hiking

You are currently browsing articles tagged hiking.

Date: August 27, 2017

Participants: Nancy Zenger, Jeff Wallace, Geoff Zenger

Difficulty: 1

Report:  Hector Ferguson Lake is certainly the most notorious of the 103 hikes, not least because its published roundtrip distance of 28km is a gross misunderestimation by any measure and also because of its crossing of Gold Creek.  Nonetheless, as an aspiring completionist, it was finally time to head to the infamous lake.

I posted a trip on the BCMC schedule and failed to find any takers, but managed to convince Nancy and Jeff to come along with the promise that they would make a 7pm dinner in town.  This seemed overly ambitious given that we weren’t going to be able to have a very early start and I managed to dig up a trip report alleging a 13.5 hour round trip time, but nonetheless decided to take advantage of the opportunity and have a go at the lake.  To my surprise, aside from a couple km of nearly destroyed trail on either side of the Gold Creek crossing, it’s quite a pleasant trip!

I was picked up in the morning just past 7, and this meant that we were able to be parked at the East Canyon lot in Golden Ears Park and on the trail at a few minutes past 8.  We brought our bikes and aside from being a bit grunty in short sections, had no difficulty making good time up the East Canyon trail.  We passed Viewpoint beach and at about 5.75km stashed our bikes in the bush beside the trail, a couple hundred metres past where the trail ceased to be reasonable for biking.  Total biking time was a bit over an hour, perhaps around 1:10-1:15.

From where we hid the bikes in the bush, the trail is in great shape (with minor exceptions) until past the 10km marker.  However, there is a certain point around 10.5km where the trail rapidly deteriorates.  Soon after becoming bushy, the trail is just above the creek and there is some flagging leading down to it as well as flagging leading straight ahead.  We tried following the trail above the creek, but it’s terrible and quickly backtracked and went down to the creek, following it to a sandbar where the river makes a hard turn to hiker’s left.  This is the only point where the route was not obvious.  You’ll see the trail above the creek descending down to you on your right, but continue straight ahead into the bush to find flagging and a continuation of the trail to the crossing over Gold Creek.

This is where the trail is simply destroyed.  It is only a few hundred metres, but trees have fallen over left, right, and centre.  With a bit of creativity though it was possible to stay on top of many of the trees and make our way across the mess, through a few minutes of badly overgrown trail, and pop out onto the beach just 50m downstream of where you need to cross Gold Creek.  Look for the obvious flagging on the far side of the creek.  I crossed the creek on some logs about 50m downstream of the flagging, and Nancy and Jeff simply took off their shoes and waded through the slightly-above-ankle deep water to the far side.  Total time from car to Gold Creek crossing: 2 hours, 15 minutes.

From the far side of Gold Creek, the trail heads through the bush for a few minutes to the easy crossing over Hector Ferguson Creek, and continues through blow down and berry bushes as it starts its ascent towards Hector Ferguson Lake.  At first the trail is in quite bad shape, but after a short while becomes much better.  The trail is extremely well flagged, and while not too quick due to all of the branch dodging and occasional bushy section, was easy enough to follow all the way up to Hector Ferguson Lake.  Total time to lake: 4 hours, 15 minutes.

I was so happy to be there!  At last, Hector Ferguson Lake!  The lake itself isn’t anything special, just any other lake in the mountain, but it’s pleasant enough and we had a good lunch before starting our descent.

Our descent from Hector Ferguson Lake to Gold Creek was as slow as our ascent.  I attributed this to a remarkable drop in our enthusiasm, but after a refreshing foot and leg dip in Gold Creek we felt rejuvenated enough to head back down the East Canyon Trail to the parking lot.  It took us almost an hour and a half back to our bikes, but other than the initial hill climb just past the East/West Canyon trails connector bridge, the trail is entirely downhill to the cars and we made it back to our car at a quarter to 5.  Total time from lake to parking lot: 4 hours, 9 minutes.

