Monthly Archives: July 2010

Black Tusk 31/07/10

Dan on Black Tusk:
“Technical scrambles should ideally be attempted by experienced hikers; but not if you witness the woefully underequipped throngs that storm Black Tusk every summer. Thinking I would tread a middle ground, I took a mixture of seasoned scramblers & a few adept hikers who are otherwise new to scrambling to try to safely tackle this SWBC landmark.

Saturday morning found 10 joyful Wanderungers hiking up to the subalpine that are Taylor and Black Tusk Meadows – the flowers are now nearing full bloom and the mosquitoes minimal. We made good time, finding ourselves having lunch at the 1805 m mark looking at Garibaldi Lake and the surrounding high peaks at noon. One hour later and we were at Black Tusk base, awaiting our turns to have a go at the chimney.

Putting a lead, a middle, and a sweep in the climbing procession, all ten of us gave it a try in going up the chimney. After waiting out interminable streams of hikers both up- and down- climbing the chimney – and with me trying on the role of `traffic controller’ in the initial portion – the eight of us who cleared the chimney finally completed the 10-minute scramble to the top 1:15 after starting.

With a blue sky panorama at the top, we marvelled at the surrounding cirques, and at Cinder Cone below and other wondrous geological formations & glaciated peaks all around, all the while tirelessly clicking away at our cameras.

After lending assistance to an injured party (kudos to John K. for his advanced first-aid kit and training) we made our way down, mindful that storm clouds had started to move in. At around Black Tusk Junction, the sky emphatically opened up, with big bolts of lightning and thunder and torrential downpours making us sprint down to treeline.

In this well-matched group of blithe and seasoned hikers, a jovial and funtastic time was had by all and we carried the jolly-making to the Shady Tree Pub after. Out of that came an alluring idea for our next Black Tusk adventure: the Helm Creek Meadows approach. Can’t wait!”

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McGillivray Ridge 31/07/10

Chris on McGillivray Ridge:
“Cam, Cara and I spent 4 days on and around McGillivray Ridge on the edge of the Bendor Range with a mix of thunderstorms and smoke haze. Smoke kept the big animals away but we saw many ptarmigan families and marmots and a few pikas. The Hurley is in rough shape (washboarding and exposed rocks) but still 2wd. The East Hurley to Bralorne and the Kingdom Lake FSR are also both 2wd (and in nicer condition). We parked at the start of the McGillivray Pass road and hiked up. The alders at the start of the road are growing in again but it’s still easy to maintain hiking speed. There’s a few blowdowns on the road as well. We left the road for the high trail and found that, once you hit the meadows, the trail is hard to follow due to non-use and I was working off memory most of the time. We camped on the ridge near where the trail crosses over and used melting snow fields for water. There’s still lots of snow as we found on the second day when we continued along the ridge: at one point we encountered an 8-m-high drift. We found and packed out some old garbage including a leg-hold trap embedded in the tundra. We made a try for Whitecap Mt on our third day by following the horse trail down into Connel Creek. This part of the trail is in better shape but still disappears in lush meadows. We passed the Chilcotin Holidays cabin (in poor shape because there’s no door to keep wildlife out). The meadows beyond were the lushest I’ve ever seen – up to our waists in flowers and couldn’t see our feet. There were remnants of the trail heading up a creek to the west of Whitecap but too hard to follow. We ran out of time with 400+m still to go but with the steep part of the climb (40 degree slopes) done. On our last day, we bypassed McGillivray Mt and headed NW along the ridge – much narrower than the eastern half before dropping down, sidehilling around Royal Peak and down the ridge to the Piebiter roads. Most of these roads had been cleared for ATVs perhaps last year but those that aren’t are slide alder hell. Crossing Piebiter Creek (knee-height), we checked out the old Piebiter cabin (sturdy but in need of a good clean-out) before heading down to the car again.”

