Select from list below to jump to a specific area on this site.
| Latest Posts |
Saturday, December 2, 2023
Mount Barbour - Tenquille Creek Trail, October 2022
Located about halfway along the ~13-kilometer-long crest where well-trodden peaks such as Copper Mound, Mount McLeod, Seven O'clock Mountain, and Sun God Mountain are found is Mount Barbour. As with these others, Barbour is featured in Gunn's Scrambles in SWBC, benefits from relatively good access and can be accomplished in a very manageable day trip from Vancouver. The approach described in the guide follows a trail past Barbour's Draw/Valley that was once used by miners to graze horses as they traversed the range north-to-south. Culminating at a broad pass below Barbour's West Ridge, the 'draw is a very scenic place and well worth a visit just on its own. The scramble up the West Ridge is straight-forward and makes for a satisfying final ascent to a perch with impressive 360-degree views!
Barbour can be approached from the west via Tenquille Lake Trail or from the east via Tenquille Creek Trail. Having previously hiked to Tenquille Lake for both Tenquille Mountain and Goat Peak, I took the east approach for something different. I also brought a bike for the mostly flat ~5 kms between where the FSR is gated and the trailhead proper. Not sure what the purpose of this gate is as the road beyond is perfectly driveable by just about any type of vehicle, at least to the overgrown fork that continues up-valley to the trailhead. A sign near the gate does warn about grizzlies and some sort of seasonal closure, so travel here at your own peril. Reaching the road end, I stashed my bike and walked a short distance to a stream crossing with the trail just beyond. Pleasant forest hike from here some 2.7 kms to the junction with Tenquille Lake Trail. Turned left and headed up into Barbour's Draw. Up out of the forest in short order, entering an enchanting land of meadows and turquoise-hued lakelets. Leaving the main trail now, I continued straight ahead to reach a broad pass overlooking Lillooet River Valley far below. Turned left here and made my way up the lower west slopes of Barbour. Finally, I gained the West Ridge to avoid a steep rock face directly above and followed that easily up to the summit.
Great views despite some smoke obscuring the more distant peaks and glaciers. Noteworthy were Mount Sampson and the Railroad Group, Sun God Mountain, Lillooet River Valley and of course a bird's-eye view of the 'draw! Spent about :45 up top before heading back down. Back at the trailhead, I heard an unsettling rustling/crashing sound off in the bush adjacent to the old road as I was retrieving my bike. Something BIG was lurking nearby! On with the helmet, then took a deep breath before cranking hard and fast, making as much noise as I could! Please Mr. Grizz let me pass by unscathed! Back to the truck and cold beer without incident thank God, another bullet dodged and another peak down!
There are a couple of peaks named Mount Brew in SWBC, the more conspicuous one located near the town of Lillooet. This is not that one. This Brew is the subalpine bump located near Whistler, BC nestled among a group of peaks known for their adult beverage-inspired names: Gin, Tonic, Brew, Keg and Brandywine. It is commonly the final summit bagged on the increasingly popular "Alcoholic Traverse", which links most of these peaks in a U-shaped trek overlooking the headwaters of Brandywine Creek. The summit is a short jaunt from the aptly named Brew Hut, a popular destination in summer and in winter as an overnight stay for ski tourers. With unseasonably warm and dry weather stretching into October this year, I drove to the Roe Creek FSR washout and set out on foot for a mellow day hike to explore Brew and its surroundings.
I debated driving through the washout as it didn't look too bad, but glad I parked where I did as the water bars beyond were quite large and seemed to require a departure angle greater than what my truck has. Either way, it's only about 2 kilometers to the barricaded R200 spur that leads up to the Roe Creek Trailhead. Trail starts through an old cut block and then heads into the trees before reaching meadows and finally Brew Lake in about 4.5 kilometers. Turned left up the trail towards a wide talus bowl containing another smaller lake. Then up to a saddle at right reaching the Brew Hut a short distance beyond, about 2 km from Brew Lake. Summit of Brew is under a half kilometer as the crow flies from here and a logical choice for those seeking to bag a peak while in the area. A bit of jungle gym action through the dense evergreens lower down followed by a short walk to the summit proper. Enjoyed superb autumnal views both near and far - Mount Fee to the northwest, north to Brandywine and Rainbow, northeast to Currie and Weart, west to Cypress and Tricouni, southeast to Black Tusk, Castle Towers, and the glaciers beyond. Marvelous! Higher Keg Peak is nearby and makes for an easy add-on before heading back.
Bottom line, Brew and/or Keg are fine Autumn objectives without the need for driving very far or having to put in much work in getting there. Low effort: High reward as they say!
Green Mountain (+Pk.2200) - Green Mountain Trail, September 2022
With Plan A stymied once again, this time due to active weekday logging, I was at a loss coming up with a suitable Plan B. I usually come prepared, but not this time unfortunately. I'd already been up many of the "obvious" peaks in the Goldbridge/Bralorne area and up/down the Hurley and didn't fancy a repeat. But then I remembered seeing a sign on the side of the road a few kms south of the Ault Creek FSR turnoff that reads simply Green Mountain. I'm not normally much for exploratory hiking, and we had no information or the means by which to obtain it but figured what the heck, something to do.