In the end, I enjoyed the trip a lot more than I expected I would.  It’s close to town, features a lot of pleasant and varied terrain, and was a rather nice way to spend a hot day near the city.  The bikes helped a lot, and allowed us to do the round trip in less than 9 hours, moving quickly but never racing (speed at getting over small logs a big plus).  The only real problem with the trail is the amount of bush that is encroaching on it.  The good news is that it’s 99% minor bush, and if a couple parties were to do the round trip with shears in their hands, just clipping away as they travelled up and down, the trail would quickly be in pretty good shape again.  If you’re thinking of heading in, maybe bring some with you and help out your fellow hikers!

Note: For comfort, recommended to bring a GPS track of the trail with you.  The GPS track on open street map of the east canyon trail is complete and appeared to be accurate.

Tags: , ,

Date: July 28-31, 2017

Participants: Eira Zenger, Brittany Zenger, Geoff Zenger, Ed Zenger, Leslie Zenger, Peter Zenger, Nancy Zenger, Jeff Wallace

Difficulty: 1-3

Report: Ever since Brittany and I climbed the Matriach-Macabre-Grimface traverse from Wall Creek back in 2013 I had the idea in my head to book a cabin at Cathedral Lakes Lodge for the whole extended family and explore the core part of Cathedral Park.  Earlier this year, Brittany and I finally got our act together and pulled the trigger to organize a 4 day trip into the park.

We all met on the night of the 27th at a Keremeos campground so that we wouldn’t have to drive too far the next morning to meet our 10am ride from Cathedral Lakes base camp up to the lodge compound at Quiniscoe Lake, and after a poor night’s sleep due to the sun waking Eira at 4:45am, we drove down Ashnola Creek road to meet our ride in.  Lucky for us, as we were going to be staying in Tom’s cabin, which is a few minutes walk above the lodge we all got to ride in a comfortable Suburban rather than the dusty Unimog with the other campers that morning.  The ride in takes about an hour and was made enjoyable by our driver, Ernie, and by noon we had all our belongings in the cabin and sat down for lunch.

Now, this is my largely my fault for not doing research beforehand, but I had no idea how nice the cabin was going to be.  We had a 4 bedroom cabin with sheets and sleeping room for 8 people, running hot water, as well as a stove and fridge!  True luxury!

As we ate lunch the valley filled with smoke from a fire burning south of the border in the Paysayten Wilderness, and Peter developed a fever that would stay with him for the next 4 days.  However, I was motivated to make it up all the remaining scrambles in the park and convinced my dad, Nancy, and Jeff to head out with me in the smoke to climb the east ridge of Pyramid Mountain.  This is a fun and easy half-day scramble from Quiniscoe Lake.  There is no exposure on the route and we made it to the summit in roughly 2 hours from the lake.  By the time we reached the summit, the smoke had started to subside, and from the summit we rambled along the ridge to Devil’s Woodpile, and down to the col to the south of Quiniscoe Peak.  From here, Jeff and I decided to take the long way back via Quiniscoe Mountain and Red Mountain while the others descended directly to Quiniscoe Lake.  Total round trip time for Jeff and I was about 4.5 hours.

The following day, all of us except Peter headed up to Lakeview Mountain via the Centennial Trail (note: this is not the route indicated in Gunn’s book.  We used that route for the descent).  The smoke had cleared completely by morning, and although it’s very heavy to carry an 18 month old baby all day, we shared the load around and ascended through wonderful meadows on the long gentle climb to Lakeview Mountain.  All day we could see the thick smoke to our south but it never quite encroached on us or severely diminished our views.  From the summit, everyone except for Nancy, Jeff, and I decided to head back down the way we ascended, but the 3 of us descended the south ridge of Lakeview on a good trail and made a quick jaunt up to the summit of Boxcar mountain.  From here we faced a decision of whether to return to the Lakeview-Boxcar col and follow the trail from there down to Goat Lake, or whether to continue to the south and head up Denture Ridge before descending to Goat Lake.  In the end, the decision was simple to head directly down as the smoke was starting to close in, and I found myself as able to justify not going up Denture Ridge because of how close to its high point I’d been on aforementioned trip to Matriarch.  The descent to Goat Lake was quick, and we caught up to the rest of the group not far past the Goat Lake – Centennial Trail junction, at which point I resumed my baby carrying duties.

