Yearly Archives: 2012

Hanes Valley 06/10/12

Nicky C. hiking Hanes Valley:
“I couldn’t have wished for a more excited, motivated & friendly bunch who decided to take on this hike with me – particularly good at encouraging those of us who were perhaps getting tired or pushing past our comfort zones.

This was a transit hike, so the seven of us bussed to Lynn Headwaters Park and after a 1 km walk started from the trailhead at 9.30 am. We reached Norvan Falls after almost 2 hours and took a 15 minute detour to see them. More flat walking, two very easy creek crossings (one because of a new bridge the other because at this time of year water levels are low), a bit of easy incline and we arrived at the helicopter pad after 3-1/2 hours on the trail. Then the boulder field… one hour of steady, quite steep uphill scrambling, arriving at Crown Pass earlier than expected. Still having some energy we decide to do Crown Mountain too (after making sure one member of our party who was not comfortable with this had a safe way on to the end of trail, with two lovely gentlemen going the same way) – that took us about 2 hours (return) of very steep rough trail with a bit of scrambling, but the views were amazing! Once back down it was another 1 hour 20 minutes of up then downhill to the top of the Grouse Mountain gondola by sunset at 6.30 pm. Altogether, with breaks, 9 hours on the trail!”

Cheam Peak 23/09/12

Boris on Cheam and Lady Peaks:
“Ida, Kevin, and I hiked the incredible Cheam (2112 m) and Lady (2178 m) Peaks in the Cheam range between Chilliwack and Hope. The weather was sunny and quite warm for late September, especially at this alpine altitude. The Cheam trail was moderately busy, with about a dozen others along the trail to Cheam, although Kevin and I were the only ones going up Lady and only Kevin made it the last ten minutes to the very top of Lady.

After climbing up a logging road in awful condition, the Jeep scraping bottom a few times (cars don’t have sufficient ground clearance to go up here), the actual trail to Cheam was in great condition. On the other hand, the trail up Lady was pretty much non-existent, with a few cairns giving guidance in some portions. Due to the need to scramble up rubble that constantly slides under one’s feet and causes frequent rockfalls, the best path is not consistent over time so additional markings would likely not be suitable in any case. We got a recommendation to go up along the ridge, though that resulted in bushwhacking which we could have avoided. The best route seems to be somewhat further from the ridge and closer to the snow banks. Scrambling and grabbing at heather is unavoidable. Reaching the part of the ridge that is on the order of a 100 m from the peak itself, the route becomes quite exposed as it’s nearly a vertical drop on the other side for most of the 2 km down to the valley floor.

The views from both peaks are absolutely stunning. Here’s a link to a public album on Facebook of the photos I took (excuse the poor cellphone camera quality).

The Lions 16/09/12

Borislav at the Lions:
“Cindy, Keshia, Kevin, Peter, and I hiked the Binkert Lions Trail from Lions Bay. The weather was sunny and quite warm for September, with the only downside being the lack of a breeze. It was fairly busy, and we saw at least a couple dozen others along the trail and perhaps a dozen going up the peak itself.

The trail was in mostly good condition, except for a couple of rockslides in the creek crossing areas, and sometimes inconsistent markers in the wooded section where most of the elevation gain is. I did not go up the West Lion itself, but Keshia and Kevin did and did not mention any issues with the scrambling way up. The fixed rope at the drop just before the peak seems to have been replaced by a much stronger one compared to the one from my previous trip here a couple of years ago.

A number of hikers had taken the Howe Sound Crest trail, and the trip times they gave were comparable to those for the Binkert trail, despite the longer distance, perhaps due to the lower elevation gain. The optimal way to experience the Lions may be to start with Howe Sound Crest and go down Binkert afterwards.”

Nicomen Lake 15/09/12

Steve at Nicomen Lake:
“The Nicomen Lake trail has 2 potential purposes, and a nice hike is not one of them. At 17+ km each way on a featureless trail I can only recommend walking this trail if you are a) really into fishing and want a guaranteed catch of many fish or b) as the exit point for the Heather Trail so that you don’t have to backtrack (instead of hiking 23 km back the way you came you could have left a car at Cayuse Flats).

Were it not for the excellent conversationalists that joined my callout (Jangwon and Darren), this trail would have been even more tedious. The lake itself is nice, and the camping area on its edge – brilliant – but this is no Wedgemount, or even Garibaldi. We did hike to the ridge in the morning which was worth it, but if you were hiking the Heather Trail this is how you would approach your final campsite anyways.

This was a slog as evidenced by 6 sore feet and matching legs. The trail is groomed, Garibaldi style, so at no point is it “steep”, just really really long and uphill the whole way there (leaving was far more enjoyable but still long!).”

Williams Ridge 09/09/12

Steve on Williams Ridge:
“I’ll try any trail in 103 Hikes once. Some more than once, but probably not this one. Although it wasn’t as painfully steep as the book suggests, the payoff was not worth the 1400m climb to the knoll and knee-knackering descent. However, the trip has other assets that made it a worthwhile day out. The forecast had called for rain but it did not. Wild blueberries were abundant. And the cloud did break enough for us to see what views were there, at first I thought all we’d see was grey nothingness. I was also lucky enough to hike with 4 people I’ve had the pleasure of hiking with before over the years (Do, Grace, Kevin, and Robert) and that gave us a chance to catch up and sharing the experience together is always a nice byproduct of these trips. I think MAYBE if you were doing the peak proper, and on a Summer day, and in damn good shape this trail would be worth doing using Matt Gunn’s Scrambles book, but why this particular hike had endured all 6 editions of 103 hikes (yes, back to 1973!), while others more worthy had come and gone, I cannot explain. The only GPS waypoint we needed was the trailhead, nothing beyond that presented a problem.”