Up the FSR a short way and parked at the first fork if for no other reason than not wanting to push my luck with the CEL that came back on earlier that morning. Chose the right fork as it seemed to go in the correct direction. Up the FSR we go, staying right again at two subsequent forks - one of Kevin's GPS apps had a trail overlying the topo, so that helped with our choices. Followed the old road to a large talus bowl on Green's NE Face then finally up onto the East Ridge whereupon we located a fire lookout. Road continued up a bit further before petering out just before the summit. Excellent views in all directions, the reservoirs to the north and east, Dickson, Sloan, Truax and others, south down the Hurley. Still had time to burn and noticed a peak (Pk. 2200) on the connecting ridge that appeared higher, so went off to tag it. Glad we did as there's an outstanding view from there overlooking Ault Lake with Mount Land just beyond. We were quite satisfied with this and ourselves for having somehow salvaged the day.
Anyway, not a destination hike per se but like with Penrose, this is a good "rest day" option for rounding out the weekend after bagging one or more of the bigger objectives in the area. We'll be back for Truax, I promise!
The runt of the litter! By litter, I'm referring to the Cheam Range with Conway Peak being a mere bump on the continuation of Foley Peak's Northeast Ridge - the last major summit at the east end of the range. That said, Conway offers what may be the best perspective of these mountains. From nowhere else that I have been can one get as up close and personal with the north-facing glaciers and precipitous rock faces than from here. A trip up the "runt" is worth it for this view alone!
The trailhead is accessed via Jones Lake FSR, its namesake offering up fine views of the Cheam Range from the lakeshore. Could do without abandoned homeless encampments and piles of garbage strewn everywhere along the FSR, but then this seems to be the norm out here these days. Left at a fork and continued for a bit before stopping when the road became a bit more overgrown and rougher for my liking. Could have continued to the driveable end, but thought I'd give the ol' Frontier a break for a change and decided to hoof it the rest of the way. Soon reached the parking area before a large washout, noting a firepit in the middle of the road there with drug use paraphernalia within - syringes, bits of foil etc. Quaint.
Continued up the old road past the washout making a couple switchbacks before continuing via the Lucky Four Mine Trail. Trail climbs up steeply before turning right and making a gradual ascending traverse to the south. A good drenching the night before left the rooted and rocky trail quite slick until reaching the alpine where the sun had thankfully begun drying things out. Heather then gave way to polished slabs just below the ridge crest, where the occasional cairn and/or flagging guides one up to a saddle. Turning left, a worn path winds between boulders and stunted trees to the highpoint a short distance beyond. Enjoyed smoky views to the south of the "Chilliwacks" and beyond to beautiful Mount Shuksan and Baker. Views considerably less smoky to the north looking over Jones Lake with Harrison Lake and the elusive Mount Breakenridge off in the distance. Gotta get up that one of these days! As mentioned, all the major Cheam Range peaks are visible from here save for Knight Peak of which just a sliver of the North Ridge is showing. Silvertip and company dominates the view to the east and completes what is an unexpectedly visually pleasing 360 panorama for an otherwise unremarkable peak!
Markhor-Needle-Flatiron Traverse - East-to-West, September 2022
Teamed up with Kevin on this for a stellar albeit somewhat chilly September day. Having previously climbed Needle Peak via the standard West Ridge scrambles route, I felt the need to go back for more of that glorious granite this time on the classic Markhor-Needle Traverse! More climbing, more exposure, and lots more fun, and all with a very reasonable approach! Not sure what took me so long.
With the normal trailhead blocked by the ongoing pipeline construction, we decided to simply follow the Needle Peak Trail for a bit before traversing cross-country to intersect the Markhor "trail". It's just a faint track with some flagging here and there, and it wasn't long before we popped out of the trees shortly below Markhor's North Ridge. Bumped into a couple others Kevin knew from the SWBC FB group here and leapfrogged each other for the rest of the climb. Easy scrambling up onto Markhor after which we poked around in search of where to start the South Face descent. Finally located the shallow dihedral with rappel station we'd read about and started flaking the rope while Kevin opted to just down-climb. Somewhat kitty litter rock here made worse by worn-out outsoles; I was happy to have rapped this, even if the 30m rope was a bit short. Then an easy hike up from the saddle to Peak 1933 with the "crux" coming next on the short descent to the notch between this and Peak 1945. It all amounts to an exposed downclimb on a fin of rock - not difficult, but thought-provoking, nonetheless. Then up 1945 with a low 5th move or two before reaching the large saddle below Needle's North Ridge. It looks steep and improbable from here, but it's just a scramble with only moderate exposure. Made it to the summit shortly thereafter enjoying the fine views and life-giving sunshine!
The other two took off after a bit of chatting with plans to hike back down to the highway and run up Yak Peak on the other side of the valley. Impressive! Not wanting to be totally outdone, Kevin and I decided to tack on The Flatiron on our way down, being that it's only a short detour and we had plenty of day left. Down the West Ridge, climbing through the usual scrambly bits before reaching the meadow where the trail forks right back to the trailhead and left to Flatiron. Went left, passing a small lake after a kilometer or so before completing the final ascent to the large Flatiron summit plateau. Great autumn colors and afternoon lighting made for excellent views and a rewarding finish to a very satisfying day of alpine rambling!