On the Sunday, Peter was feeling well enough in the morning to join us for the beginning of our hike.  The goal was to make a circle, heading to Glacier Lake, then to Stone City, Smokey the Bear, the Giant Cleft, and then down via the Ladyslipper Lake trail and back to the cabin.  Peter and Leslie only made it as far as Glacier Lake before returning to the cabin on account of illness, but the rest of us continued upwards and made the full loop as described.  Smokey the Bear was worth checking out, but I wouldn’t really recommend people go check out the Giant Cleft.  It’s a neat formation, but if you’ve spent time in the mountains you’ve seen similar features before and visiting it requires significant elevation loss from Smokey the Bear.  In all, the loop took us nearly 7 hours.

For our final day, a few of us hiked around the lakes near the cabin, and spent the midday rowing boats around Quiniscoe Lake, although both my mom and dad chose to hike the Diamond Loop trail, which apparently has the best flower meadows of any trail in the core park.  After this, we packed up and caught our scheduled ride back down to our cars.  On the way out we stopped as usual at Benji Thai in Keremeos, and then had a terribly long drive home because a logging truck had dumped logs all over highway 3 near Manning Park and we were detoured from Princeton to Merritt in order to drive the Coquihalla to get back home to the Lower Mainland.  Oh well.

In all, this was a terrific trip, and I am very grateful that my whole family was able to join our experience.  The cabin exceeded all my expectations and the staff of the lodge were friendly and very helpful.  Highly recommended for everyone!

Tags: , ,

Date: July 24, 2017

Participants: Ed Zenger, Geoff Zenger

Difficulty: 2

Report: Mt. Lindeman is the tallest peak immediately west of Chilliwack Lake, taller than Mt. Webb and Macdonald Peak, and until recently access involved either a long “class 5” bushwack up to Hanging Lake from the south end of Chilliwack Lake or a nearly 3000m day to go via Radium Lake and head up and over Macdonald Peak.  Lucky for us mortals, Harry and the Chilliwack Outdoors Club built a wonderful new trail to Mt. Lindeman last year!

The crux of the trip was finding the right place to park.  This isn’t because it’s not obvious, but rather that the directions to the trailhead that I found online and was following were simply wrong, and we wasted half an hour in the morning dinging up my car and exploring the wrong logging roads.  However, finding the trailhead is in fact easy.  Turn off the Chilliwack Lake Road at the signed turnoff for the Slesse Memorial Trail and cross the two small bridges over the Chilliwack River.  Reset your odometer as your turn off of Chilliwack Lake Road, and once over the bridges, turn left at the first junction (right heads up Nesakwatch Creek to the Slesse Memorial Trail trailhead).  The road parallels the river for close to 5km before turning right and heading up Centre Creek.  While driving up Centre Creek FSR, follow the most travelled road, staying low in the valley (i.e. to the right) and avoiding all roads turning off to the left.  Park at 10.2km from Chilliwack Lake Road, at a fork in the road.  At this point the east ridge of Rexford will be looming large above you.  The right hand fork is overgrown and not drivable, and this is the road you will be hiking up to start your hike.   The road to the left is the wrong way, and after switching back, goes up past many large waterbars to a recent clearcut.  Do not drive up this road.  Note that the road to the trailhead is in good shape, with only some minor ditches and could be reached in any 4wd vehicle, such as any little Subaru.