Manning Park 31/07/10

Michelle on the Skyline and Silverdaisy trails:
“No rest for the wicked! Three early mornings allowed us to maximize the mileage on this 500 something cumulative km trek spanning two provincial parks. Skyline as a cross over hike was a fun and unique experience with 5 hikers from Skagit and 4 hikers from Manning enjoying more sunshine than drizzle (and just a flash of lightning) before meeting up at Mowich for an enjoyable evening together. West of Mowich, Skyline does offer fine views of Ross Lake and the North Cascades. However continual views of Hozameen, endless peaks, valleys and the Lightning Lakes chain, kilometres of wildflower meadows, access to ascend Lone Goat and Snow Camp Mountain (a fine lunch spot enjoyed by both groups) is afforded by Skyline east of Mowich. Both groups also tackled a portion of the Hozameen Ridge trail 900 m west of Mowich (a spectacular ridge walk on a clear day). Reunited in Manning a dip in the river, some grub at the East Gate Diner, some refreshments from the General Store and cards at the Hamptons rejuvenated our band.

Of note – still some water trickling at Mowich, but I was glad I packed in all my water. Bugs (particularly flies) are better than last year in Manning, but were enough of a nuisance (as proved by my swollen eyelid bite). The snow is ALL gone and flower season should hit full bloom in the next few weeks.

The Silverdaisy trail is in fine shape, though easy to get side tracked and wander off in the beautiful meadows up top (pay attention and look sharp for the flagging). Silverdaisy makes you work for it, but the payoff of alpine meadows with a panorama of mountain views made for a very satisfied group. Mental or GPS breadcrumbs are useful for descent from the summit (easy to loose the route you travelled in on with little or no meadow footbed). The through and through hike may have shaved some time but navigation to Cayuse took effort and required GPS (lots of roads, lots of choices, little or no distinguishment on screen between active roads and now tree choked roads). An enjoyable adventure, but best (and more scenic) to just return via Sumallo Grove.

Summary: Nine enthusiastic hikers – check! Two cars + two phenomenally dedicated drivers – check! Two through and through hikes completed- check! Several frosty shakes and slices of pie consumed. Nine content hikers.

PS It’s a small world – 4 out of 8 groups on Skyline knew each other by 0–1 degree of separation, 2 groups of which were fellow Wanderungers.”

Flora Lake 31/07/10

Carolyne at Flora Lake:
“Eight intrepid Wanderungers set off to do the Flora Lake Loop. We were a well matched group and talked for most of the almost 10 hour hike! This hike has diverse vegetation and gorgeous views of surrounding peaks and the Chilliwack Valley. An interesting ascent through hemlock forest gave way to a traverse around an alpine bowl complete with wildflowers and then up over a wide pass. We decided to do a short detour to Flora Peak with 6 of our 8 going to the top for a look around. Then we started to descend to Flora Lake. This was the start of many descents! We kept remarking that it didn’t feel like we’d gained so much elevation, but we had: 1160 m. The trail continued traversing the west slope above the lake, weaving among the Douglas fir. Then came the first of many, many rock slide traverses. I had a moment of inattention, fell… and we ended up with an unplanned break as I got my knee bandaged up. No permanent damage done and on we went eventually descending to Post Creek but not before we could see Greendrop Lake peaking through the trees. At Lindeman Lake two of our crew braved the cold water for short dips. We couldn’t see them go in, but we sure could heard them! After what felt like a pleasant stroll to the other end of the lake, we descended again to the trail head. The trail is well marked and maintained throughout, there’s just one tricky bit at Post Creek – don’t go over the log bridge with signs on it saying ‘Greendrop Lake’ and ‘Trans Canada path’, take the path going to the left. Dinner at the Jolly Miller completed our day with a return to Vancouver about 11pm. Everyone agreed it had been a great day.”

Bowron Lakes 25/07/10

Cam paddling the Bowron Lakes solo:
“An unforeseen situation and my paddle partner for the trip had to back out. Not one to back out of challenge or an adventure I went solo with words of encouragement. I think those words where you’re crazy, nuts or you’re going to get eaten by a bear.

My GPS recorded 130 km round trip and 4 days 6 hours and hardest section was the last dock, ramp going to the campground. Shake my fist in the air at BC parks engineering department!

Forecast was for a sun all week long!! YES! Orientation was a 9 AM then the portage to Kibbee Lake a large group of people 24-26 but only 7 where ready to go. Was first out of the gate and that was the last I saw of the crowds. The next 4.5 days of blazing sunshine 😉 was pure tranquilly. The many warnings about full campgrounds by early evening where never found.”

