Monthly Archives: December 2008

Hollyburn Peak 26/12/08

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: 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.”

Elaho Valley 21/12/08

Christian at Elaho Valley:
“After 1 hour of white-knuckle driving on unplowed highways before dawn, Stuart and I were on edge, as we were each feeling apprehensive about this trip!! We each traveled from different places to reach Squamish. Along the way, we encountered ground blizzards, covered signs, and could not see the edges of the road at times. We met at the Tim Hortons in Squamish and chatted about the weather and conditions before dawn. By dawn, the wind was gone and visibility was great. With a safety plan in mind of being back at the car before dark, we set out for the Elaho Main road. We saw some amazing eagles along the way. I was surprised to see six eagles in one tree (see Flickr). By the time we reached 28 mile, the snow was deep enough that it limited our vehicle speed to 25 km/h. We calculated that we would be spending more time driving than hiking. No fun there! So we turned back. Quickly found a great alternate hike at Alice Lake park. We decided to do the 8 km Lake loop. We broke trail for two hours and had a marvelous time. On our hike in the park, we encountered many families with their little pre-schoolers taking advantage of the small toboggan hills. It was a great day to be out! After our 2 hour hike around the four lakes, we went to the Brackendale coffee shop. We easily chatted away two hours of the day, long before dusk. All and all, a good time spent in Squamish on the Winter Solstice.”

Virgin trail on clear day - Elaho Valley trip, Dec 21

Dog Mountain 20/12/08

Michelle on Dog Mountain:
“The -7 / -12 with wind chill factor definitely had us wondering and we were definitely a little on the cold side starting out (our toes were already cold from just standing outside the shopping mall!). But instead of bundling up more, we quickly heated up on the trail and inevitably began the customary strip routine by the time we hit First Lake. However, after reaching our end destination we didn’t stick around to enjoy the sunny view for very long: though the winds were calm it was just too darn cold to sit around for more than a cup of tea and quick nibble. The winter route is now marked and well trodden (although a couple of alternate routes have also been stomped out past First Lake). Good snow coverage save for a few steep, exposed, iced-over root patches not yet filled in. Good parking lot coverage too (of the vehicular type) as to be expected on a sunny day.”

Alpen Mountain 14/12/08

Chris on Alpen Mountain:
“Cara, Darcy, Dean, Mathieu, Roberto, Siegfried and Tania joined me in a search for the Hidden Valley Cabin on Alpen Mountain just east of Squamish. The Mamquam River Main (not the same road as the Mamquam Road that accesses the Elfin Lakes trail – this one is unsigned and just after the parking for the Chief) seems to see a fair amount of local traffic and was drivable to the Alpen Rd. The gate here was open so we drove in and parked just short of the first waterbar (200–300 metres up). Despite ferocious winds on the 99 and in Squamish, we encountered only light breezes even in exposed areas. But temperatures averaged around -10 C. We followed the main road but made a wrong turn about half way up (there are a lot of spurs) which lead us to a dead-end. After an attempt to cross-country to the main road, we gave up and back-tracked to the main road. Part of our party headed higher but still didn’t reach the cabin (locals said that it would have taken 4 – 4.5 hrs from the bottom). The snow varied from a couple inches at the cars to 2 feet of weightless powder around 1200 m.”

Garibaldi Massive from Alpen

Cougar Mountain 07/12/08

Chris on Cougar Mountain:
“Albert, Alex, Cara, Jamie, Nancy, Ribeka, and Tessa joined me in a snowy exploration of the western flank of Cougar Mountain. The road to Cougar Mountain (16 mile creek road) leaves Hwy 99 just after Green Lake. We encountered snow fairly early and the potholes had turned into slushy ponds (doesn’t look like this road is plowed but sledders probably use it later in the year). The hill after the bridge took some effort to drive up and we slipped and slid up to the stables to park. To get to the cedars from there, follow the road up taking a right at an obvious fork and sticking to the main road until you start to encounter faded signs and follow those. The road turns into a gentle trail and we found ourselves in the cedar grove about an hour after leaving the cars. We then headed off-trail following the creek uphill. We topped out at 1200 m overlooking a small pond and temperatures stayed above freezing for the whole route.”

Cougar Mountain - December 7, 2008

Panorama Ridge 07/12/08

Ahmad on Panorama Ridge:
“Our small group of Ian and I had plenty of luck. The luck of 2 weeks was squeezed into one day. The weather turned clear in the afternoon. The snow was fairly packed. There was a sort of track that we could follow most of the way. So we extended our initial plan and got to the official viewpoint of Panorama Ridge. We estimated the snow to be 0.4-0.5 m in Taylor Meadows, where we started to use snowshoes, and just over 1 m on the Ridge. The snowline started at 1100 m. The park was almost empty except for several students doing their research on the Barrier. Our whole trip took about 10 hours.”

Historic Mushroom 07/12/08

Michelle on the Historic Mushroom trail:
“It would have been much more useful to have brought my Seymour Mountain Biking trail map guide than my evidently woefully out of date 109 hiking book. In typical Baden Powell style, the trailhead starts out unmistakably clear and then runs into numerous off shoots and trail crisscrosses. General maps are posted frequently (helpful) however only the most major trails are outlined leaving you guessing at the rest. Stay with the BP triangle trail markers all the way up, then follow the signs to the Historic Mushroom (with its interpretive display and the mushroom ‘stalk’ remnants). After the Mushroom, we walked back to the main trail (West) and followed Ned’s (Atomic Dust Bin) – which probably was the former Mystery Creek Trail in 109 – all the way back down to the power lines. We ended up taking the Bridle Trail back to Hyannis Point instead of the longer intended return route along Fisherman’s Trail. We were rewarded with lush forest, breath taking streams of sunshine through the dewy trees and blue skies upon return. Amazingly mild and sunny day! This isn’t December!”