The first few kilometres of the route to Mt. Lindeman follow the overgrown road (the right-hand fork from the 10.2km parking) as it gently ascends beside Centre Creek until about 40 minutes later it reaches the creek coming down from the valley below Mt. Lindeman.  At this point you make a hard turn to the left, going past a metal sign reading “Mt. Lindeman trail”, and proceed to hike straight up the mountain for a few hundred metres.  This trail is well flagged and in great shape, and after easing up a bit, heads into the valley to the northwest of Mt. Lindeman, reaching some meadows.  We had started hiking just past 9:30am, and reached the meadows at around 11:10.  At the far end of the meadow the trail disappears when it reaches some large boulders, and we made the mistake of bushwacking through the boggy meadow to our left.  As we learned later, it is better to simply go through the large boulders en route to the main boulder gully that can be seen ahead.

Here we took a break and began our route up the main boulder gully (the right hand one) at around 11:30, and reached the main valley above about 40 minutes later.  From here the route is obvious to the col between the ascent valley and Upper Hanging Lake, which we reached just before 1 pm and here we sat down to eat lunch.  From this point, the goal is to make an ascending traverse across the basin to the steep grassy slopes heading up towards the summit.  We shortcutted across the snow to hit the grass and boulders on the far side of the basin, and while the slopes on the other side are steep, it is no problem to ascend them without getting into any 3rd class terrain.  The summit was reached at a bit past 2:15pm, for a total ascent time of a bit over 4.5 hours.

Mt. Lindeman might have the best views of any mountain near Vancouver.  From the summit there are clear views of Rexford, Slesse, Baker, Shuksan, Williams, Bear, Redoubt, the whole Cheam range, as well as the Pickets, Silvertip group, and usual peaks north of the Fraser Valley.

We hung out on the peak for quite a while to take it all in, and finally departed at around 3.  The descent was made very quick by glissading down snowslopes in the upper basins, followed by the excellent trail down to the valley.  The final few km down the overgrown road back to the car were sloggy and annoying, but nonetheless we made it to the car at 5:40pm, for a total descent time of a bit over 2.5 hours and a round trip time of 8 hours.  Note that we were moving pretty quick due to the late start and I would recommend allowing more than 8 hours for most parties.

I highly recommend Mt. Lindeman.  With the trail in its current shape it belongs in the list of top 10 SW BC hikes.  A must do!

Tags: , ,

Date: July 8, 2017

Participants: Brittany Zenger, Geoff Zenger

Difficulty: 2

Report: Brittany, Eira, and I arrived home a day earlier than expected from Hornby Island, and with great looking weather coming the following day, we decided to have a go at Deeks peak.  I had a failed attempt of Deeks on skis back in December and I was eager for the opportunity to deal with unfinished business.

Much like last year when heading to Mt. Hanover, we drove up the Deeks road for ~3.2km to just before the final steep rise on the road and parked here so as to not destroy the XTerra on the final stretch of road.  The road seemed to be in even worse shape than last year and it’s getting to the point where I might just give in and park by the highway the next time I head up towards Deeks Lake.

We left the car at 8:25 and started our march up towards Deeks.  About half an hour up the Deeks lake trail there is a marker on a tree pointing towards the “Bypass trail”, and this is the route we chose for our ascent.  The “bypass trail” (aka “Deeks direct”, aka “Deeks W Ridge direct”) is the most direct trail up to the summit of Deeks but is in need of some love and care.  There are a few places on the trail where we were left hunting around wondering where the next ribbon was, but for the most part it is obvious enough to follow.  The only point with real confusion was where the trail popped out onto a boulder field and it wasn’t obvious that the trail continued to directly up and to the right without ever crossing the boulders.  That said, with a bit of work, I could see this trail becoming very popular as it really is a fantastic route.

As the trail nears treeline it became increasingly steep, overgrown and buggy, but by noon we were clear from the trees, and although we lost the trail markers we headed up straight for the summit without any difficulties, and were on top by 12:45.  The air was clear and the views were great, so we stopped for a lunch and to ponder our way down, eventually deciding to descend towards the Deeks-Windsor col to find the regular trail down to Deeks Lake.

