Monday, September 8, 2014

Coliseum Mountain

 Coliseum Mountain

25km, 1240m (4070ft) elevation, 8hrs return with running lower trails to and from Norvan Falls), expect 10+ hours return if hiking full route

A couple weekends ago I thought I'd take a break from climbing and get out for a long hike for a day.  I'd been wanting to check out Coliseum Mountain in Lynn Headwaters Park for a few years now and with a full day free and a bombproof weather forecast it seemed like a good day to go.

I decided to run/hike the route to make it bit less time intensive so I loaded up my camelback with water, gels, jacket, a few bars and some safety equipment since I was heading out solo - map, compass, emergency bivy, Fast Find personal locator beacon, headlamp, lighter, whistle, small first aid kit and of course, bear bangers in that area.

The first 4 km of the route is along the Cedar Mill trail which follows Lynn Creek from the parking lot to the 3rd debris chute and is fairly flat. This then leads to the next 3 km section to Norvan Falls which is still fairly low angle but more of a single track trail. I ran the first 7 km to Norvan falls at a casual pace in about 1h15min.

From here you reach a sign and map board that clearly marks the turn-off for the Coliseum mountain Trail.  This is where the fun begins! From the sign post you immediately start to climb through the forest along Norvan Creek. The trail crosses the creek, climbs some more and then crosses the creek back again before flattening out for a bit of a reprieve.  After about an hour of hiking I caught up to some park rangers who were doing trail maintenance up to the summit of Coliseum that day. They were the first people I had seen since Norvan Falls. I was happy to see other people since at this point a majority if the trail was though blueberry patches which seemed like an area that bears would like to hang out.

About 1.5 hours into the hike the forest began to thin and a viewpoint and Norvan meadows was reached. I ran into another group of hikers at this point and took a break at the viewpoint with them. From here the fun part of the hike began. The next hour or so involved some short rock steps, steep hiking to the false summit and then descending steeply into a notch and back out before traveling along rocky slabs that finally bring you to the summit.  It took me a little under 3 hours to get from Norvan Falls to the summit of Coliseum, including two or three short breaks en-route for snacks and photos.

The views from the top make it worth every ounce of effort. You can see all the local mountains, the Lions, the peaks of Garibaldi Park and the City of Vancouver far below. There is also a pretty little tarn just below the summit where several people were cooling off. I lingered on the summit and enjoyed the sun and the views for about 45min before retracing my steps for an uneventful descent.

The full hike took me about 8 hours car-to-car and was a great way to spend a day in the mountains on a sunny summer day.

Click Here for Photo Album
Click Here for More Route Info

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