Monday, September 19, 2011

Local Gems

It never ceases to amaze me how there can be so many awesome place, so close to home, that hardly anyone knows about! Last weekend Lara and I hiked up to the summit of the South Needle in North Vancouver, BC. We'd heard about the hike from our running group Mountain Madness and from Word-of-mouth through Club Fat Ass. The hike isn't listed in any guide books, but we found a trip report  posted on Club Tread that made it sound like a great hike with some challenging climbs, a remote feel and great views at the top. The fact that it was only a 10min drive from home made it even more appealing.

We parked at the LSCR and walked out the LSCR road towards Seymour Reservoir for about 5km (slightly over an hour). At around the 5km mark we found Hydraulic creek and just across the creek we found some ribbons on the left hand side of teh road marking the start of our climb. From then on we followed the ribbons, some yellow square trail markers and the creek up the side hill on a well-marked trail for a couple of hours. The climb was steep at times with only one short reprieve at a bench about 2/3's of the way up. Be prepared to work hard to gain the ridge line! Once we gained the ridge, we headed North towards the South Needle.  The ridge was also well marked with ribbons and signs directing you at any intersection you encountered. It took about 45min of hiking with some small steps of easy 2nd/3rd class scrambling to gain the summit of the South Needle.

The views were extraordinary from the summit. You can see Grouse and Seymour Mountains, Lynn Valley, Hanes Valley, the City and all of the mountains North of the local peaks.  We lingered at the summit for about half an hour, where we had a snack and took  in the view and chatted about how amazing it was to be so close to home but to not have seen a single person so far on our trek up Hydraulic Creek or along the ridge.

From the summit of the Needle, we headed South along the ridge and hiked back towards civilization via Lynn Peak and Middle Peak, completing a loop trip. It took us about two and half hours to traverse the ridge, descend Lynn Peak and walk back to the car via the Headwaters Connector trail due to the undulating nature of the ridge towards Lynn Peak.  The entire hike took us 6 1/2 hours car to car and  we didn't see a single person on the Hydraulic Creek trail or along the ridge line.

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