We started our descent at 1:30 and quickly discovered that the route down the east side of Deeks (towards the Deeks-Windsor) col is steep, not travelled very often, and hard to follow with occasional snow patches obscuring the footbed.  Nonetheless, we managed to follow the route all the way to the final bump above the col, where we lost it.  Unfortunately we turned off the ridge too early and instead of going up and over the final minor bump we turned to our right and worked our way down a very steep, unpleasant, and precarious bushy slope until we found the flagging from the proper trail from Deeks joining us from the left.  From here it was just a couple minutes walk to meet the main trail heading up to Windsor.  Unlike the Deeks trail, this trail was in fine condition and we were able to make our way down to Deeks Lake, where we arrived at 3:45 and stopped for our final snack of the day.

From Deeks Lake it was the familiar old slog down to the car, which we reached at 5:15 for a total round trip time of just under 9 hours.  As it stands now, I wouldn’t recommend Deeks over the other peaks in the area like Brunswick or Harvey, but with a bit of work on the bypass trail, Deeks could once again be a north shore classic.

 

 

Tags: , ,

Date: July 1, 2016

Participants: Steve White, Geoff Zenger

Difficulty: 2 (hands needed for a few short steps, easy snow)

Report: A promising forecast for Canada Day led me to post a trip on the BCMC schedule and look for some company to join me on an excursion up Capilano Mountain.  I lucked out and Steve volunteered to join me, but we both ran out of luck when the forecast turned out to be dead wrong and we spent most of the day in the rain and fog.

The gate at the bottom of Phyllis Creek road is permanently locked, and so we parked in the pullout right below the gate at the edge of Furry Creek golf course, and by 8:10 we had our bikes good to go and started up towards Capilano Mountain.  The road was easier than I remembered driving years ago, and we only had to push the bikes up two short hills en route to the turnoff to Downing Creek road, which would take us to the Beth Lake trailhead.  Route notes: on Phyllis Creek road, take a right at the first fork and always follow the most well used path up to the turnoff, which is just before the 4km marker, not just past as Matt Gunn’s guidebook indicates.

About 100m after turning on to Downing Creek road, we crossed Phyllis Creek, and the road began to deteriorate as the alder encroached on the path.  A few hundred metres later we started to encounter lots of small windfall, and about 500m from the turnoff we gave up on the bikes and left them in a ditch.  This proved to be wise as the road became increasingly overgrown from this point and bikes wouldn’t have helped at on all the descent beyond this point.  As a result, we had to travel the remaining 2.5km to the old Beth Lake trailhead on foot.

The first 0.5-1km of the trail up to Beth Lake is badly overgrown with a variety of bushes, including devils club and plenty of blueberries.  Making matters worse, the skies had opened and by the time we reached the older growth above we were thoroughly soaked.  We persevered nonetheless.  At this time the trail is easy enough to follow, although it won’t be too many years until the trail becomes a challenge to hike unless someone heads up and clears the trail up to the old growth.

We reached Beth Lake at around 11:00, and as we stopped for a quick snack and drink, the clouds descended and we had our first experience with the fog that would engulf us until we reached our bikes again later in the day.  From the lake, the trail is a bit of a mess for the first 10 minutes as it traverses onto the ridge to the west of the lake, but soon improves and until we reached snow at around 1300m it was in good shape.

Above treeline the route is fairly well marked with cairns and we had little difficulty following it until near the col west of the summit (south of Gordon lake), but as the fog became even more dense, we had to check a GPS route a couple times to determine the right way to proceed.  The summit block itself was quite easy to ascend, mostly on snow except for a steep step near the summit where we moved onto the rocks and heather to the side of the gully.  We reached the summit at about 1:50 and were treated to glorious views of fog and more fog.

In the fog we started down the summit in the wrong direction, but noticed our mistake quickly and found our tracks in the snow to follow back down.  The descent down to the bikes was aided greatly by the snow and we were back down at the lake in what seemed like no time.  From the lake down to the bikes was an annoying combination of bush and logging road walking, but once we reached the bikes, all was better.  There are few experiences in life I enjoy better than coasting down a logging road on a bike at the end of a long hike, revelling in the thought that some poor souls have had to suffer the long logging road descent on foot.  The bike descent was fast and fun, and soon enough we were back at our vehicle, just in time to witness the skies begin to clear.

