Monthly Archives: February 2010

Elk-Thurston 28/02/10

Ben V. on Elk Mountain:
“Four hikers set out at 10:00 in a medium density fog on yet another unseasonably warm winter day. The trail up to the 1200 m mark was clear without a trace of snow. The last portion to the ridge top was spotted with frozen snow in the forest and slushy snow in the open areas. The ridge top was similar, with snow depth gradually increasing as we progressed. We stopped for lunch at 12:45 on an open bump with a large cairn. There we were rewarded with a few views when the clouds broke briefly and revealed the surrounding peaks that had been hidden all day. We went a bit further to the next highest point to enjoy some of the nice deep snow we were finally upon, and then turned back. We faced some very slippery slopes on way down that added a bit of final adventure to our day.”

Elk-Thurston Feb. 28, 2010

Flatiron 28/02/10

Irina on the Flatiron:
“Eric, Ahmad, Chris, Cara, Erez and Tareq joined me for this trip to Flatiron in the Coquihalla. Despite drizzle following us from Vancouver, it turned out to be a wonderful day in the mountains complete with great views and excellent company. No snow tires were needed on the Coquihalla. We put snowshoes on right from the start and initially followed the marked summer trail. The bottom part of the trail is well-packed and would be fine with crampons as well.

First following new and old ski tracks, then breaking trail, we were in the open in under an hour and continued south along the ridge, enjoying occasional breaks in the clouds. Due to above zero temperatures, the snow was quite heavy but not icy. Saw two small avalanches run down the steep NW side of Needle peak and felt happy we were a gully away. Multiple avalanche traces on Needle and Yak peaks. With plenty of time to spare, we often stopped to chat, laugh and indulge in the surrounding views; at the end of the hike my GPS read that we spent 2 h 40 min standing and 4 h 10 min moving.

From the bowl below the final ascent to Flatiron, five of us went around the cornice on the left side, while two took the route on the right along the rocks. Met up at the communications tower for lunch in a sudden complete white-out; didn’t linger for long there, but as we got down to the ridge it cleared up again and became much warmer, so we took our time jumping small cornices and playing snowball fights. Debated for a bit whether we want to scramble part of the way up the Needle Peak ridge or follow the ridge SE, but decided on rather getting home earlier. Got down to the car and anxiously turned the radio on to learn that Canada won the gold medal match. Woo-hoo!

Huge thanks to Cara+Chris and Eric for driving 400 km in a day.”

Point Grey bike/hike 23/02/10

Heather hiking and biking Point Grey:
“Three of us set out for a little mid-week exercise, cycling from Main St. to Kits, then along Spanish Banks to Acadia Beach where we left our bikes. From there it was a relaxed 6 km ramble along the foreshore to Wreck Beach & back, enjoying the views, multi-coloured pebbles, and the natural designs of the sandy cliffs. This is a great accessible hike right here in the city, and at low tide you can continue farther along the foreshore and swing back through Pacific Spirit Park, completing a varied 10 km circular hike. Very enjoyable, especially when you make it back home before the heavy rains start to fall…”

Looking towards North Shore

Little Diamond Head 20/02/10

Rob M. at Little Diamond Head:
“Anyone who’s been to Elfin Lakes knows what a drudge it is vis a vis the Lions slogging road. Thinking of it as half way to Little Diamond Head was different. From the near empty Elfin Lakes Hut we headed high towards the South Columnar Peaks then traversed an easy gradient across the face of the peaks just below their avy runouts yet above the gulley traps. The Gargoyles’ saddle is roughly half-way to Little Diamond Head. From there it was 120 m of whahoooo glissading down the north side of the saddle – but knowing we had to make up for it in spades on the other side.

The views from the north side of the saddle were quite spectacular and I regret having left my camera behind, relying on my cellphone for all the pics. The temperature fell suddenly from banana daiquiri to super sized slushy. The snowpack developed a thick tile surface above the deep moist powder making the ascent arduous with a full pack. Having succumbed to the blue sky white snow syndrome we dug in our camp a little late in the evening at the base of Little Diamond Head. We each had different reasons for a fitful sleep – a gale force micro-system that rocked the Elfin Lakes cabin “all night long” a month ago kept me awake with weather paranoia.

Waking up with Mount Atwell at our doorstep took a while to digest. We ate less than a snack and then quickly summited Little Diamond Head taking in a jaw dropping 360 view. We soon also started up the west ridge of Mount Atwell. Straddling the cornice tops with a few hundred meter drop on either side wasn’t the worst of Atwell – it was knowing that the high temperature was weakening the snowpack under our feet. Next to us were two avy’s flowing down Atwell the size of Park Royal. A tree bomb had set off a size two plus avy off the Columnar peaks covering our earlier tracks. You could never get enough of this eye candy but we did return to our gear – packed up, filled in our camp site – 18 km back to the parking lot. The most difficult part of the hike was finding space in a pub. We caught the last period of the first US vs Canada game at the brewpub with a mixed audience – you know the rest.”

