Category Archives: Scramble

Brandywine Mountain, 30 Sep 2016

Andy G. on Brandywine Mountain:
“Brandywine has quickly become one of my favourite summits. It’s a great mix of easy hiking and more challenging boulder-hopping with some steep terrain and a bit of route-finding thrown in for good measure. And then there are the stunning views. Mountains, glaciers, meadows, lakes… Definitely a hike to save for a sunny day.

The new trail into the meadows still has a muddy spot or two but it’s a massive improvement on the old trail. We were in the upper meadows within an hour or so. Beyond that there is an intermittent trail and cairns for guidance up to the ridge. More cairns point the way up to the higher part of the ridge, although they run out a couple of hundred metres short of the summit, which is where the route-finding comes it as the summit can’t be seen at this point. The summit itself is a small bump on top of a bigger bump, big enough for our group to find (un)comfy rocks to sit on to enjoy lunch.

The road to the upper parking lot is very rough and steep in places: our CR-V struggled in a couple of spots with a full load of 5 hikers. A vehicle with some clearance is a good idea as the bumpy road causes the vehicle to bounce quite a bit. A Subaru Outback made it up OK though. Budget about half an hour for the logging road.

Car-to-car was almost exactly 8 hours (we were leaving the meadows just as the sun set). We finished the day with a quick bite at the Howe Sound Brew Pub before heading home. Thanks to Sarah, Simon, Anna, and Janavie for joining me and making it such a great day out.”

Brandywine Mountain, 30 Sep 2016

Needle Peak, 23 Aug 2016

Danica on Needle Peak:
“It was a hike of many firsts: my first time organizing a callout, taking part in a Wanderung hike, and hiking in the Coquihalla region. Mike and Bobby answered the last minute callout and after a slow start (note to future organizers: King George Station is a terrible meeting spot as there is limited all day parking nearby), we made it to the trailhead. As per other reports, the highway exit is unmarked. After you go through the tunnel, the exit is right before Yak Peak comes into view. Don’t get distracted or you’ll miss it like we did. The trail is well marked through the forest and up to the base of the summit. There are about 3 scrambling sections to reach the summit. The first required awkwardly ducking beneath an overhang. Coming down the guys did some graceful butt-sliding. We found the UBC VOC instructions to be helpful in navigating the scrambles. Overall a great first Wanderung hike!”

Mt Hanover, 21 Aug 2016

Dean C. on Mt Hanover:
“Wanting a day trip for a change, this past weekend saw Remi and I hike up from Lions Bay to Mount Hanover on Aug 21. We left the HSCT before it descended to Brunswick Lake and made our way over mostly open terrain and talus slopes to the famous ‘two gullies’ of Hanover. The Scrambles book says the left gully is easier, however after talking to my intrepid dental hygienist on the scene (a chance encounter with Joanne) who took the left, Remi and I took a deep breath and climbed the right gully, thankful the bottom step had ‘some’ rope and lamenting the final pitch having none. That sealed the deal on descent choice – we weren’t going back down that way. Threatening clouds greeted us on top so we had a quick snack and started down-climbing the five steps in the left gully. Overall they weren’t too bad and we felt we made the right choice in the end. The rain held off and we made it back 8:20 after starting, which was longer than I had hoped, however it’s hard to travel fast on this particular route. 17.6 km and 1,880 m cumulative elevation gain.”


Hanes Valley, 20 Aug 2016

Anna K. in Hanes Valley:
“Hanes Valley is considered a difficult hike, but the three of us were well prepared. We hit the trail at 7:45 am and finished around 6:20 pm, with 2 hour detour to Crown Mountain. Surprisingly, it took us only 6 hours to complete the boulder field. Hiking in the heat is very different. Bring at least 3 litres of water and don’t count on having water in Hanes Valley after the Lynn Creek crossing. I took advice from an article about hiking in the desert and dipped a cotton shirt in the creek and then wore it when we were under the sun. We met a lot of trail runners with small backpacks, which made us question if they are ready for a long hike in the heat. The part towards Grouse Mtn is busier, as you meet hikers from Goat Mtn and Crown, and it gets mostly shaded closer to the gondola. Overall it was a beautiful hike, with fantastic views and a great company. Special thanks to Keith for pointing out the berries and Marc for taking pictures.”

