Last Updated: April 6, 2016

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Year-End Pow, Nov/Dec 2015

Here we go again. November through December in search of the endless white barrel ride. From the North Shore and Sea-to-Sky Corridor on up to the high peaks of the South Coast west of Pemberton, BC. Some of the best early season snow surfing we’ve had in years. Have we finally crested the last wave in this wretched set of non-winters?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Brunswick & Seymour (BC), October 2016

A couple late October hikes to the top of Brunswick Mountain and Mount Seymour. The former shares the same starting point as West Lion which I climbed back in October of 2009. From the trailhead in Lions Bay, it is an easy hike along a gravel road and rough logging track that becomes progressively more overgrown. The trail then turns steeply uphill for an unrelenting grind that ends finally at a saddle overlooking a large rock cirque below Brunswick’s precipitous north-facing crags. From here it’s only a short scramble up and to the right to reach the false summit. Somewhat exposed scrambling along a mostly horizontal ridge leads to the true summit and from where one is greeted with excellent views looking out over Howe Sound and an expanse of peaks to the north. Dom, Aga and I enjoyed more great Fall weather and views the following day on top of nearby Mount Seymour. This is arguably the best vantage point from which to behold the full panorama of greater Vancouver and was for us the perfect place to finally scatter the ashes of their dog Dyce who unfortunately passed away several years ago.

Friday, January 15, 2016

October Singletrack, October 2015

> Noble Knob-Dalles Ridge-Ranger Creek

Revisited the Noble Knob and Dalles Ridge Trails, this time descending back to Hwy 410 via Ranger Creek Trail. Made a couple short detours to tag Mutton Mountain and Noble Knob. Great views from both! The switchbacks on upper-Ranger are too tight and steep to negotiate without dismounting. Despite the stairs I still prefer the nearby Palisades Trail (downhill).

> Cutthroat Pass

A quick rip up and down Cutthroat Pass before the first snow shuts it down for the season. This is an out-n-back ride, 6 miles each way. Mellow uphill with just a few dismounts, outstanding views once above timberline and from the pass especially. Blazing fast downhill with great flow that’s unfortunately over with much too soon. About 2-hrs round-trip at a moderate uphill pace. Best combined with one of the other medium-length rides in the area to justify the long drive (i.e. Buck Mountain).

> Squamish

Barely scratched the surface in this long-time mountain biking mecca. Close proximity to N. Van enabled several rides this summer and fall. A huge network of fast and flowy trails with options for all skill levels and preferences. Half Nelson and Pseudosuga are both very popular intermediate-level rides and make for a good introduction to the area.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hadley Peak - West Face via Skyline/Chowder Ridge, October 2015

Hadley Peak is a low-prominence volcanic satellite located less than four miles as the crow flies north of Mount Baker. The highest point rising up from the subalpine tundra and sedimentary rocks at very end of Chowder Ridge, Hadley offers an outstanding up-close-and-personal panorama of Mount Baker’s stunning north-side glaciers. In terms of its position, I would say that Hadley is to Mount Baker as Third Burroughs Mountain is to Mount Rainier. In other words, a peak somewhat set back from the mountain with a jaw dropping view of what could be considered the most dramatic and heavily glaciated faces of said mountain. Hadley is certainly all that, but as we discovered much of the appeal is also the approach via a lovely crest trail that goes along Skyline Ridge with sublime views in all directions.

The aesthetic Skyline Ridge Trail ends in a cirque of sorts, after which Chowder Ridge officially begins. A climber’s path continues steeply upwards and takes on a noticeably different character from the easy trail hiking up to this point. Some class 3 with exposure along a sharp crest to a saddle, a steep gully and then some mildly exposed traversing on the right (south) side of the crest eventually leads back up to the crest itself, which can then be followed more or less the entire way over to Hadley Peak. Following an obvious path, we hiked below and around the peaklet immediately before Hadley and wore ourselves out kicking steps up loose scree and talus on the other side. On return we found it to be much more enjoyable to scramble directly over this peak – exposed class 3 - 4, but solid. As a rule of thumb, just stay on the crest no matter how unlikely it may seem from afar.

Finally, we scrambled up one of the obvious rotten gullies on the west face of Hadley, taking great care not to dislodge any rocks onto each other (helmets advised). We topped out to enjoy the fruits of our labor with just one other soul - Doug from Vancouver - on a surprisingly warm and pleasant mid-October day. A most enjoyable approach, top notch views, great camping, fun climbing and an outstanding setting throughout – Hadley Peak via Skyline Ridge is in my opinion deserving of ‘classic’ scramble status and one to add to a Top 10 list!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Crater Mountain - South Spur, September 2015

Per the SummitPost page of Cascades peakbagger extraordinaire Paul Klenke – “Crater Mountain is a prominent peak rising north of Hwy. 20 about 5 mi. east of Ross Lake. It has deep valley footings with over 6000' of relief from the highway. Crater is the site of two former fire lookouts - one on the main summit and another on a 7054' point east of the east summit. The name "crater" probably comes from the mountain's appearance. A massive glacial cirque, holding Crater Lake, is carved out of the south side of the mountain. The out-of-print classic, Routes and Rocks, names the main summit of Crater as one of the five best viewpoints in the North Cascades!”

An abandoned (but well-traveled) trail leads most of the way up Crater’s South Spur to the base of the final summit scramble. This route is considered a technical scramble and features arrows and other markings spray painted on the rock to show the way. It is well worth the effort for the views of the North Cascades and the climbing on exposed rocky terrain of obvious volcanic origin. It makes for an ideal late season venue with a relatively quick all-trail approach and wonderful fall colors encountered along the way.

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