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.”