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Mt Harvey 18/02/10

Erez on Mt Harvey:
“After deciding to change the destination from Slollicum Peak to Mt. Harvey, due to higher avalanche risk in Slollicum, Graz, Ben, Scot and I met up at 8:00 and drove to Lions Bay to hike up Mt. Harvey. The trail is well marked, but one needs to take care to find the exit from the logging road to the actual trail which is easily missed. The exit is on the left of the logging road just as the road narrows down and become more overgrown, it has a board on which the word “Harvey” is engraved. Snow started at about 1000 m, but this is only approximate as I didn’t check my altimeter. The snow was pretty hard and icy, crampons would be ideal, snow shoes with a good grip have also worked for me, but were not as comfortable. The snow on the ridge is a little softer but still does not really require snow-shoes. The weather was great and we had some beautiful views of the Lions, Brunswick, Howe Sound, Vancouver, and even Mt. Baker in the distance. It was a good trip with good company.”

Mt. Harvey

Croker Lookout 13/02/10

Su-Laine at Croker Lookout:
“A fine Saturday with good company on the lush green trail to Croker Lookout. Stream crossings made life interesting. Hiking poles were helpful, as were umbrellas. Traffic was a non-issue and the trails were practically empty. Lougheed Mall’s bus loop was a good meeting spot, especially as it was close to the Insadong Korean restaurant where some of us enjoyed a tasty post-hike dinner.”

Indian Arm from Crocker Lookout

Cheakamus Canyon 06/02/10

Michelle in Cheakamus Canyon:
“Green mountains and spandex-clad road cyclists cruising down the Sea to Sky, you know – just your typical winter scenery. The only signs of the impending WINTER Olympics were the Olympic Lane signs starting one block East of Kootenay Loop on Hastings St (FYI – may be a tad trickier than anticipated using this meet spot during the games), sign boards blinking about upcoming road restrictions and the two million metal pole lane dividers hiltied into the asphalt at every single set of curves in the road (basically the whole thing). Traffic was light, but lanes are narrow, and driving wasn’t super speedy. Neither was the hiking – we just ambled along the easy trail happily taking pictures all the while. An enjoyable spring like outing whose only hint of winter was the frosty wind that occasionally blasted through the canyon.”

Mt Seymour 06/02/10

Rob M. on an evening snowshoe to Mt Seymour:
“I had forgotten the appeal of an evening snowshoe where the visual hike is dimmed and conversation comes out suddenly from the dark. Without the big picture wrapping all around us we were kept in the moment of the snow beneath our feet. For the most part the snowpack was hiking boot enabled. With some aggressive and skilled toeing and heeling we made it to the first pump without incident. The view from Brockton Point was a nudge and carrot to carry on to the summit. The final push, while daunting at first, was approached with a spirited energy that paid off with an unlimited view of the city lighting up a low ceiling with a few starts twinkling through the canopy. The Seymour evening really lit up when two Wanderung newbies – Nadia and Shannon – offered up a warming beverage followed by sweet chestnuts and Eugene’s Belgium chocolates. With a soporific warm glow on, we floundered our way back to the parking lot. Trying to find a reasonable pub turned out to be another episode. The Raven’s Head was choc-a-bloc with wrestling fanatics. We caravaned through an industrial area around Arcteryx based on an old email someone read about a pub being in that neighbourhood.

After settling and tucking in we had a lively conversation about… silence.”

Seymour 2

Panorama Ridge 23/01/10

Robert C. on Panorama Ridge:
“Four of us were determined to reach Panorama Peak, a destination that I thought might just be too much for this time of year, especially after seeing Rob’s photos from Garibaldi a few weeks ago. However, with low-moderate avalanche warnings and the prospect of sunny skies, we headed out starting at the trail head at 7:30 am. The road to Rubble Creek parking lot is quite passable with a 4X4 and high clearance. The trail from Rubble Creek to the top of Taylor Meadows was quite easy and typical. A set of ski tracks at about the 8 km mark set us on a fork and diversion to the campground instead of the typical summer route. We managed to break trail through Taylor Meadows with occasional ski tracks. Without markers on the trees it was difficult to find the junction for Black Tusk/Panorama Ridge so we ended up traversing the trail to Black Tusk. However the much steeper terrain provided views that I never saw on the regular summer trail to Panorama Ridge. As a result, we almost did two hikes, one to the ridge of Black Tusk and the other to Panorama Peak. It was a steep descent back to the bowl between Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge but well worth it. Then we started the ascent up to the peak of Panorama. Through the whole trip we experienced deep blue skies to cloud that provided for a variety of great photos. The climb to the peak was the exact opposite of what I expected. I was expecting that we would be waist deep in snow but because it’s so windy up there, it makes it hard packed for the most part. For those that have hiked with me before, you know how much I love this hike. I get goose bumps just thinking about the entire trip. I also thank everyone for taking turns breaking snow and route scouting. This was made possible only because of this teamwork! See you all again. Hopefully our tracks will stay for the next hike :)”

Elfin Lakes 23/01/10

Chris M. at Elfin Lakes:
“Eight snowshoers and a skier left the parking lot before 6 am! The clouds came in but there was still some interesting alpenglow. Enough soft snow to keep us all happy. We went out over the humps of Pauls Ridge then took the regular trail back. Home to Vancouver by 3 pm after a stop at Galileo Coffee in Britannia Beach.”

Early Elfin Jan 24, 09 030