Mt Burwell 28/08/11

Peter A. on Mt Burwell:
“Jeremy and I reached the summit of Mt. Burwell via the steep trail from the Lower Seymour Conservation Area. A great day for hiking, playing in snowfields, and taking pictures.

The trail is punishing on the way up: very few breaks from the steep gradient. Fortunately, it’s a pretty trail through the hemlock, Douglas fir, up rock faces and roots, and easy to follow. There is one tricky spot to be aware of that the guide books don’t mention: finding the trail off of the Seymour Valley Lookout (a huge rocky dome/promontory). When you arrive on top of the Lookout (about 1 – 1.5 hours into the hike), there are few cairns/trail markings to guide you onwards. You don’t need them to walk the 3 minutes on the east side of the flat promontory to its northern end for terrific views (Mount Elsay, Mount Seymour, and Seymour Lake to the east and north east, and Coliseum Mountain and Mt. Burwell to the west). However, once you’ve feasted your eyes, rested, and are ready to move onwards – i.e. back down the promontory and down to a col that separates the promontory from Coliseum Mountain – the lack of cairns/trail markings on top can make it difficult to find the trail. There are two choices: the easiest way is to walk back on the west side of the promontory in the direction of the col until you see some cairn and flagging that will lead you to the trail to the col. The second way is to retrace the way you came up, i.e. back down the east side of the promontory and back on the trail for about 5 minutes. At that point, just beyond the edge of a small clearing, on your right (facing downhill), look for flagging on some trees. This is a branch in the trail that you likely didn’t see on your way up. This trail runs west, skirting along the bottom of the promontory and to the col (it meets up with the trail coming down from the west side of the promontory.

The trail along the col and up to the intersection with the Lyn Valley Coliseum trail had spots of deadfall, mud and boulder fields to contend with, but trail markings were always there to be found with a little patience and a keen eye. And when ascending Burwell from the tarn that lies between it and Coliseum, stay to the left even though it looks like your approaching a forested cliff: the trail goes up a cleft in the rocks and is easy.

We ascended Burwell in 4 hours (a good pace), and, including the 19 km round-trip bike ride from the parking lot to the trail head (a lot of uphill pedalling at the end of the day!), we were on the go for 8.5 hours.”

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