Monthly Archives: August 2009

Mt Seymour 30/08/09

Carollyne on Mt Seymour:
“Four of us had a great day on Mt. Seymour. Few cars were in the parking lot when we arrived at 9:45 and the trail up and peaks were quiet – for Seymour on a sunny weekend. There were a few mosquitoes in the shady spots, but no bugs bothered us elsewhere. Haze, perhaps from wildfires, somewhat obscured the views at the top. There was a distinct, if faint, smell of smoke in the air. On the return, the trail was quite busy with people going up. A highlight was watching a black bear feeding on blueberries about 30 minutes up from the parking lot. The trail took 4.5 hours round trip at a fairly leisurely pace plus a very leisurely lunch. We left a now full parking lot and had drinks and appies on Commercial Drive before heading home. Great company made the day even better.”

Mt Bishop 30/08/09

Peter B. on Mt Bishop:
“Three of us biked for one hour along the nice Seymour Valley Trail, waded through Seymour river, climbed up to Mount Bishop for 3 hours (with a 1h stop at Vicar lakes and 1h on the summit) and down for 2 hours and biked back for another hour. The trail is very steep, quite bushy but well-flagged and there is no shortage of ropes. We all liked the upper parts (the lakes and summit) much more than the first 2 hours through the forest. There were many blueberries and blueberry-loaded bear poo. We also saw a bear from a distance (probably eating blueberries or …).”

Williams Peak 30/08/09

Peter A. on Williams Peak:
“Hurrian, Siegfried, Nikita, Alex, Lana, Carol, Dave, Thomas and I successfully climbed the relentlessly steep Williams Ridge in 30 degree heat, braving wasp stings and enjoying a bounty of huckleberries and blueberries. Approx 1000 m elevation gain straight up: like the Grind, but higher and without steps. After another hour of hiking along the beautiful, rolling forested ridge, we ascended “the first knoll” for lunch, which sits across a rocky basin from Williams Peak. The trail from the parking lot to this point was clearly marked and well-maintained. Beyond were various routes for ascending the peak.

After lunch, six of us set off to summit the classically-shaped summit horn: the heat and blisters took their toll on three of our party. We followed Gunn’s route, beginning by descending steeply a lot of vertical into the large basin below the mountain to avoid cliffs. From there it was a long, hot ascending traverse across a number of boulder fields and ridges to reach the base of “the ramp”. Though steep and dusty, the trail up the ramp was clear and contained few loose rocks, providing easy access up and over the south ridge of the peak. A short traverse dropped us into a large, prominent gully that led straight up to the summit. Take time to note where you enter the gulley so you can easily find your exit and route back to the south ridge on your descent. The gully is very steep, but mostly grassy with lots of foot-holds. Since it was hot and dry, it was just a long grunt up: I wouldn’t want to do this up or down when it’s wet and slippery. It took us 1.5 hours to summit from the first knoll.

Views on top were hazy but spectacular. The Peak is surprisingly broad, although the drop-offs are super steep. On our descent, on top of the south ridge, poised to start our way down the ramp, we found a series of cairns leading off to the right. We followed these, which took us on a gentler descending traverse, keeping us higher above the basin and many (but not all) of the boulder fields. Cairns led us just below the cliffs of the second knoll, until we intersected with our original route directly below the first knoll, but much higher above the basin. Our return to the first knoll via this route took a little over 1 hour.

The long, descent to the parking lot was happily broken up by sessions of berry picking and eating. Round trip time was approx. 9 hours. The hike was physically demanding (no water sources from the ridge onwards), but the scrambling was technically easy. A great group and an outstanding hike.”

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Locomotive and Face Mtns 29/08/09

Tim on Locomotive and Face Mountains:
“Tim and Alex scrambled Locomotive and Face Mountains. The Hurley River Road is rough but very doable in a LC 2WD. The hike to Semaphore Lakes is an easy 60 minutes. Locomotive is a tiring but easy 5 hr scramble. The route described in Matt Gunn’s book is fine. But there is a slight variation (turn left at the upper lake to avoid the snow slope) that is less work and more fun. We ran into the celebrated Mick Range at the trailhead and he suggested this variation. The view from the top is very good. Current haze from wild fires reduces visibility. Face Mountain is a more difficult 7 hour scramble. But the payoff is superior. It is an exciting climb with some challenging terrain. Matt Gunn’s book provides a very good description that, if followed carefully, keeps you out of serious danger. Helmets are essential. The summit is a steep slab with a very scary cliff on the other side. The view from the top is almost unbeatable. In particular the Train Glacier is an amazing expanse of ice with a rather nifty waterfall at the snout. Both peaks are surprisingly snow free at the moment.”