Thank you very much Steve for joining me on this adventure.  There were no views, and the conditions weren’t great, but at least Capilano mountain has been bagged at last.

Total ascent time: 5 hours, 40 minutes.  Total descent time: approx. 3 hours.

 

Tags: , , ,

Date: April 26, 2015

Participants: Brittany Zenger, Geoff Zenger

Difficulty: 1

Report: Silverdaisy attempt #2!  We tried skiing Silverdaisy just after new years a few years ago but it had snowed heavily in the few days before our trip and we ran out of time after slogging up the old mining/logging road from Cayuse Flats.  This time we’d be much more successful ascending from the other side

We arrived at the Sumallo Grove parking lot at about 9am and 10 minutes later were on our way.  We were a bit worried about recent snowfall and whether the trail through the forest would be followable, but it turns out that the trail is well defined (generally on an old double-track path) and well marked and we had no problems following it even once we encountered deep snow at about 1400m.  The trail is a starting to get quick a bit of deadfall on it, especially lower down so if anyone wants to organize a trail clearing day this fall and is wondering where to go, keep the Silverdaisy trail in mind.

Leaving the car at 9:10, it was a bit under 20 minutes to the Silverdaisy trail turnoff.  The trail switchbacks steeply up the side of the mountain before easing off slightly as it heads into the long valley splitting Silverdaisy and Hatchethead.  It wasn’t long after entering the valley that we first encountered snow, at first a little and soon a lot.  There were a few places we had to look around to find the flagging early on, but the trail quickly reaches an old road, at which point it’s obvious where to go to ascent to the col between Silverdaisy and Claimstake mountain.  About 200m below the col the snow became extremely mushy and we put on snowshoes to ease the ascent.  Looking over at Claimstake/Hatchethead on the ascent, it looks like in the winter there could be some really nice ski lines available.

Total time to the col: 4 hours.  From the col it’s an easy broad ridge ascent through sub-alpine terrain to the summit and we had a great day for it.  Light overcast, cool, completely clear views.  Ascending the ridge took nearly exactly an hour, and at about a quarter past 2 we were on the summit, gazing at the views of Hozameen, Silvertip, Frosty, Brice and Outram.  Brice in particular looked like it’d have some fantastic winter ice lines on it for the hardcore crowd.

We didn’t linger long on the summit because the wind picked up, and headed off down the snow.  Descending the snow was no problem at all and very fast.  The trail out was a real slog once the snow ended, but easy enough, and we made it back to the parking lot right at 6 o’clock, for a total round trip time of just a bit under 9 hours.  I probably wouldn’t spend a summer day on this hike when there are more exciting ones to do, but for an early season ascent, this was a great trip!

P.S. I found out that on the same day we did Silverdaisy, another party took the same trail up but cut off of it to do a traverse of Hatchethead and Claimstake mountains, descending to the Silverdaisy-Claimstake col, and then back down to the cars… an idea for next year?

 

 

Tags: , , ,

Date: May 2, 2015

Participants: Devin Erickson, Brittany Zenger, Geoff Zenger

Difficulty: 1/2

Report: Metal Dome is a popular mountain so I don’t need to say too much.  We started out from the cars at around 9:30, parking right next to the snowmobile cabin up Brandywine FSR.  Hit snow about 5 minutes up the snowmobile access cut from there, and proceeded easily on snow to the summit.  Amazing views, great day.  Total round trip at a very relaxed pace with lots of time on the summit of only about 5 hours.  Great trip for beginners!

