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.”
Paul G. at Kennedy Falls:
“A wet day with a little hail thrown in for effect, but a nice hike regardless. Trail conditions this time of year are slightly muddy, but even with our recent rainy weather, no one seemed to have trouble with the stream crossings. There were a few downed trees, but easy to get around. If you are not familiar with the route, keep your eyes on the few markers. It’s easy to get down a dead end when you are deep in conversation. Besides the beautiful big cedar, Kennedy Falls at the end of the trail was spectacular. For a trail that was relatively unknown a few years ago, it was busy with trail runners early on and hikers later. Popularity due in part by the addition of the new parking lot last year.”
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.”
Chris N. exploring the lower Mt Fromme trail network:
“The trail system on Fromme is a true rabbit warren. Even with 2 sets of detailed maps, it often took time to figure out where we were. Besides named trails, there are many minor trails. Signs are infrequent and only on the Baden Powell and Mountain Highway. We started at an unsigned trailhead beneath the power lines at Braemar Road. If you are driving, there is good street parking on the north side of the road here. Otherwise, the 230 bus travels this road. We hiked up Dreamweaver almost as far as the crossing over Mosquito Creek. We then backtracked a bit to Peer Gynt (unsigned) and climbed to the Mountain Highway which we hiked down until we got to Pink Starfish. This is a double-black bike trail but it doesn’t seem to get much traffic these days. We actually lost the trail about halfway down and followed a minor trail down to an old skid road. Going east on the road for a bit, we found Pink Starfish again. We continued east as far as Espresso which we followed to St Mary’s trail. Back along St Mary’s to Boundary and this we followed until we came out at our trailhead again. We found two old cabins on our explorations but both are in the last stages of collapse.”
Chris M. on the Baden-Powell Trail, at night:
“If night-hiking was an Olympic event, then I would nominate the fearless group that joined me Friday evening. Nicole, Nima, Ronja, Tu Loan, Jon & Meghan all sailed through 3 hours of dark North Shore trail wandering; aided by nothing more than headlamps. Oh, and a rainbow-coloured glowing hiking pole. I took a right fork that turned out to be a wrong fork, so we ended up mostly doing an out and back along the Baden-Powell. It was a neat way to end a work week.”
Stephen H. on lower Mount Fromme:
“It was the day of the Wanderung party – you know, the one with a rainfall warning – so we were guaranteed to get a little wet. Still, we had a good turnout, with Renee, Marlis, Svetlana, Shahdin, and John committed to getting outside regardless of the weather. The plan was to hike to Kennedy Falls, but a raging creek soon put that off to another day. We ended up doing a foggy forest loop via four mountain-bike trails and the old Mountain Highway. There was water flowing everywhere. Note for next time: the parking lot at the top of Mountain Highway opens at 9 am.”
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!”
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.”
Ronald W. in Hanes Valley:
“The day started with much anticipation as Jenn, Kevin, Melissa, Pooya and Ronald commenced on the Hanes Valley trail.
After 1 1⁄2 hours from the start at Lynn Headwaters, we reached the major creek crossing. The pile of carefully placed logs allowed for an easy crossing. The trail is well marked through the beautiful forest and the dry conditions made for easy hiking. Over an hour later we arrive at the helicopter pad – the perfect spot for lunch. However, minutes later the sounds of a fast approaching North Shore Rescue chopper cut our lunch short, as volunteers disembarked to search for missing hikers that set out on the Hanes Valley trail a day earlier (note: the hikers were found later that day).
The scramble up the well flagged boulder field was made easier with the shade cover from the surrounding mountains. Ensuring we could see the next flag before continuing made for a safe scramble. As we looked back down Hanes Valley the views were breathtaking. The rest of the trail from Crown Pass to the top of Grouse Mountain was a test of endurance and stamina as it entailed more elevation gain, but on a easy to follow and dry trail. Seven hours from the start we arrived at the top of Grouse Mountain. It was truly a spectacular day filled with engaging conversation, majestic beauty and physical challenges.”
Steve v. at Mystery Lake:
“Looking at the weather report I assumed it was going to be a cooking hot day worthy of an “after work” swim, but it turned out to be a bit cooler with cloud. I had 2 full cars of sign-ups and on game day we opted to hike first to Mystery Peak, then down to the lake. It turned out to be a good move making it a bit longer and by the time we reached the lake some sun had broken through. The added bonus is that Mystery Lake is probably one of the warmest mountain lakes I’ve ever been in (everyone agreed, not just my opinion!): in fact it was quite comfortable. After eating and drying off we walked out as the sun set.
While the nights are still long and warm enough, I highly suggest this trip for a weeknight evening escape. You can shorten the hike part by going directly to the lake from the parking lot and avoiding Mystery Peak.”