Radium Lake 29/08/09

Steve at Radium Lake:
“I was warned by a number of people that Radium Lake was more of a hop off point to other great destinations like Mt. Webb or MacDonald. It turns out they were right. Although the trail was pleasant, and extremely well marked, given the elevation gain and distance, it seemed to fly by. The lake itself was unimpressive and there were only peek-a-boo views of the surrounding peaks. However it looked like a great spot for a campsite/basecamp, and many varieties of berries were abundant.

The only potential obstacles on this trail was the numerous bridges, one reported to be out. I’ve seen bridges in far worse condition than this one though I could see where the “break” was. In our case, there was no problem crossing the bridge OR just crossing the stream below. I’m unsure why no one has repaired the bridge, it looks like an easy fix.

Good company though, minimal bugs, and this time we avoided that pub and opted for pizza instead afterwards. Next time, I plan for an overnighter at this destination and intend to check our the surrounding peaks.”

Hanes Valley 23/08/09

Andy in Hanes Valley:
“This has been on my to-do list for some time so it was great to collect a group of six and see the valley up close. We began in Lynn Headwaters and ended on Grouse Mountain. Beyond Norvan Falls (where the creek was just a trickle) the forest soon changed from devastated second growth to a much nicer unlogged forest, complete with some fabulous bright orange fungi. Crossing Lynn Creek was easy on the biggest logjam I’ve ever seen. We broke out of the trees at the helipad where we stopped for lunch before making our way up through the boulder field. The sheer cliffs of Goat and Crown Mountain were quite spectacular and the open nature of the boulder field made for rewarding rest stops with views back to Coliseum and Burwell. We contemplated tackling one of the nearby summits, but unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view), the clouds hung around the summits of Goat and Crown mountains which dissuaded us from adding more elevation gain. So up the muck-and-chains bit we went to join the Goat Mountain trail, and were back at the gondola less than an hour later, pausing only to sample a few of the local berries. To our surprise we had no more than a 10-minute wait for the gondola ride down. The trip took 7 hours end to end. A great day out – thanks everyone!”

Hanes Valley, 23 Aug 2009

Mt McGuire 23/08/09

Su-Laine on Mt McGuire:
“New hiking objective for 2010: finish Mount McGuire. We didn’t make it to the top, but the northwest ridge approach that people have been discussing on Clubtread this year is definitely doable as a day hike from Vancouver. It’s a beautiful area.

Getting to the trailhead from King George station in Surrey took an uneventful 2 hours via the Tamihi Creek FSR. There are reports of locked gates and fallen trees on the road, but we didn’t see any. We were in an SUV and the only other vehicle in the parking area was a Delica. Wide trucks might not be able to get past a couple of rocks on the road. The road is better than the one to Cheam, but I doubt 2WD vehicles could make it up there.

In a routefinding error out of the “don’t ask how we managed to screw that one up” department, we climbed the rockslide on the left rather than the right near the beginning of the hike, in spite of the printed instructions we were carrying and some flagging tape. After 45 minutes of some of the toughest scrambling I’ve ever done, we figured out that it was wrong and downclimbed. The rest of the hike was straightforward by comparison, but there were a few scrambles up steep slopes, and we spent quite a bit of time figuring out where the trail and turning points were. The route mostly follows a mountain goat trail, and is very obvious in some places but not others.

I was wearing a helmet, long pants/sleeves, and bicycle gloves and was glad to have all of them, especially gloves because the rocks that you have to scramble over feel like sandpaper.

We reached a meadow in which you descend into a valley before going up to the summit. Views were good from there and we realized that we weren’t going to be able to get anywhere more interesting by our turnaround time, so we relaxed and feasted on wild blueberries before exploring the ridge a bit more and heading back. It was a very fun day, and we’re all more experienced navigators now. I’d be happy to go back.”

