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Monday, July 12, 2021
Slollicum Peak - Slollicum Peak Trail, November 2020
With great Fall weather continuing into November and the expectation that much of the early snow had melted off the lower peaks, we made a dash for Slollicum Peak. Here's yet another that I plucked from the popular local hiking guides boasting a good trail and outstanding views, particularly of Harrison Lake - SWBC's largest. Except for a couple trips to the Chehalis Range, I'd not yet been up on top of anything near this lake. A stroll along the beach at Harrison Hot Springs aside, my only glimpses to this point had been from Welch, Lady and Cheam some ~13 miles away to the southeast. A Harrison-area peak bag was clearly overdue! This is an enjoyable hike, following a relatively well-marked and frequently traveled trail interspersed with sections of forest road. It concludes with a pleasant stroll along an undulating tree-and-heather ridge leading to a small rocky summit.
Overlooking the east shore towards the southern end of Harrison Lake, Slollicum offers a commanding view of said lake as well as the various peaks and mountain ranges that flank it. To the north is the elusive Mount Breakenridge with the remote Mehatl and Stein area ranges beyond it, while Urquhart and The Old Settler rise prominently in the northeast. The Anderson River Group, Mount Outram and some other stuff out in Manning Park are visible to the east with Mount Baker and the Cheam Range dominating the southern view. Closer in, the Harrison and Fraser Rivers could be seen glistening in the golden Autumn sunshine as was Sumas Mountain sitting there in the middle of the Fraser Valley. Finally, looking west the giants north of Mission District, Mount Robie Reid and Judge Howay are easy to make out as are the Chehalis big boys Clark, Recourse and Grainger. Fantastic! With so much to feast the eyes on it was difficult to leave!
Late October now and I was looking to my "back yard" peaks for something in the 'hood to bag. Set course for Mount Elsay, the next peak after Seymour (and Runner). Alas a late start combined with verglass covered rock on shaded aspects made for slower than normal travel and ultimately conspired against me. Called it good at the final saddle where the routes for Elsay and Seymour diverge and just continued another ~5 mins up Seymour instead. If anyone's counting, this would now be my third time following previous ascents in January 2002 and October 2015. Fantastic views as always from up top, one of the best for the North Shore peaks and always a fun little hike for an otherwise "urban peak". Witnessed a rescue helicopter come to the aid of some teen sitting beside the trail just below the intervening Tim Jones Peak while I was up there. Asked if help was needed but couldn't quite make out what if any his injuries were, nor am I sure was he. Not that he seemed motivated to bother trying being that a helivac was on its way. God help us all. Anyway, made a short detour to catch the sunset from nearby Dog Mountain on my return to wrap up yet another fine Autumn day in the hillz!
Panorama Ridge - via Rubble Creek Trail, October 2020
Situated between Garibaldi Lake and The Black Tusk, aptly named Panorama Ridge offers unobstructed 360-degree panoramic views of some of the best mountainscapes in Garibaldi Provincial Park. Typically accessed from the Rubble Creek Trailhead, it is a popular hiking objective for at least 3 seasons out of the year. At about 30 km round-trip, it is also a longish one which thanks to a network of well-maintained trails results in a very manageable day trip for most. Taking advantage of another favorable October weather forecast, I set aside my lack of desire for yet again hiking the Rubble Creek trail and made tracks for Panorama Ridge.
With a foot or less of snow accumulation starting around Taylor Meadows and a well trod path the entire way to the summit, I found it to be an enjoyable albeit somewhat frigid ascent. The route finale follows a bit of a rock spur to reach a prominent bump on the summit ridge. Most appear to stop here, despite the actual summit being a short walk down to a saddle and up to the next highest point away. The view overlooking Garibaldi Lake and the peaks and glaciers that surround it most certainly do not disappoint and is the big draw for those that come this way. Mount Garibaldi rises conspicuously from the opposite side of the lake while the mighty Castle Towers Mountain looms just off to the ESE. Turn 180-degrees and The Black Tusk steals the show with an unending sea of peaks spread out behind it. The Tantalus Range is of course ever present there to the southwest and makes for an inspirational backdrop for much of the return to Taylor Meadows. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars with the half point deduction for the bruised butt courtesy of the icy Rubble Creek Trail descent!
I was flipping through the online table of contents of 105 Hikes by Steven Hui in search of a good shoulder season summit hike. You know, something a relatively short drive away, not too terribly long or time consuming, doable with some snow up high and above all, good views. Basically, the same discovery process I employed for my preceding
hike, except this time without the view-robbing clouds! 3714-ft Evans Peak out in Golden Ears Provincial Park seemed to meet those criteria, and so on a crisp and cloudless October morning I set out to bag this "beast" of a mountain. I had climbed the park's highest and namesake, North Ear several years back so I guess it seemed fitting to also stand atop one of lowest named summits in the park. Hoo boy!
Not too much more to say other than it's a steep forested grunt of hike before reaching a series of short rocky steps near the top, which by this time of year was coated in verglass and made for some tricky moves. Good views from the summit of the precipitous east faces of Edge and Blanshard peaks as well as Alouette Lake with Mount Crickmer on the opposite side. Usual suspects Mount Robie Reid and Mount Judge Howay also on full display to the north. All in all, a worthwhile Autumn jaunt with a unique perspective on familiar peaks!
Stawamus Chief Mountain - Backside Trail, October 2020
The iconic granitic dome overlooking the town of Squamish, BC, Stawamus Chief Mountain is one of the largest granite monoliths in the world. It is featured in countless movies usually set in places other than Squamish and is a magnet for big wall and trad climbers, and increasingly base jumpers. Prior to this trip I had already frequented "The Chief" numerous times, climbing routes on The Apron, a sweep of lower angled rock below the Grand Wall, as well as an afternoon of sport climbing friction slabs just below the summit of the lower of its three peaks (report and photos here). A relatively new addition to the BC provincial park inventory, Stawamus Chief Provincial Park seeks to protect this geologic marvel as well as the creatures that inhabit its forests, nooks, and crannies. The park also maintains a steep hiking trail on the back side of The Chief, appropriately named Backside Trail. This trail serves as both a descent route for climbers as well as a hiking trail to reach each of the three peaks.
On an overcast but dry October day I set out with my JRT in tow up the Backside Trail to once and for all tag the remaining two peaks of The Chief. Having already been up the lower First Peak, I stayed right at the junction and continued up to the Second Peak. The fixed chains and peg ladder near the top made for an enjoyable "via ferrata" vibe, which ended up being the highlight of the day. It was also a bit challenging being that I was clutching a terrified 17-lb dog in one arm! Lotsa folks chillin' up on Second Peak, so I didn't linger and continued along the wide crest down into a forested saddle before scrambling back up along ledges and ramps to the broad dome that is the third and highest peak. Enjoyed unique views looking north over lower Squamish River Valley and town of Squamish as well as Howe Sound to the southwest. On return, we took the trail from the saddle between 2nd and 3rd directly down to the trailhead for a most enjoyable half-day romp. Not sure how I managed to overlook this gem hiding in plain sight for so long. Highly recommended!