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The Chief 25/07/10

Keith on the Chief:
“The weather was phenomenal and the company even better. With some shuffling went to the around we ended up with one full car. We found parking (luckily), and set off up the Chief. Forgot how quick it is! We just went to the first peak and it was crowded, but it was clear and warm. I learned from the other people feeding the chipmunks that they do not like dried papaya. You don’t feed bears, why chipmunks? Given the opportunity I think they would attack 🙂 When the crowds leave in October they don’t have that food to depend on. They’re cute, but you do them no favours.

After a great lunch we headed down to the car and proceeded to Cabin Lake. A bit of a grunt up we got to the lake. The water was phenomenal. Clear, “diveable”, warm, sunny, and great company. What else do you need? It was much easier with no crutches or blindfold this time around! As one hiker said, “Every hike should end with a swim!” I agree.”

Needle Peak 24/07/10

Steve on Needle Peak:
“Of the hikes outlined in “103 Hikes” I think Needle Peak broke my Top 10. On a perfect day, I went with 4 well-matched Wanderung companions to a Coquihalla trail I thought was outside of my dayhike driving range and expected to get back late. The drive time really was not that bad because none of it was not highway (no logging road). We had dinner on the road and still made it home by 8 pm. More importantly it was well worth the effort.

Unlike many trails where 90% of the journey is a slog for a 10% payoff, this trail is 30% nice forest, and the other 70% is scenic ridge walking (with a few short scrambles thrown in). Every direction from Needle Peak is photo worthy, and though the “scrambles” did make my sphincter pucker for a few tense moments, they really were not that bad and the exposure was minimal. On this date, no bugs, and no snow except a few small patches. We encountered a large hiking group that included well know Wanderunger Grace, and in the parking lot met with Larry who was doing Yak peak who joined us for dinner at the Wildcat.

The only thing I can compare this hike with is one of my favourites: the Rim Trail at Cathedral Lakes. I give it a solid 2 thumbs up. Add this one to your list of trips this Summer (or even do it now as many other great destination are still under snow).”

Needle Peak, July 2010

Manning Park 24/07/10

Heather in Manning Park:
“Seven enthusiastic people set out on Friday afternoon, bound for a weekend in Manning Park. We all rode up in Chris’s amazing transformer van – everything from hot water to cook stoves to coolers to a bed was in there (although passengers slept in tents.) We camped just east of Manning Park, in a free and beautiful spot on the edge of the Similkameen River. Saturday had one person off fishing for the day, one person solo canoeing, and five of us heading up Skyline trail to Snow Camp mountain, in beautiful sunshine and completely blue skies. We had a few bizarre encounters with zombie-like people that were doing an ultra-marathon (100 km or 100 miles, depending on who you talked to!), including helping one woman down the trail to meet up with her companions. These people had run and walked for 30 hours or so, across the mountains and all night long, and we all agreed that it was pretty sad to see them so zoned out in such a beautiful environment. The vistas opened up to stunning alpine meadows, dramatic drops way down to the lakes, beautiful distant mountains, and an incredible variety of wildflowers. We took a total of 6.5 hours to hike this trail – hot but very rewarding, and the swim in Lightning Lake after was very refreshing. That evening five people drove back to the lake for a full-moon paddle, while two of us slept well! Sunday involved a lazy morning, and then canoeing and swimming in Lightning Lake again – enjoying the refreshing water and relaxing atmosphere. The evening was topped off by a good supper at the Manning Park Pub, and then a drive back to Vancouver in the evening sun. And enjoyable weekend had by all… Thanks to Chris for organizing, driving, and supplying the amazing extra equipment and comfort of the van.”

group on the summit

Lake Lovely Water 17/07/10

Erez at Lake Lovely Water:
“Rob M., Rob D., Jo-Anne, Tia, Ben, Michele and I spent a great weekend in Lake Lovely Water. There are several ways to get across the Squamish River to the trail head. We used Jay Bicknell’s jet boat service and took a 20 minute jet boat ride which was a very nice way to start the hike. Jay also made sure our adrenaline level was sufficiently high for the hike as he made an almost 360 degree turn in place just before reaching the trailhead.