Chain Lakes Loop 22/08/09

Susan C. on the Chain Lakes Loop near Mt Baker:
“Border traffic at the Sumas crossing was minimal; and once across, it is straightforward driving to the Baker National Park. We couldn’t have chosen a better day to head down to the Mount Baker area. The temperature stayed in the low 20s, so the hike was cool and comfortable and almost totally bug-free. The trail lived up to its name – it really is a “chain” of lakes. We started at the lower end of the loop near Bagley Lake and by the end of the hike had lost count of the number of lakes. Suffice to say, it was well worth the drive down. We caught various aspects of Mount Baker, many of which were positively stunning. By the time, we neared the upper end at Artist Point, the trail was starting to feel like the Grouse Grind. Getting on from the less popular starting point, we had avoided the crowds for most of the way.

At less than 500 m in elevation, the hike was not especially challenging but was perfect for a bunch of keen photographers not too worried about breaking any records. The loop (11 km) plus a 3.5 km descent on the Wild Goose Trail back to the parking lot at Bagley Lake took just over five hours. This distance does not include our detour down to one of the lakes for very pleasant lunch break.

On the way home, we stopped at the Mount Baker Vineyards for a sampling which cost us each US $5. The wines were mediocre but it was, nevertheless, a pleasant little side trip. And you get to keep your sampling glass as a souvenir! After that, back across the border for burgers at the White Spot. Again, border traffic was light at around 6 pm. All in all, a most enjoyable day with great company.”

Russet Lake 22/08/09

Jennifer exploring the area around Russet Lake:
“Peter, Laura, Sandi, Michael and Jen all got an alpine start to backpack in to Russet Lake for three days. Via the valley we made our way up Cowboy Pass and down to the lake to set up camp. After a second lunch, we headed up Fissile Peak. Fissile was challenging. There were lots of loose crumbly rocks covered with gravel and quite a long stretch requiring good handholds (of which there were none) giving us a run for our money. We did make it to the top, using the first route described in the Scrambles Guide. The group slipped-n-slid back down the way we came, with a few bruises and scrapes (that shale is full of fossils but also quite sharp!) but no major mishaps. I would recommend helmets for sure (easy to knock rocks down, and we had some narrow misses). Day two followed a crystal clear night of stars. Clouds and some sun made our scramble up Whirlwind peak and on to Overlord Mountain more dramatic. Scampering onto the ridge was the only challenging part of Whirlwind which was otherwise a lot of up with spectacular views of Garibaldi and the Tantalus Range. Now that we’ve done it, we would recommend climbing up the middle moraine to get to the ridge. From Whirlwind we took the northern ridge up Refuse Peak to Overlord. The panorama of peaks and ice-fields filled our eyes and took our breath away. With a couple of exposed areas requiring some careful hand and foot moves, the route up was straight-forward. Back the same way over Whirlwind to avoid glacier travel brought us safely (albeit hungry) back to Russet Lake. We woke up frost-covered in the morning but the sun soon warmed us up (it’s toque, long john, and down vest weather already). Third day was a mellow sunny meander over the Musical Bumps to the lovely gondola which whisked us back to our cars. Potluck dinners and lots of laughs made an unbelievable setting that much better – thanks for a great trip!”

Hanes Valley 15/08/09

Michelle in Hanes Valley and on Crown Mountain:
“All this one mustered was a three-some, which turned into a two-some. John and I had an extended but very enjoyable day completing the full circuit of essentially Lynn Headwaters to Norvan Falls, Hanes Valley, Crown, back to Grouse via Little Goat Pass and Goat Mtn trail. From the PACKED Grind parking lot (packed BEFORE 8am!?) we shuttled to Lynn Headwaters, entering a cloud of fog that we hiked through Hanes. Good thing this quiet valley is truly well marked- little decorated cairns wrapped in glowing florescent orange flagging guided us as we hiked literally from marker to marker in pure faith through the mist in the boulder field (though the GPS agreed). Perhaps not being able to see where we were going or back behind us helped our mental disposition as the elevation gain was seemingly painless. Crown was a little more challenging – especially when you do a bunch of extra wet scrambling/searching at the base when you don’t have to (if everything is mist- follow the orange flagging and red/white bulls-eye paint markers CLOSELY by the beginning of the rock base/forest edge, skirting AROUND on a sideways approach for some time. The final scramble up the summit is minimal. But save some gusto for the stiff climb back out of Crown Pass to Little Goat Pass. I wouldn’t want to do any part of this circuit any wetter than we did on account of what nasty business it would be (too slippery!). Uncrowded valley, “mist”-ical pictures, lovely views atop, tram down, ahhhhh.”

08/15/09 :: Hanes Valley/Crown Mtn