Monthly Archives: August 2010

Singing Pass 28/08/10

Su-Laine hiking the Musical Bumps via Singing Pass:
“Do this trip soon! Eight of us headed up the steady gradient of the Singing Pass trail on Saturday, towards the meadows where a variety of alpine flowers were in bloom and more had yet to open. Russet Lake had plenty of excellent camping spots. It got cold: we measured minus 2 degrees at night while we were still awake! On Sunday six of us day-hiked to various altitudes on Fissile Peak in glorious sunshine. It’s a tricky scramble and only one of us got to the top, but even a partial ascent gave excellent views.

After waiting out a spell of bad weather at the Russet Lake hut, we hiked out in temporarily less-bad weather along the Musical Bumps trail. I discovered that a scrambling helmet is fun to wear in a hailstorm – you hear the clatter of hail while keeping dry and cozy. The fog cleared and the sun came out occasionally, enough to appreciate the beauty of the region, which included black bears and gregarious marmots. The (free) gondola to the village was scheduled to run until the late evening that day, so it was past 7pm by the time we got to the Dubh Linn Gate pub for dinner. The gondola is scheduled to run until late a few more times this summer (Sept 3, 4, and 5), but call Whistler Guest Services (1-800-766-0449) to confirm.

Thanks to everyone for making this such a fun trip with great company.”

Dima and Valerie

Mt Outram 28/08/10

Peter A. on Mt Outram:
“Rob, Rebecca, Grazyna, Adrian, Irena, Jen, Jonathan and I braved snow, cloud cover and freezing winds to successfully ascend Mt. Outram. A fantastic adventure, that started with a fleet hike through a beautiful hemlock and Douglas fir forest. Once clear of the trees, after gaining approximately 1,000 metres, we entered a large, picturesque sub-alpine bowl, that revealed that fresh snow had blanketed the high ground, including the rest of our ascent. The snow was beautiful, but made the ascent up the steep, massive boulder field a little slippery. With a keen focus and much exertion, we gained the first summit in 3h 45m from the trailhead. After a bit of moderate scrambling, made trickier by the fresh snow covering the rocks and scree, we made it to the “true” summit. 1800 metre altitude gain. Despite the heavy cloud cover and cold winds, the cloud ceiling was high and there was plenty of blue sky to allow for magnificent 360 degree views. Very cool to see the North Cascades, Baker, and all the familiar Chilliwack mountains from this perspective. We found enough windbreaks and caught enough sun through momentary breaks through the clouds that we stayed on top about 20 minutes. Two other highlights of the hike: Adrian photographing a beautiful mountain goat in the sub alpine, and during our descent, Adrian photographing two ground squirrels overseeing the fields of blueberries where we had stopped to graze. Trail conditions and markings were excellent throughout, even on the final boulder field (just required a little more patience in spotting the red painted rocks). The descent took us 3 hours, and our knees were happy to see the parking lot. We had been on the trail a total of 8 hours. Great day, great hike, great people, finished off with a great meal at the Blue Moose Café in Hope.”

Yak Peak 15/08/10

Erez on Yak Peak:
“Susanne, Rich, Hiromi, Adriana and I woke up early on Sunday and drove on the Coquihalla to the base of Yak peak. The trailhead was pretty easy to find using the directions and way points posted on Club Tread. It was also very well marked all the way to the peak. There was almost no snow at the top. The snowfield was almost completely gone, and you could easily bypass it – no need for any special equipment. It was a great trip with a great company. Thanks a lot to Rich and Adriana for driving.”

Mt Weart 14/08/10

Ben on Mt Weart:
“I have had a recent urge to do something really challenging before the days begin to grow short and weather too uncertain. This trip to Mt. Weart delivered that challenge in full. The abundance of loose rock and lack of snow made this a demanding route. These difficulties were compounded by the sun toasting us at nearly 30 degrees. The route was composed of four distinct segments. The initial portion skirts right along the toe of the Wedgemount glacier and then climbs up the slope on the left side of a creek that is flowing down from a basin above. The route then crosses this basin along a second glacier and ascends a loose slope on the opposite side. It would have been great to see more snow here, but we made do by picking our way up through snow and scree. This slope tops out at another higher and smaller basin/bench where at last the base of the final ridge is in sight. The third part of the route, that is reportedly marked with cairns, is up through the cliffs to the lowest part of the ridge. If there were cairns in the cliffs, they were not obvious. We all picked slightly different lines up and found the top with no problems. There seemed to be plenty of ways to go that were only moderately exposed, but this section would prove to be a bit tricky on the way down. Upon gaining the ridge, we were rewarded with phenomenal views out across the immense Weart Glacier. From here we walked the ridge to the base of the summit and then scrambled our way up the final slope, which consisted mostly of large, semi-stable rocks. It was hard work in the heat of midday, but reaching the summit was a glorious moment and made it all worth while. We had views of…. pretty much everything. A big thanks to Peter, Beau, and Tim for joining me on this very memorable day!”