Tags: , , ,

Date: May 9, 2015

Participants: Ed Zenger, Geoff Zenger

Difficulty: 3 (some scrambling, steep bush)

Report: For a few years now I’ve had the idea that I want to knock off all of the north shore peaks listed in Fairley’s guidebook, and one of the closest set of peaks to Vancouver that I hadn’t previously ascended were the Needles, the 3 summits on Lynn ridge lying between Lynn peak and Coliseum mountain.  The needles are visible from much of the lower mainland, and don’t look like much, but a traverse of the Needles and Lynn ridge makes for a full day adventure, only minutes from the city.

Note: If you’re wanting to just go and bag the highest Needle (the middle), by FAR the most efficient route would be to bike up the Seymour river and take the Hydraulic Creek trail up to the South Needle and then scramble over to the Middle Needle (many people will want a rope to descend the South to the Middle needle col) and then reverse the route after bagging the summit.  We didn’t do this because a traverse just sounds more exciting!

We set out from the regular Lynn Headwaters park trailhead at 8:30 towards Norvan falls, which was the usual trudge taking a bit under an hour and a half, and from there went up the Coliseum trail.  I’ve only gone up Coliseum from the other side before so it was interesting to see that the Norvan side isn’t really that much less steep for the first bit, although it does fairly quickly (after about 30 minutes) level off as it starts traversing into the broad bowl between Coliseum and the Needles.

At approximately 800m (or perhaps just below), just under an hour after starting up from Norvan falls, the trail enters the bottom a large open slope, just to the north of the North Needle, with a steep narrow gully visible in the top right corner of the bowl above.  The ridge from the north needle to where the ridge hits the Coliseum trail is reportedly simply awful, and so rather than do the full ridge, we bushwhacked up this bowl towards the gully on the upper right (generally able to stay on boulders but some bush), and approximately 100m to the left of the upper right gully found an easy dirt slope that led up to the ridge.  On this slope we hit our first flagging tape of the day.

Note: If you’re doing the traverse in the other direction, at the first minor col north of the north needle, look for occasional flagging tape heading down to your left towards the Norvan trail.  It is probably hard to follow as it’s a little spaced, but this is your best option to get off the ridge.

The ridge up to the north needle was bushy, but otherwise no problem, and we were quickly on top, approximately 4 hours from starting at the car.  The views were great and we had a quick bite to eat before descending the ridge and going up the middle needle.  There’s a small amount of bushy, minor exposed scrambling heading up to the middle needle, but nothing bad, and on top we had our main lunch for the day.  Right on the flat summits of these two needles was the only snow of the day, just a few inches of mush.

Descending the middle needle you lose a lot of elevation into the steep col between it and the south needle, and here you encounter the only real difficulty of the day, a choice between some extremely steep bush on the right or a short (10m) 3rd class slab that was wet.  Going up was no problem, but I would imagine that many people would want a hand line or rappel to get down if doing the traverse the other way.

From the south needle onwards there’s a well defined trail, presumably to the popularity of the Hydraulic Creek trail build approximately 10 years ago.  We, however, did not take that trail as our car was down at the Lynn Headwaters parking lot, and continued past the Hydraulic Creek trail junction along the ridge.  This part of the ridge is full of ups and downs and is boring, boring, boring until the Lynn peak viewpoint, after which it is all downhill on a tedious old rocky skid track.

I wouldn’t do the traverse again unless someone built a proper trail due to the bushiness in places, but it was a very full day with lots of adventure and aside from the last couple hours of the trip was actually a lot of fun.  Total time required: 9.5 hours, total distance just under 19.6km, and total elevation gain slightly over 1900m!

Last word: Should I do the traverse N -> S or S -> N?  I would highly recommend doing the traverse N -> S instead of the other way around because from below it’s easy to see how to shortcut onto the ridge at the right place (so fewer route finding difficulties), the 2 scrambling steps are done going up instead of descending them, and because the toughest parts of the day are done early on when you’re fresh instead of at the end of the day.

