Mt Strachan 16/08/08

Paul on Mt Strachan:
“The plan had been to approach Mount Strachan via Strachan Meadows, or the ‘back side’ route. A fellow Wanderunger reported that two weeks ago, when his group took this route, there was still a couple of feet of snow along the steepest section of the approach rendering it slightly treacherous. Therefore we elected to change the route up and take the Baden Powell/Old Strachan Trail route. We stuck to the original plan of returning via the ski runs. A couple of notes:
1. If you are taking the Baden Powell/Old Strachan Trail route and using Dawn Hanna’s Best Hikes and Walks of SWBC as a guide, ignore her trail directions which are (to put it mildly) misleading. Follow these directions instead:
–take the Baden Powell Trail east from the park map at the down hill ski area parking lot
–the Old Strachan trail (not labelled as such) is on your left, about 15 minutes along the Baden Powell, at it’s first junction. It is marked by a wooden sign which indicates that the Baden Powell continues east. You want to turn north (left) and take the unlabelled trail (unlabelled as opposed to unmarked — it is quite well marked). There is some blow down directly at the entrance to it, and a fair bit of blow down all along the trail, none of it that difficult to negotiate.
–You will encounter one more trail junction. Go left rather than right.
–Trail then will take you to the first summit of Strachan if you choose to follow it all the way. It coincides with a ski run a couple of times. At either point you can elect to leave the trail and continue on the ski run which also ends up at the south summit.
2. Summits. Strachan has two summits, south and north. The views from the north summit are much more impressive than those from the south (the view of the Lions is unimpeded), and so it is well worth hiking the extra 20 min or so it takes to get from south to north summits.
3. Strachan Meadows route: state of the trail. I hiked down the back of Strachan a little ways to check trail conditions. I could see snow, but it looked to me as though most, if not all, of the snow had melted away from the trail itself. Probably soon ok to take the Strachan Meadows route.
4. Ski run return. In past years the only available ski run to return by was a blue one (beginners’ run) a series of gradual switch backs ending you up at the down hill ski parking lot starting point. We found ourselves on a newly created run, the Bowen, an advanced run and obviously quite steep. We decided to try our luck rather than doubling back up, and a couple of us found sections of it a bit tricky to negotiate. Recommend sticking to the blue run for the return, if you plan to return via runs (and before you begin the hike checking the ski run map at the parking lot to orient yourself).
5. Timing. Saturday was the first time I’d hiked to Strachan by the Baden Powell/Old Strachan trail route. It is significantly longer than the Howe Sound Crest/ Strachan Meadows route. Allow 7 hours for the round trip (it took us about 6, including an extra half hour of needless hiking before we determined the location of the Old Strachan Trail.”

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