I’ve read a lot about the extreme steepness of the trail and so I was expecting a difficult hike up. I also knew that not too many people hike it, and so I wasn’t sure it would be marked well. In reality, I found the trail to be quite manageable. It is steep in parts, but there are steeper trails. In my opinion, it is similar in difficulty to the trail up to Garibaldi Lake, which is longer, but less steep. It was also marked very well, and had very little deadfall. We took our time, and hiked for about 4 hours to reach the lake.

The lake indeed lives up to its name and reputation of being the Lake Louise of the coast mountains. Near the lake there is an ACC hut which we were not going to use. We peeked in and found the hut to be extremely well equipped with a gas stove, table, kitchen with cupboards, and even mattresses for the bunk beds. The people staying in the hut were nice enough to let us use its boats (canoe, and row-boat). Instead of hiking to the sand spit where we intended to camp, we took the boats, loaded our bags, and spent 10 minutes canoeing and rowing to the campsite. The snow level was pretty much at the elevation of the lake so part of the beach was covered in snow, but it was so hot outside, that it was actually quite refreshing. We set up camp, and planned what to do next. Some of us wanted to chill-out in the camp site and go for a (very chill) swim in the lake, and the rest of us decided to explore the western end of the lake by boat. The lake is even more beautiful when seen from the middle. At the western end, there is a large nice waterfall, and two of us scrambled up it to reach the point know as the “Russian Army Camp” – a very nice alpine bowl at about 1400 m surrounded by steep mountain faces and glaciers. We hiked down, and rowed back to camp.

The next day our group split up again. A few of us woke up at 6 am to climb one of the surrounding Greek giants. Our goal was Mt. Pelops. We pretty much followed the scrambling route described in Matt Gunn’s book ascending from its eastern face. The route consists of climbing steep snow slopes and a bit of rock-climbing near the end. We did not use ropes; two of us had ice axes and one of us had crampons. I had neither, and even though it was not a hard route, I would not try it again without both. It took us about 3.5 hours to reach the summit at 2000 m. We had almost perfect weather and the views were glorious. We lingered for about an hour up there, had lunch, and descended. Our descent was much quicker as we slid down on the snow most of the way. It took us only an 1.5 hours to return to the campsite. The rest of our group who did not join us climbing Pelops woke up later and hiked up to Niobe meadows which is at the beginning of our scrambling route. All in all, this was an excellent trip with excellent company.”

16 tant lake three

Statlu Lake 17/07/10

Michelle at Statlu Lake:
“Too much, the Magic Bus! Awash in a sea of emails, I would have needed to own the Magic Bus to accommodate the overwhelming response to this callout.

This Trek to the Undiscovered Country still took almost 3 hrs going as fast as possible in a well equipped 4×4. This officially 4×4 status road is *possible* for a car to take on (save for the last two short branch roads) at a much slower pace, but you’ll be muttering ‘Come on, come on’ and if you try and get anywhere at any speed your passengers will be shrieking ‘she’ll fly apart!’ as you exclaim ‘(We’ll) fly her apart then!!!!’.

If you disregard the significant driving effort, the hiking effort is minimal for the fine reward of Statlu Lake. Truly an area unlike what we would expect around here. Numerous high falls set in impressive box canyons (easy to see how there have been fatalities peering over edges). Seemed more like Pemberton – aquamarine lake in a rugged blueberry-rimmed bowl and old growth surrounded by gorgeous snow capped peaks. Though perhaps this should not be so surprising as you can drive these roads all the way through to Pemberton, if your 4×4 dares.

Due to time we opted to explore Statlu and the beautiful camp at its far end instead of ascending to the upper lake/viewpoint. Beautiful place to camp and explore. No wonder climbers scramble around this area. Thanks to the gentleman who built the new connector trail and bridges.

Note that the Harrison West FSR is posted as closing @ 25 km for bridge construction for 1 week sometime TBD between Aug 15 and Sept 15 – check the FSR road advisories for updates.”

Statlu Lake, July 2010