GPS Track: Link to KMZ

Needles route

Tags: , , ,

Mt. Baird

Date: March 8, 2015

Participants: Dylan, Martin, Brittany Zenger, Ed Zenger, Geoff Zenger

Difficulty: 2

Report: A trip report on clubtread of a visit to Mt. Baird in the waning days of February spurred my interest to visit this rarely climbed peak near Hope.  The previous weekend I’d been exploring the roads on the east side of Harrison Lake (long story short, the road to Nahatlatch is washed out just 4km from Nahatlatch) and had tried to approach the Old Settler from the east, but no luck.  This weekend I’d be able to climb Mt. Baird and get good views of the Old Settler from the south east.  The forecast was looking good and a last minute trip posting on the BCMC website managed to fill up my Jeep for the excursion.

We met up at Columbia Station in New West at 7:30 and made our way out to Hope.  The access to Mt. Baird is easy right now via Nickelmine Road which if you follow it is well maintained for by both a local offroad association and for active logging and leads into Emory Creek.   We parked right next to the turn off for spur 3569 (just a bit past the 11 km marker), walked up the short spur, and then ducked into the trees.  We found ourselves on the left side of a creek, and made our way up the left side of the creek through open easy forest all the way up to treeline.  This appears to be the ideal route up the mountain.

We hit snow around 1200m, and by 1400m were on a long ridge heading up towards the summit.  At about 1400m there are some bluffs and we chose to head around them to the left, which we did and followed some snow filled gullies up towards the obvious broad snowslope leading up towards the left of the main summit.  It was a reasonable route, but on the way down we came down the other side (climber’s right) and found it to be even easier going and more straightforward.  The snow leading up to the summit was very pleasant and enjoyable, and at a quarter to 1, less than 4 hours after leaving the cars, we found ourselves on the small rocky summit of Mt. Baird.

The views from the top of the Old Settler were grand as expected, but what was unexpected was the fantastic views of so much more.  From the summit there are great views of the Anderson River group, Needle Peak, Cheam Range, Judge Howay area, Baker area, and even the Outram and Silvertip regions of Manning Park!

We spent a good long time on the summit in the unseasonably warm temperatures before eventually making our way back down to the car.  The descent on the snow was fast and descent through the trees was easy and quick as well, and we made the descent in well under 2 hours.

Thank you to everyone for the great company and great trip.  You need a low snow year like this year, but if you’re able to drive to at least 800m on the logging road, Mt. Baird makes for a great early season or winter trip!

Tags: , , , ,

Date: Oct 21, 2014

Participants: Geoff Zenger, Peter Woodsworth

Difficulty: 1/2 (if on route), 2/3 (route taken)

Report: This report contains the story of the first BCMC expedition to Turtlehead Mountain, Nevada.  After a few training days climbing routes in Red Rocks such as Cat in the Hat (all the way to the top of Mescalito), Geronimo, and Physical Graffiti, Peter and I left the rest of our party down in the valley and ventured forth on an unguided, unassisted, siege-style expedition to conquer Turtlehead Mountain.  No fixed ropes were used.

The morning of the ascent, we had an anti-alpine start, and weren’t at the the Sandstone Quarry parking lot until around 10 o’clock when the solar effect on conditions was already considerable, but as experienced mountaineers we elected to make the ascent regardless.  The route wound its way upwards through cliff bands and desert creek washes, and soon we found our way in the large valley/gully leading up to a col just west of the summit.  Unfortunately, due to congestion on the route due to the hordes travelling downhill, our party became separated and although Peter continued upwards to the col via the standard class 1/2 route, I was sucked offroute into a steep gully, which ascended to the ridgeline above the col.  In places the may have approached class 3.

Just past noon we found ourselves on the summit by ourselves where we celebrated with Gatorade, wraps, and a family sized bag of Sun Chips.  Gazing back down the route to the valley and Sin City below we reminisced on our accomplishment and an hour or so later began our way back down.  An epic was avoided (unlike our tale from 3 days earlier) and we were back in camp with only a few hours of daylight to spare.  The rest of our crew had made it up Birdland today, which I must admit looks fairly impressive from below, but it has nothing on the altitude gained on our expedition to Turtlehead Mountain.

Tags: , , ,

« Older entries