Marc’s review:
“I had a great day hike, one of the most fun hikes I’ve ever been on. The trail is filled with a variety of easy and challenging moments for an all round experience of a day hike, accompanied with the notion of spontaneity. Hiking has the three elements of trail, fitness, and company. The trail is well designed and as you hike through the Lynn Canyon Forest it’s easy to get caught up in the nature surrounding you, without noticing that you are getting higher and higher in the valley, making it for a energizing trip. At moments I found myself still and quite walking through the mountains just enjoying the a point of being in an amazing place, ‘refilling’ my cup for the week ahead, letting go of ‘pretzel’ thoughts and getting a chance for perspective. I was expecting a longer hike from all the reports and feedback I read, but without having to do the whole trail rushing experience we finished it in a good time of 9 hours, including a slight detour to Crown Mountain.

Our organizer, Anna was on the ball, making sure that we had enough water and that we reported any health concerns that we should know about. Being organized and well prepared relaxes the group and gives a sense of safety, to enjoy the experience of the trip. Water is the key ingredient, we were expected to bring 3 litres but I always bring more, I had 5 litres with me and boy was I glad, I drank every last drop. It’s true you can fill up at a couple of creeks on the way but you never know what to expect, so my advice is bring as much as you can and don’t rely too much on the creeks, it will make the trip less restrictive if you want be flexible and include another route here or there, like we did. It was quickly established that Keith was willing to sacrifice his calves if we ran out of food, Anna was planning to peel her hands off the hot boulders and dry ice to relieve the swelling and I was hoping my boot soles would not fall off.

Not knowing what to expect I wanted to prepare to bushwhack in find the route, using the trail map and google, I found the UTP coordinates of some of the markers on the route, but never had to use it. There are moment while hiking that you could find yourself in a little ‘break path’, while looking down, this happened once to use between Hanes Valley Junction and the helipad, so try keep your head up for the next marker. We ended up deciding to bushwhack up the mounting, the trail was less than 20 m from us. I found that the markers were a little old but still good, for this time of year, if it was late, raining or foggy things could have felt a little different. The views are breathtaking and worth every step, there is something that ‘clicks’ when you sitting on top of the mountain and everything lies beneath you at your feel, the heights are glorious and the feeling of tipping into the abyss of space hangs with you in the air. After 5.5 hours of hiking we reached the top of the boulder field in good health and the two of us, Keith and me decided to ascended Crown Mountain. It was a 2 hour detour that we thought was going to be shorter. I’m really glad that we got to do Crown Mountain, it was the hardest part of the hike and I would recommend you do it as the cherry on the top. Coming back felt longer than thought it would be, taking us another 2 hours. Ending the trip at Grouse Mountain was fun, being able to see the bears we were ever aware of and taking in the view from the gondola with a cool drink at hand was a perfect finish. I think doing the hike the in the other direction might be even more fun as you could finish up with a swim in the lake, granted you have a picnic basket filled cool cold drinks. The most dangerous part of the trip was riding back to the Lynn Canyon parking lot, there were moments that I saw my life flash before my eyes, but we made it safe.

There were a lot of trail runners passing us, with very little preparation, hopefully they know the route, but we did bump into a fellow that was doing it for the fist time with no essential gear, fortunately for him it was still very early in the day and there were running creeks not too far. It’s not a hike I would like to take my grandpa on, people need to be in good shape to complete the route. The topic of cramps came up a couple of times and I would suggest that people look into a plan of managing their cramps if they find themselves in this situation, lots of water, protein bars and hydrates are essential, specially if you not in great shape.

I really liked that we had a small company of 3, four would be fine but I find when there are more than four people the whole dynamic changes. Being a smaller group allowed us to give each other more attention and share our conversations with the entire group while walking. Keith in his own right is the joker of the group, he was full of fun and surprises around every corner keeping us on our toes. Anna was always very considerate and entertaining us with all her previous hiking stories, I was more reserved than the others, laughing at all the playful puns and quirks.

