnaby and Burnaby Mountain gave us plenty of what-were-they-thinking public art and architecture to gawk at. The Portside bike route in east Vancouver and the Trans Canada trail in northwest Burnaby are gorgeous on a clear day.”

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