Last Updated: April 18, 2020



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Saturday, April 18, 2020

Dolomites, Dec '19 - Jan '20



Our biennial Dolomites ski trip! Descents and scenery from Col Rodella, Passo Pordoi, Sass Pordoi, Forcella Pordoi, Canalone Joel, Marmolada, Porta Vescovo, Pralongia, Passo Falzarego, Lagazuoi, Champinoi, Val Mesdi, Col Raiser, Seceda. Click here to view.

Click here to view previous Dolomites reports/photos, or for miscellaneous '19/'20 season photos click here.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Mount Windsor - Northwest Ridge, October 2019



One of the northernmost peaks on the Howe Sound Crest Trail, Mount Windsor it is both a short drive from my home in North Vancouver and also a relatively obscure objective as compared to Brunswick Mountain, Mount Harvey and West Lion just to the south. A great outing in which to practice "social distancing" it turns out, never mind that it was still a good few months before most of us would first learn the term. Ah, those were the days!

I got the idea for this from The Glorious Mountains of Vancouver's North Shore guidebook which Agata recently gifted me. It describes an interesting bit of history regarding the peak's name. To quote, Windsor is "The adopted family name of the present royal family of Britain and Canada. The family's German name of Saxe-Coburg became less popular during the First World War, so they borrowed the name of their castle." In that context, some of the other names in the area-Brunswick, Hanover Lake, Coburg Peak and Gotha Peak-would seem sehr appropriate. Ja sicher! Having driven past Deeks Creek and the Deeks Lake Trail on the Sea-to-Sky Highway so many times over the years, I was a bit curious what I would find up there. Either that, or I'm just a sucker for a good trail to a scenic lake with a bonus peak to bag nearby.

The trail initially parallels the highway on a gravel road, before turning east and following Deeks Creek. There are a few nice waterfalls along the way before reaching Deeks Lake. I contoured around the lake's north shore and picked up a climber's path which I followed to a small meadow between Deeks Peak and Mount Windsor. A small tag nailed to a tree at a junction shortly below the meadow indicates the way to Peak 5400 is at right and Windsor at left. At a saddle just beyond the meadow, I turned up and proceeded along the left edge of Windsor's Northwest Ridge. Upon reaching a small basin on Windsor's north side, I encountered firm snow which with increasing steepness became difficult to kick up in the light-duty trail shoes I was wearing. Went back to the right over the now more defined ridge crest to find mostly snow-free conditions. Up through some bits of brushy jank then over the final summit rocks and the peak was bagged.

Enjoyed great views in all directions and soaked in the weak late October sunshine. In the spirit of yet another last hurrah in the waning days of Indian summer, 5541-ft Mount Windsor is a good choice. Prost!

Click here to view.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Mount Beautiful - Swan Falls Loop Trail, October 2019



I stumbled upon this at about the two-thirds mark on the Sendero Diez Vistas hike I completed this past October. There at Buntzen Lake's North Beach stood a sign with, among other things, details of various local hikes and whatnot. One in particular, describing a loop just east of the lake and crossing over the top ~4200-ft Mount Beautiful (aka. Eagle Peak) caught my eye. A new area for me, it seemed like a great lower-elevation choice for the short days of late October. With a good blanket of early snow and ice up in the alpine, Old Man Winter had already claimed the high country by this time anyway. Known as the Swan Falls Loop, the 11-mile route I took follows the east shore of Buntzen Lake before making a gruelling ascent from the north end of the lake up to the granite slabs on the summit of Mt. Beautiful. From there, the trek follows the forested ridge southwards into and out of a couple saddles before reaching an area dotted with numerous small lakes appropriated named the Lakes District. A final steep descent leads back to the beach and parking area where I started from at Buntzen's south shore.

It all amounts to a uniquely satisfying trip complete with rushing waterfalls, scenic lakes and a neat summit area with surprisingly grand views including the elusive Coquitlam Lake tucked away east of the divide. The ideal venue for a peakbagger looking for one last hurrah in the waning days of Indian Summer if you ask me. And if you hustle, there'll even be time for a refreshingly arctic dip in Buntzen Lake afterwards!

Click here to view.
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