I’m really happy that the day went so well, if I could repeat it I would do it in a flash but every trip has is own unique experience and this was one that will be remembered for a very long time.”

Marc’s photos

Fissile, Whirlwind, and Overlord Peaks, 13 Aug 2016

Dean C. on Fissile, Whirlwind, and Overlord Peaks:
“Ella, Q & I went to Russet Lake Aug 13-14 to see the meteor shower and to scramble up Fissile, Whirlwind and Overlord peaks. After reaching the hut, Ella and I slogged up Fissile’s scree treadmill and steep summit ridge, then after a brief summit celebration we slid back down for dinner where no less than 28 tents were now pitched! Popular place for meteor gazing, and we saw two later that evening. On Sunday I quickly solo-ed Whirlwind, Refuse Pinnacle and Overlord in less than 4 hours return, motivated to return, pack up, and meet them at the village; after enduring more Musical Bumps in the heat, we were only 5 minutes apart (though they had time to take the Peak to Peak Gondola for some sightseeing). I was somewhat tired afterward and learned much from my experiment with duct tape on a tiny blister; I turned a mole hill into a mountain. Two day totals: 37 kms and 2,680 m elevation gain over 13.5 hours, and at least 6 unique peaks (with 12 actual summits).”


Mount Price, 13 Aug 2016

Will B. on Mt Price:
“Four of us left Rubble Creek parking lot at about 9 am on Saturday to hike Mount Price. Up to Garibaldi Lake it was teeming, but after leaving the lake we saw a total of four other people. The trail winds through trees and over bouldery bits with occasional lovely views of the lake or the Tantalus mountains on the other side, until you reach the start of the real climb, which was steep, loose and very hot. At this point I was like a big sweaty snail. The views on top were amazing, especially of Mount Garibaldi itself. It took us 11 hours all in. Brilliant hike and a great group of hikers made it even better.”

Table and Garibaldi

Chipmunk and Tenquille Mountains, 6-7 Aug 2016

Chris M. at Chipmunk and Tenquille Mountains:
“Dean and Quirine joined me for an overnighter northwest of Pemberton. From Pemberton you travel West along the Pemberton Valley, cross the river, head up the Hurley and finally on to the Hope Creek Road FSR. This logging road is easy. A 2wd car could make it as far as I could; which is about 2 km from the road end.

There is a faint route through the trees that is well-flagged. Until you cross the creek. After that you have to find your own way but the bushwhacking wasn’t too hard. We reached our camping spot at Opal Lake in about 2 hours.

Saturday afternoon we scrambled up Tenquille Mountain. (Dean also went over and bagged Goat Peak). The weather was perfect. The views were lovely. The flowery sections were blooming. Instead of star-gazing during the night we all stayed in our tents, as we were entertained by the sounds of rolling thunder and intermittent rain.

By the morning the storm had passed and we decided it was nice enough to hike up another mountain. We were standing on the summit of Chipmunk Peak less than 2 hours later. On the way down we passed through many wonderful meadows full of flowers. All different colours of flowers. In one section the flowers were up to hip high!

The bugs didn’t want us to sit down and enjoy them however, so we marched back to camp and packed up. During the hike out we saw two moose. Everyone enjoyed changing into clean clothes once back at the car. Along the road we saw a deer and a bear.

We each had a different delicious burger at Mile One. It was very nice to split the driving duties as the drive from parking spot to Burnaby was 250 km.”

Mt Macfarlane, 1 Aug 2016

Eugene Y. on Mt Macfarlane
“Three of us embarked on a trip to the beautiful alpine lakes at Mt Macfarlane. The trail was in a fairly good condition, although some portions were really steep and required some care. Hiking poles are strongly advised, especially when passing above the first lake. It took us about 4.5 hours to reach Upper Pierce Lake. As some of us felt really tired, we decided not to proceed further and took a long break at the beach. Some of us went to explore the area at the ridge right above the lake in order to catch views of the surrounding mountains: Crossover Peaks, Slesse Mountain, Illusion Peaks, Mt Rexford, etc. There was very little snow in the area, just patches here and there, however, the trail toward the peak has some steep scrambling sections and can be quite slippery.