Mt Weart, Aug. 14-15, 2010

Williams Peak 13/08/10

Andrew R. on Williams Peak:
“I was joined by Rebecca and Valerie on a gorgeous Friday for a hike up to Williams Peak overlooking the Chilliwack Valley. We got an early start and arrived at the well-marked trailhead at 9:30. The trail climbs steeply up to the top of Williams Ridge and then it is a easy (but long) walk along the treed ridge to a rocky knoll where we got out first clear view of the peak itself. We stopped at the knoll for a bit of lunch and to mull over the best route through the basin towards the peak. Luckily I had gotten advice not to descend into the basin but to continue up to the second knoll where we eventually spotted a cairn that told us we were heading in the right direction. Carefully following cairns and flagging, we traversed the side-slope on the left (north) side of the basin. This saved us having to lose and regain a lot of elevation – a huge help! (This route doesn’t seem to match with the route shown in Matt Gunn’s scrambles book. He seems to drop down into the basin.) Along the way Rebecca’s sharp eye spotted a momma and baby black bear moving quickly up the basin below us. It was her first bear sighting and an exciting spotting. We continued across the boulder field at the base of the peak (loudly, in case the bears were still in the area) and gained a rocky ramp that took us around to the scrambling gully on the south side of the peak. There seem to be a few options here, but all the routes seemed to converge on the main gully, which is STEEP. Some fun scrambling up this section. We reached the summit and enjoyed a good 45 minutes or so with fantastic views in all directions before reluctantly making our way down. We carefully retraced our route to find the flagging and the route around the side of the basin. At this point you are very glad not to have to descend into and climb back out of the basin! After gaining the ridge and having a last look back at the impressive peak we’d just descended from, it was a long dusty march back through the trees to the car. A long and tiring day, but the good company, fun scrambling, and great summit views made it totally worthwhile.”

Brandywine Mountain 08/08/10

Esther on Brandywine Mountain:
“We had a hard time driving to the trailhead. Shortly after turning left off Hwy 99, vehicles should make a sharp left turn on to an unpaved road towards “Brandywine Valley” upon reaching the junction where the paved road continues on the right to Callaghan Valley Ski Area. On the unpaved road, we passed a factory and then a big dusty parking lot before reaching a billboard. After that, the road branches were usually blocked off. We could have followed the main road until the junctions that 103 Hikes and Scrambles of SW BC mention, if the road hadn’t been so bumpy and steep in parts that we thought we had to be lost. One of the vehicles had to park half-way up. Our other vehicle (4WD) relayed the stranded half of the group to the trailhead. 2WD vehicles will need good clearance to make it almost to the trailhead.

We hiked from noon to 8:30pm. The approach to the meadows was steep, muddy, and well-marked. There was no snow in the meadows, but there was way more mud and mosquitoes then the wildflowers that were just starting to bloom. Hello gaiters!

After crossing the meadows and small streams, we hiked up a big snow patch over the scree below the ridge leading to Brandywine Mountain. The route was probably further left of this snow patch. We then followed the ridge to the top of Brandywine Mountain, over a little scree, a nice dirt path, a little snow, and big boulders. Amazing views when clouds moved aside briefly.

We returned along the ridge to the big snow face and slid down it for 30 minutes. Then we hiked back fast because the mosquito army was bombarding us full on.

Out at 8:30 pm, then we relayed people to the stranded car, and finally rolled into the Watershed Cafe for dinner at 9:40 pm. Long day, but what a great group!”

Lost Valley 07/08/10

Chris exploring the Lost Valley:
“The weather may not have been ideal and the bugs fairly bad but we had a nice surprise which more than balanced this trip. With no signups, Cara and I were free to join a WCWC trail building trip that was, coincidentally, also going up the Wade Creek trail. Both the Haylmore FSR and the various Wade Creek roads are in excellent-to-decent 2wd condition and it’s possible to park within 1 km of the bridge over the creek. The trail is steep with an average grade of at least 15% and sticking to the ridge crest even when it doesn’t seem like a good idea. There’s some blowdown around the mid-point of the route but it’s well flagged. The WCWC is improving the trail by adding switchbacks when needed. The final stretch side-hills above steep slopes. The trail fades just below the lakes near the pass. With a bit of trail-building thrown in, we got to the lakes in about 5.5 hours. From the pass, we wandered ridges and meadows to reach deep into Lost Valley to its headwaters. You need to pick your ridge ascents and descents carefully. The lower meadows were lush with plants to our shoulders at times and footing was tricky because we couldn’t see our feet. Along with more ptarmigan and pika encounters, the highlight of the trip was the multiple wolf sightings we made (3 out of 4 days were wolf days) including watching a litter of pups play in a meadow for an hour or so.”