Semaphore Lakes 02/09/12

Evgeny on the Semaphore Lakes peaks circuit:
“When I made a call out, Vlad (one of my companions on this adventure) proposed to make an extra detour to bag also Handcar Mountain if the time would allow. So the plan was settled to climb Face Mountain, then proceed along the ridge to Faceless Mountain, then optionally to make a detour to Handcar Mountain, which is a bit on the side and about 1.4 km straight to the southwest of Faceless, and get back to the ridge between Faceless and Caboose Mountains, then continue to Caboose, Tender, and Locomotive Mountains before descending to the lakes and getting back to the car.

Due to the long driving to the place in the early morning, three of us started hiking at 8:13 am and reached Semaphore Lakes at 9:00 am. From the lakes we headed to Face Mountain crossing a creek in the process. Scrambling Face was fun and in the morning it was warm and sunny to provide some spectacular views on the Train Glacier and the Locomotive Mountain. Route finding is rather straight forward if you are following the book description or a guy who’s been there before. 🙂 At 11:45 we’ve gotten to the top of Face and enjoyed a food break with some amazing views of the surrounding area.

The weather deteriorated a bit and as we started scrambling along the ridge towards Faceless Mountain. It became really cold at some point and we had to put jackets on to prevent freezing. We left Faceless summit rather fast and two of us headed to Handcar Mountain and one stayed to rest on the ridge. Me and Vlad went initially over the ridge between Faceless and Handcar. It was a lot of scrambling but, at the end, we had to descent all the way down the valley. It was a scree fest. Vlad was blazing through it and I was lagging behind. Nevertheless, we summitted Handcar. The weather improved and the sun showed up once again. Vlad went ahead to provide Colin, who stayed on the ridge, company while I was catching up. Amazingly phones worked in the area and Colin managed to call me to ask what’s taking us so long.

After I finally ascended to the ridge and joined the group the remaining 3 peaks were easy with small elevation changes. We summitted Locomotive, the last summit of the group, at 6:20 pm. After a short break there we descended back to the lakes trying to use snow for fast boot-skiing and butt-sliding. We’ve got to the lakes right before the sunset. When it became very dark we already were withing 10 min hike from the car.

At 8:45 pm we were back at the parking spot. The hike itself took us about 12 hours 30 minutes from car to car.

A more detailed report and images can be found on Live Trails.

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Haylmore-Melvin Divide 25/08/12

Steve at Haylmore Melvin Divide:
“Never again will I leave my SLR camera at home. After much debate over my car being worthy of the access road, we made it easily to the trailhead and on to one of the most spectacular destinations I’ve hiked in BC. Carollyne, Paul and Laura and I camped at the higher of the twin lakes and the journey there was nothing short of an onslaught of scenic vistas one after the other. The negatives I had heard about were so overblown, it wasn’t funny. No biting bugs and the dreaded “ATV” track hardly looked different than a trail in Manning Park (though we did see one group of ATVers). In fact this was one of those trails where the ATV access is probably what made it so doable (besides at 1800 m their track ends and the awesomeness factor increases tenfold). Add this trip to your list – it easily makes my top 5 of BC (so far). A big thanks to Cara, Chris and John for their road advice and GPS tracks.”

Haylmore-Melvin, Aug 2012

Lindsay Lake 19/08/12

Stacey at Lindsay Lake:
“Alana, Amir, Carl, Colleen, Marjolein, Maya, Natasha, Solal, Stacey, and Torsten hiked up to Lindsay Lake in the hopes of finding great views and topping it off with a swim in Lindsay Lake. The weather did not cooperate but the great company and conversation more than made up for it! The hike starts off with a steep climb for about 90 minutes (with many stops!) before it levels off with gradual ups and downs during the upper loop. We chose to take a right at the junction to walk past several small lakes first and saving the “viewpoints” for the way back. The area around the lakes can be tricky as there are junctions that take you around some of the little lakes – read the signs!! The lakes aren’t large (more like ponds really) so our longcut didn’t add too much time. There is no snow at the top, but there are some slightly muddy patches still. The mosquitos were quite bad, especially around the lakes. The hike took about 7 hours at a moderate pace and several stops.”

Mt Strachan 17/08/12

Stephen H. on Mt Strachan:
“Angela, Catherine, and I headed up to Cypress for a Friday hike of Mount Strachan. We went up the always-super-fun back side gully to the north and south peaks, and descended via the Old Strachan Trail. There were no other hikers on the route. Great views of the Lions and as far as Mount Garibaldi were had from the summit. We paid for them in bug bites.”

Petgill Lake 06/08/12

Steve at Petgill Lake:
“This trip brought me back to the early days of Wanderung. I truly enjoyed the company of my seven companions (interesting in the “good way”) as we hiked up to the this classic “two-payoff” hike. I had forgotten how the trail itself is a great part of this hike as we rose and fell through mossy sparsely-treed areas, but payoff #1 was even more of a hit: the lake. Non-glacial temperatures make this one of the best hike lakes I know (six of us swam). After the lake we went up to the viewpoint and had lunch overlooking Howe Sound. On the way down we came across more people than I recall Petgill ever having, including a guided group! (At Petgill?!) On the way down we hit a viewpoint we missed on the way up (around 1/2 way down), that had yet another great view of the Chief and Squamish from a rarely seen angle.

For those looking for a pace to hit on a warm day – Petgill is it. Tons of tree cover for shade, an awesome lake and a viewpoint where you can dry out.”