Dan on Guanaco Peak:
“Robert K., Candace, Evgeny, Irina, Chris M., Malin and I headed out amongst clouds and showers on Hwy 1 to the Coquihalla. When we arrived at the Zopkios rest area, the sun came out and we were off to tackle a new snowshoe route to Guanaco Peak.
With 30 cm of fresh snow on top of previous spring accumulations, paceline trail-breaking was employed heading up the Zupjok-Zopkios Ridge saddle. We had great fun sliding into the Coldwater Creek basin, then commencing the long slog through ravines and thick forestations to gain the Vicuna-Guanaco col.
Terrain assessments were continuous and we zigzagged to avoid deep powdery slopes (too taxing to go up) and an avalanche runout zone just before the col. It was nearly seven hours into the hike when Irina, Evgeny and Chris Morley summited.
All the peaks around us have the names of South American ungulates (Zupjok, Llama, Alpaca, Vicuna, Guanaco), and are sometimes referred to as the Llamoid Group. The clean, massive granitic slabs glistening in the sun were breathtaking – majestic even. We took many splendid photos; lingered and drank in the dazzling vista all around us; and refuelled for the long journey back. Five hours later, we were back in our car, exhausted but decidedly happy.
You can see my and Irina’s reports and photos on Livetrails.com”
Ahmad on Mt Mercer:
“Our approach was via Foley Creek FSR. It is a logging road but the surface is generally hard with few loose surface sections and postholes. We parked at the intersection of Thurston FSR. Our altitude was 300 m. We discovered later that Thurston FSR was quite drivable for another 3 km especially if the car has high clearance. We also discovered that this FSR goes all the way to the Mercer ridge at 1530 m. The logging road gets less distinct in the last 2 km and it is also open to really nice views to McGuire, Baker, Border, Macfarlane, and Slesse. We opted against bushwhacking and leaving the logging road for the snow conditions and slide risk. It was a hot day and the area had received about 1 m of snow quite recently.
We summitted after about 4:30 hours. The views were excellent. The snow was also king-quality. We stayed for a long while but I had some concerns about the increasing heat and risk of slides so we didn’t stay that long. Total trip took 8:20 hours. I find the peak is underrated and think it is better than the other side of the ridge Elk-Thurston. This trip could be also done with a combination of hiking and biking.
This area seems to be versatile and used by different groups. We met dirt bikers and bear hunters (!) on our way back at lower elevation.
Pictures & GPS track on Live Trails.”
Irina at Joffre Lakes:
“Beautiful winter hike albeit shorter than I expected: took us 1.5 h to get to the upper lake without even trying! Plenty of time to enjoy the views from both sides of the Upper Lake. Saw a group of skiers skinning up towards Tszil; looked temping but we weren’t prepared for travel in the avalanche country. Another group went towards Taylor.
There were several cars in the parking lot when we arrived, and despite abundant snowfall over the past two weeks, the tracks to were deep and well-packed, practically eliminating the need to trail-break. The two lower lakes have started thawing closer to the shore and parts of the trail across the lakes were slushy. With lots of time to spare, we dropped by Nairn Falls on our way back for the view of captivating rock structures eroded by water and finished the day with dinner at the Shady Tree. Thanks to our amazing drivers Cara and Stephen for making this trip happen!
My report with full photo album is on Live Trails.”
Malin at Elfin Lakes:
“The weekend started out with a blizzard, but ended with beautiful sunshine, warm temperatures and magnificent views. Danette, Brandon, Dennis and I left Vancouver early on Saturday morning and headed towards Squamish. The logging road up to the trailhead was in much better condition than three weeks earlier and no chains were needed. There was however lots of snow on the trail. Around lunchtime the sun teased us by letting a bit of light through the heavy clouds, but after lunch in Red Heather Hut the snow was coming down quite heavily and the wind picked up. The hike along Paul Ridge offered no views and we were quite happy to reach the Elfin Lakes shelter in the late afternoon. The shelter was half covered in snow and had to be entered through the balcony door. The first task after having reserved a bunk bed was to dig out the outhouse, which was completely covered. The shelter filled slowly, but by the time we finished supper every bunk bed was filled. The next morning the fog and clouds had all unexpectedly blown away and the Gargoyles and surrounding peaks were clearly visible against a blue sky. This area is so full of surprises and every visit is a new experience. Due to the gloomy hike up the previous day, we took our time and appreciated every minute of our trip back.”