Chris M. on a loop around Ballantree-Lost Lake-Brother’s Creek:
“Eugene, Chris & Doug joined me for a fun little outing above the British Properties on Sunday. There was discussion beforehand about what footwear aid would be best. Two of us brought snowshoes, one microspikes and one just boots. We started on Ballantree with no snow whatsoever. After we left the trail and passed old mountain bike jump constructions the snow became a nuisance. Thin bridges and layers were broken through very easily. The snowshoers were happier than the other two. Just before joining in with the Brother’s Creek fire road trail we came across a nice grove of old growth trees. Soon after we reached Lost Lake, which was completely fogged in. For the way down we stayed on the west side of Brother’s Creek until we reached the Baden Powell. Then turned east and enjoyed a snow-free walk back to the car. Along the way passing some nice forest sections. Total walking time of around 4 hours.”
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.”
Markus on Hollyburn:
“Lots of snow still up on the hills and it’s packed. You can get away with yak-trax or spikes until you reach the ski area boundry and then you will definitely want snowshoes. The roads were clear as was the view. All in all a beautiful day for being on the mountain.”
Paul G. on the Baden-Powell trail:
“From the MacDonald Creek trail head at Chippendale Road, four of us kept up a quick steady pace as we climbed to the Hollyburn area where we first encountered snow at the lower cabins. By the time we reached the Boy Scout Camp our pace slowed as the trail had 0.5 to 1.0 m snow coverage. The snowpack is still quite firm, however, with minimal postholing. First Lake is still 75% covered. While the snow was gone around the former Cypress Lodge area where we stopped for lunch, the trail in the woods is still covered until just after the Blue Gentian Lake trail intersection. After that, smooth hiking through the Brothers Creek area and down to the Cleveland Dam. It was a great day for a hike!”
Michelle on Mt Strachan:
“Four drivers standing around with no hikers to drive. “No fair weather hikers please” means being prepared to hike rain or shine. Our group of 9 withered down to all the willing drivers, one of which still dutifully showed up to offer people a lift despite no longer being able to go on the hike last second due to unforeseen circumstances. A group of 4 of us took on the BP/Old Strachan Trail. Paul G’s trail report in the Wanderung archives proved to be the ticket to getting us there (indeed, don’t follow Dawn Hanna’s description use Paul’s, thanks Paul!). We decided to stop just short of the final summit approach as we came across a mama bear and cub who decided to go the way we needed to go, in poor visibility conditions (and it was also evident the view was not going to clear in time for lunch – the view would wait to appear until after we were sipping hot bevys in West Van). 😉 All in all, a good time had by those who went. But how many call outs for “drivers needed” this weekend (while 4 drivers were bailed on for this trip)? What a shame. Bailers, think twice about how taking a seat on a trip affects others – on your trip and potentially other people’s.”
Su-Laine on Eagle Bluffs:
“Holy, is the summit of Black Mountain ever a good place for a nap. Six of us were treated to a day of ideal conditions for hiking up the Baden Powell trail from the highway to Eagle Bluffs. No snow, no ice, and minimal mud were encountered. We liked it so much that we continued the 45 minute trip to the top for the aforementioned siesta amongst the mountaintops and Howe Sound views.”
Steve on Unnecessary Mountain:
“I didn’t expect such a good response to a mid-week callout. I went with 4 other well matched hikers to Cypress Bowl where we hiked to St. Mark’s Summit, and then on to the dual summits of Mt. Unnecessary. The trail was well marked and easy to follow with 1 minor exception where we got off trail. The weather was variable but we did not get hit with rain. In fact, it was perfect as it kept us cool on the journey, and though it was socked in when we got near the Lions, just as we were leaving, it broke through and offered some moody photo ops.
I really liked this trail, though it was pretty long and the multiple ascents took its toll on my knees. The blueberry factor was phenomenal, and probably added an hour to our trip. One piece of advice I’d offer it to do this as a one way hike and visit the Lions, then descend the Binkert trail. That may actually shave some time, but more importantly allows you to see more peaks on one trip.”
Dana on the Brothers Creek trail:
“I was pleasantly surprised to get six hikers (including two drivers) on this weekday hike: Stas, John, Kathleen, Chelsey, Constance, and I. The trailhead just off Millstream Road in West Van was full of vehicles, but we passed very few people on our route. The route took us up the Brothers Creek fire road, a long gradual incline (taking in most of the elevation gain) to our first crossing of Brothers Creek. At this point we had hiked only an hour, and decided to continue right instead of left to take in a longer loop, taking us first to the pretty beer-coloured Lost Lake, and then crossing Brothers Creek via stones to Blue Gentian Lake, our lunch stop. On the east side of the lake is a nice lunch spot with picnic table. Heading south and down after lunch, we met up with Crossover Trail, headed east, and again crossed Brothers Creek. Eventually this connected with the fire road and back to our vehicles. Total trip time was spot-on four hours, including lunch, and was just under 10 km with an about 450 m elevation gain in total. I wasn’t crazy about the first hour on the fire road, as it’s full of rocks and stones and pretty wide (as a “road,” not very trail-like, of course) so next time I’d be inclined to turn off onto the Baden-Powell or another intersecting trail to make a different loop. There are a lot of options in the area for routes/loops, which is good to know for future reference. A good outing.”
Steve on the Sunset Trail:
“Seven of us embarked upon what was a much steeper trail than I had anticipated from Sunset Marina. Our group had a very compatible pace so we managed to cut through distance to the 850 m mark quickly despite a significant amount of windfall (but someone with a chainsaw had fixed most). However, at that point we hit snow, but it was not difficult to walk on it in boots. We did, however, lose the trail near the loop at the top and were not 100% sure we made it to the right viewpoint, and at least 1 km of our journey was off-trail but we did manage to pick it up on the way back.
Given the dismal weather report, this turned out to be a good trip, with a great group, but I’d wait until June before trying this trail. And lastly, the famed Sundowner pub is no longer. The former best location in West Van is now the home of a crabby caretaker for the marina that does not welcome you with open arms.”
Steve on Hollyburn:
“I admit it, I picked a really bad meeting spot. West Van has a pretty good bus system for getting people from the city to North Shore meeting spots but the parking lot I could see on Google maps was gone! Plus snow made it hard to just wait by the side of the road in a car. I strongly suggest Park Royal as a West Van meeting spot due to the bus hub, and quick access to the highway.
Thanks to Tim for the avalanche warning posted here: https://www.avalanche.ca/CAC_Bulletin_Regions. I simply would not have guessed the North Shore would have such extreme conditions. We decided to go as far as the signs and see what the rating on the trail was. There, it was rated `moderate’ and we took a heavily treed route, so we pressed on. The snow was blowing quite a bit and there were no views today, but plenty of recipe swapping and shower-curtain tobogganing. As Rich put it, any day on the mountain was better than the best day at work, and this Boxing Day was no exception.”