Pooya attempting Mt Elsay:
“We started the early hike from Mount Seymour’s parking lot with some light rain and fog. After ascending for half an hour, we found the trail fully covered by snow, and poor visibility made it harder to follow trail markers. While we weren’t prepared for the mid-July snow cover of up to 1 metre at points, our trekking poles helped us avoid serious injury besides a couple of slide-and-scratches.
Even though the plan was to summit Mount Elsay, we decided to turn around at Mount Seymour and not risk injury or getting lost. Let this cautionary tale remind everyone that we’ve had a tough winter and the trail conditions are still spring-like at high altitudes.”
Chris N. on Mt Seymour:
“Snow was somewhat wet and heavy almost all the way to the first peak. If you stuck to the trail, snowshoes were probably not needed (but you would posthole off trail). Given the amount of snow lower down, I had expected more higher up but it may have been due to wind scour. Around the peak, there was a stiff wind crust and small pockets of wind-deposited powder. Many trees were bending under a load of crusty, icy snow and snowbombs were frequent (and dangerous as they were large and icy). Surprisingly, trail traffic was relatively light for a snowy weekend. Temperatures were warm with a slight inversion – slightly above freezing at the peak and warmer than the city at the parking lot. Visibility was outstanding but flurries moved in while we were on the peak. This became rain as we descended below Brockton Point.”
Rob M. at Elsay Lake:
“Last report was 8 years ago by Tim G. By golly, it’s in our backyard, and backyard is where I dialled this – leaving behind my sleeping bag mattress, bug net, camp stove and tent.
Michael proved that you can purchase carefully vetted, off-brand items online that are quite good. His ultralite 8 peg, single pole, low profile wedge tent with interior bug net and floor was impressive. I went with 8×10 SilTarp and light GoreTex bivy. Tamara was sporting MEC’s first ultralite 2 person tent, the Spark 2, weighing in at about 1.5 kg. Its brilliant colours and transparency effectively make it a night lantern.
The lake hike begins with the ease and familiarity of a hike to Brockton Point on Mount Seymour. Just before the ascent to Pump Peak, the trail suddenly digresses east towards Theta Lake. This is the beginning of a rad series of changing micro terrain. The first half follows a cirque-like feature below Runner Peak – a steep 300-m descent through boulder fields, rockfall and a narrow rock-filled gully. The second half is a more genial 300-m descent some of which is through beautiful arboreal forest some of which reminded me of Miyazaki’s anime forest scenes.
BC Parks has a well maintained hut on the north east shore of the lake. It sleeps about 9 in its loft, is surrounded by well established tenting spots and is out of reach of the shadow cast by Mount Elsay towering 600 m above the lake. The shallow lake itself is stocked with fish and was warm the day we were there.
An awesome and challenging place for chillin’ and fishin’.”
Chris N. on Mt Seymour:
“The weather was exactly as predicted but the snow conditions were better than I had anticipated. We arrived at the Mt Seymour parking area about 10 am and parked across from the tubing area. The temperature was about freezing and we were treated to about 1/2 hour of light ice pellets before the precipitation stopped. There’s about 1 m of snow at the parking area but over 2 m less than 1 km up the trail. The snow below Brockton Point was heavy and sticky but much nicer past this point. Snowshoes would be advised beyond Brockton Point to prevent postholing. Avalanche conditions were listed as moderate below treeline and considerable at treeline. It was quite foggy at Pump Peak with visibility dipping to about 50 m at times and very flat light. After a lunch stop, we continued on to Second Peak following some ski tracks to the base of the gulley (no snowshoers had ventured further than the first peak that day). The ice pellets rolled underfoot and slowed our accent. The sun peeked out on our descent and provided some really nice lighting.”
Bob H. on Mt Seymour:
“What a beautiful late winter day for a hike. On arrival to the parking lot (1,020 m), there were only a handful of cars at 9:00 am and not many other hikers were seen on the way up. Stopped to put on micro-spikes at 2 km into the hike at 1,230 m elevation due to increased hard snow and ice. Arrival at the first peak (1,395 m) was made in 1 hour and had a 15 minute break for photos. The snow was about 1 m thick here. Still not too many people seen. There were amazing views of Vancouver, Indian Arm and the Coast Mountains. Onward and upward to Mt. Seymour Peak. It gets technically more difficult here; although, not for seasoned hikers. Due to a few cm of fresh snow, it was apparent that two hikers were ahead. There is some class 3 scrambling here and some cliff walking, but it was all good. Made it to the summit (1,475 m) 30 minutes after leaving the first peak and lo and behold, there were the two other hikers. After having a conversation and taking more photos we all made the descent together starting at 11:00 am. On the descent, the crowds coming up were insane, especially below the first peak. Also, I couldn’t believe the number of people in runners up there! Anyways, we arrived down at 12:40 pm and was greeted with a very warm car! All in all, it was an absolute amazing day for a hike and the views were amazing. Will definitely go back!”
Stephen H. at Dog Mountain:
“Ganna, Mary, and Quentin joined me for a quick hike to Dog Mountain on Mount Seymour. We visited Dinkey Peak during the hike in, and lunched at our destination with great city views and hungry ravens and whiskey jacks. Significant sections of the trail carried no snow, but we all wore traction devices under our boots. No use for snowshoes here yet.”
Chris M. on Tim Jones Peak:
“We visited Tim Jones Peak on the last day of November. Travel was on snow the entire way but was only a few inches deep. Using the micro-spikes after Brockton was helpful but not essential. After Tim Jones Peak we went for a small wander west and then back to Pump Peak. Other than the banana bread, all other shared food & drink involved chocolate, even the one with Baileys. It was peaceful on the way up but by the time we came down it was quite busy.”
Chris M. on Mt Elsay:
“Rob, Colleen, Pierre-Andre and I made it to the summit of Mount Elsay. We did a clockwise loop that took us through various types of North Shore terrain.
We left the main trail at the low point between Jones Peak and the true summit of Seymour. The footbed was clear as we made our way downhill. After going down some boulders we reached the snowfield below Runner Peak and took our first break. Then it was up to a rolling ridge and over towards the junctions – one goes down to the right and leads to the Elsay Lake trail, the second branches left towards Mount Bishop. We ignored them both and went straight. Straight up that is! The final section isn’t that long but the trail builder doesn’t like switchbacks. The summit provides views in all directions with plenty of spots to relax on. Which we did.
On the return trip we went down over the large boulder field towards the Elsay Lake trail. Wonderful large boulders. The others didn’t enjoy this section as much as I did, sadly. At the bottom was the only running water we saw all day and it was just a trickle. Here we stopped to admire salamanders in a mud pond. Once on the Elsay Lake trail we turned south back towards the parking lot. A Korean Group has put in a lot of effort and really brushed large sections of this trail. Once up past Wes’s Staircase we joined into the regular Seymour weekend parade below Pump Peak. It took us about 9 hours and I highly recommend this hike.”