Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Crown Mountain Scramble and BCMC by Nite

On Saturday, August 21 Mike and I were surprised by the nice weather and decided to head out for a local hike. We'd tried to climb Crown mountain back in July but missed the trail due to teh excessive amount of snow on the ground and ended up climbing Goat Mountain instead. We thought now that the snow has had a chance to melt it'd be a good day to go check out Crown.

Crown Mountain and the Camel

The start of the hike is quite relaxed and enjoyable. We have passes for Grouse Mountain so we took the tram to the Lodge and went from there. The hike starts as a walk through Grouse Mountain resort towards the peak of Grouse and then wraps around the backside of the peak and heads into the backcountry of Lynn Headwaters Park. This is where the excitement of the day began. As we rounded the corner on the trail (which is a service road at this point) we ran into a black bear and her two cubs having some lunch on the trail. They were munching away on some berries and were quite unbothered by us, even while we made lots of noise scare them off. We decided to back off the trail and we waited for another pair of Hikers to join us before passing the bears. Once a couple more people joined us on the trail the bears decided to move up the side hill and off of the trail letting us pass to continue our journey.

Mama and one of the cubs

After a few minutes of hiking up the access road you arrive at the Lynn Headwaters park entrance and hiker registry and the start of the single-track trails. The trail in this area, from Grouse to Dam and Goat Mountains, is well groomed and maintained and climbs gradually towards Crown Pass. After about an hour of hiking you get to the intersection of Crown pass and Goat Mountain trails. There are tons of signs directing you to the left of the fork where you drop down into Crown Pass. Crown pass is a fun and technical hike. There are several rock outcroppings with chains that you have to scramble down to get through the pass.

Single Track Trails to Dam and Goat Mountains

Lowering into Crown Pass on the Rock Outcroppings

Once you've conquered the pass you come to yet another trail intersection where you can veer right into Hanes Valley or left for Crown Mountain. we of course went left. At this point you hike up some steep sections of trail until you reach a rock face where you stay low and contour around the cliff until you re-gain the trail. After crossing some small sections of talus you start the final push to the summit on some more steep, technical trails. This section of trail is where you find the 3rd class scrambling. After the steep climb, you finally break free of the trees and follow the ridge for a short distance. There is a bit of exposure and a short section of 4th class scrambling that spits you out right on top of the summit.

Contouring Under the Rock Cliffs

4th Class Step to summit

The views from the summit were amazing! You can see Vancouver, Hanes Valley and all the local mountains as well as the Camel right beside you and the slabs of Crown Mountain shooting off into the valleys all around you. It was well worth the effort. To get back to Grouse Mountain we returned the way we came. Make sure you saved some energy for the return trip since you have to climb back out of Crown Pass to get to Grouse, which is a decent amount of elevation to cover. The hike took us 2hr 20min to get the summit and about 2.5hours to get back to Grouse.

Vancouver - View from Summit

Summit Shot

View from Summit

On a side note.....Last night Lara, Mike, Sue, Mark and I hiked the BCMC trail. We headed out at about 7:50 and by 8:30 we all had our headlamps going. Summer is officially winding down when its dark on the trails by 8:30. :( If you're going to go hiking/running after work, don't forget your headlamps! On a good note though, when we got the to top of Grouse there was a family of deer quietly eating on the side of the trail that we stopped and watched for a while. The male had a beautiful set of antlers and the baby was very cute!

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