On the way down we briefly stopped at the first lake and some of us took a swim. It took us about 2 hours to get from Lower Pierce Lake back to the parking lot.

Overall, this was a fairly demanding hike for a day. It would be interesting to revisit the area on an overnight trip in order to appreciate the true beauty of the lake in early morning hours.”

Upper Pierce Lake

Golden Ears, 16 Jul 2016

Eugene Y. on Golden Ears:
“This route has a well-deserved reputation of a most challenging trail in the Lower Mainland. The trip felt much longer than 24 km, as it also involved almost 2 km of cumulative elevation gain (according to our GPS). Traveling at a brisk pace, we made it to the peak in 5.5 hours, however, the return trip took us well over 6 hours, as some parts of the trail were quite slippery. The steep middle portion of the trail was particularly sketchy on the descent; it would definitely benefit from some additional foot steps and permanent chains or ropes.

Panorama Ridge below the shelter was mostly snow-free, however we had to cross a large snow field on the way to the peak. The condition of the snow varied. An overnight hiker told us that it was somewhat icy in the morning hours. However, the snow got softer by midday, even though it would still require some efforts to make foot steps. We had to carefully navigate the snow field in order to avoid the steeper portions. Even though we’ve seen a few groups having made it to the top without crampons, many of us were really happy to wear microspikes.

Trekking poles (or even an ice axe) are really needed on this snow field. In fact, even with snow poles, some of us found it difficult to perform a controlled descent. Using poles for stopping yourself while sliding definitely requires some practice; moreover, poles can easily bend or even break if not held properly, as some of us discovered.

The final scramble to the top was, perhaps, the most enjoyable part of the route. We were lucky to get some really dramatic views through the fog.

Overall, this was quite an epic trip with a wonderful group of people.”

View from Golden Ears peak

Harrison Hut, 6 May 2016

Colleen C. at Harrison Hut/Meager Hot Springs:

“Thanks to our two capable 4WD drivers we made it all the way to the trailhead. There is active logging in this area and the road was being improved in preparation of more. I always feel torn by this. On the one hand it can be hard to see the results of that industry, but on the other hand I use paper products and without these roads I wouldn’t be able to access the mountains that I love to be in.

We made it up to the hut the first day (which we had all to ourselves!) but it was a long slog and just the first of three long days. We went in and out of snow the whole way up. Three made it to the hut without using snowshoes, but two of us put them on after the Barr Creek crossing. The snow will be gone soon which will likely make the crossings more challenging.

The next day we split into two groups. Three summitted Frozen Boot Peak, a steep hike up then a reportedly enjoyable ridgewalk. Fred and I made a loop up to Two Doctors Peak / Mt Andropov with a side goal of seeing the Meager Obelisk. We found it as we were coming down from the summit, tucked in a small cirque. We admired it from the top of the cliffs, then continued over to the col by Pine Peak and back down to the hut. Sometime while we were gone, a bear walked over our tracks near the hut, but we didn’t see one then.

Each group had a walkie talkie so we were able to communicate throughout the day, still we were pleased that everyone got back by the appointed time. We packed up and headed down to the hot springs, getting there just after dark. The hot springs are lovely but popular, at least 30 people were already there. If you choose to visit this site, please not only practice leave no trace but also do your part to maintain the pools – there is no one else to do it for you!

The last day, we hiked out and started the long drive back to Vancouver. A black bear was seen from the trail and another on the logging road driving out. Plus we saw many frogs!

Huge thanks to the UBC Varsity Outdoor Club (VOC). We all paid the hut fee and didn’t use any wood, but that feels insufficient compared to the work involved in maintaining an outhouse, hut and trail. A particular thanks to one of our group who has helped out with one of the work parties. Whenever you clamber over a log with a chainsaw cut in it to make it easier and guide your steps, you’ll appreciate his handiwork!”