Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Weekend of Bagging and Waiting for Baggers to Return.

#1 For the Day - Top of De Pencier Bluffs

Mystery Lake on the way to De Pencier Bluffs

#1 De Pencier Bluffs

Wendy at the top of Mount Seymour - awesome views! #2 for the day.

Indian Arm water below. Neil/Ean/David are out there somewhere?

Top of Mount Seymour (4755 Feet)

The next day - Mt.Fromme - it's Wet!

Top of Mt. Fromme - wet!

The alarm on Saturday morning went off very early but not for me - Neil was heading out on a bagging expedition with Ean and David. The plan for them was to be on the trail by 6am and done by 6pm. The weather report Friday evening said heavy showers in the early morning clearing off later in the morning. I called Wendy and we made arrangements to start in the fairer weather so we didn't start up the trail until 10:30ish. The plan was to climb Seymour and De Pencier Bluffs, 2 Peaks in the Bagger Challenge. We originally thought we would waterbag them but due to time constraints changed our mind at the last minute. The sun came out and we had very nice views from the top of Seymour Mountain (4755 Feet). I remember the trail up Seymour from last year-very rocky. Conditions yesterday were perfect and the rocks were dry. There is a few technical sections/drop offs but overall very straight forward on a well travelled trail. The De Pencier Bluffs provided a great view of Vancouver as well. The trail had low brush and a few piles of fresh Bear scat! We were up and down in good time and went for coffee. Emails and text messages from the guys - all is well. I drove home with anticipation of Neil being home by 7pm as his 5:58am text message indicated. David had been sending home SPOT messages to Julia and Neil was good with emails/texts to let us know of their progress. It was obvious they decided to take on a little more than they originally planned. "Running a bit behind schedule" one message said. The skies darkened with the early sunset and the storm clouds that were rolling in. The skies opened up and it was torrential rain for the rest of the night into early morning. I kept a watchful eye on my BB for any emails/texts. Julia and I were sharing messages. I searched the Internet to learn more about the trails they were on and started to worry with the terrible conditions and darkness they were in. They were in some tough terrain which would now be very dangerous and slippery. A few more SPOT messages. It was after 9pm (remember they started at 6am) with only the food and water they could carry. Finally a message from Neil they were at the point where they had ditched their bikes in the woods. I was relieved they were off the mountain but now they had to bike out in the pouring rain at 10pm - cold, very cold for 13km's in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve with the light from their headlamps. Neil showered up at Ean and Sibylle's had some warm soup before driving back to Maple Ridge. He was home at 1:30am. Once home he tells me the story about how he twisted his ankle on the way out. Nasty sprain - purple and swollen. I had a feeling something was up - spouse intuition! Neil declined bagging today but I convinced Wendy to come up Fromme for a quick trip to make it 3 bags this weekend. She turned it into a long run (she has already bagged Fromme this year.) Thanks Wendy!
For full gritty details of the guys expedition enjoy the posts on Club Fat Ass.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

6 Peaks Bagged in the Grouse Area

6 Peaks Bagged in one day! The top of West Crown Therefore, lots of photos below!!!

A nice sign post pointing out the various peaks!

It's Wet and Cold!

The Top of Goat Mountain.


Using the Chains to Get UP. What goes up must come down them too!

Rocky Section Heading up Crown Mountain.

Coming down West Crown - thanks for the trail markers David!

On the trail to West Crown - Crown in the background.

A view of Crown from the trail to West Crown

Neil and a view of the city between clouds.

On the return from West Crown - West Crown in the background.

Heading Up West Crown

Knarly Rock.

The last of the trees!

Don't look down!

Almost there!

The Top of Crown Mountain.

The clouds were rolling in!

Up! Up! Up!

The mist with some hidden vertical drops on the way to the summit of Crown Mountain.

Heading up the trail to Crown Mountain.

The main trail where the routes to Dam, Little Goat and Goat turn off from.

The day started out quite clear but by mid morning the mist started to roll in. We were up Grouse mountain to bag some peaks that are listed in the Bagger Challenge. Just beyond the Chalet you can climb to the top of Grouse Mtn. We came back down and paid a visit to Coola and Grinder the 2 Grizzly Bears in the bear habitat on the mountain. It was busy around the main chalet first thing in the morning but once we headed out on the trail that takes you to the peaks it was very quiet. We did not see another human for hours. Neil commented on the many piles of fresh bear scat in the area. The next peak after Grouse was Dam. Last year when we did these peaks it was a very icy day. It was nice to have a dry trail and dry rock this time. We were up and down quite quickly and then carried on to Little Goat. Minimal views at the top as the mist was rolling in. The next peak Goat had a couple of sections with chains to help you up and down some steeper rock sections. Once I got the technique down they were very helpful. The top of Goat was misty and cold. We didn't stay long and kept moving to stay warm. The trail to Crown Mountain is quite challenging with a little bit of everything along the way. It is steep, rooty, rocky, has a boulder field, vertical drops and it was starting to get wet and slippery. I had a couple of moments where I felt nervous crossing on rock that was exposed with vertical drops. Near the top of Crown it was misty and the clouds were moving fast so the vertical drops were hidden in the mist. Occasionally it would clear and Neil would say don't look down - and I didn't! The wind started to pick up when we were at the top of Crown so we did not stay long, we came back down and stopped for a bite to eat in a more sheltered location. The next Peak was West Crown. We saw the green tape marking the trail on the way up Crown so we knew where we had to turn off on the way down. The trail to West Crown was not as well travelled but was well marked (thanks David!). There were a couple of sections where I had to just sit down on my butt to get down. I actually ripped a couple of holes in my pants by the end of the day! I was tired on the way back to the Grouse Chalet at the end of the day - my hands were cold from the wet, soggy gloves. Time to put 2 pairs of gloves in the pack! Once we were lower down we could hear the sounds of the Zip Treck which was welcoming knowing that we were getting close to the chalet. We managed to catch the Gondola down just before it was departing - perfect timing as we were wet and cold. Once down first stop was to get a coffee to go. A quick change into dry clothes and we called Wendy who couldn't join us today to let her know we were down. It was a 9 hour day - that's 6 more peaks!

Monday, September 6, 2010

6 Peaks Bagged this Weekend in the Bagger Challenge!

Wendy and I at the top of Black Mountain - #3 in the day, #6 this weekend. #3 for the day. Almost there! Strachan, #2 for the day. Neil and I - Strachan. Hollyburn, #1 for the day. It was WET! Climbing up to Hollyburn - nice trail! A view of Cathedral Mountain - better weather on Saturday. Working our way down between peaks before climbing back up! Top of Burwell - 5,080 feet. #3 Peak for Saturday - Burwell Working our way between Coliseum and Burwell over the rocks. Coliseum - 4,755 feet. The Seymour Reservoir down below where we started climbing from. The top of Paton - 3,300 feet. Our bikes hidden in the woods. It was a long weekend which gave us that extra day for bagging some peaks in the Club Fat Ass Bagger Challenge. Saturday's weather conditions were great for climbing mountains, today Monday was not ideal but off we went! Saturday we did what is called a "water bag" were you self propel yourself from sea level to the top of a mountain. We rode our bikes from the ocean into the Lower Seymour Conservation Forest which is a fantastic area to ride bikes(no cars). It was uphill all the way! All 3 of us were on mountain bikes and were passed by several "pelotons" of road bikes. Ah...but we were having a very good warm up for what was to come! 14km uphill later we hid the bikes and some water for the return ride. We found the trail to the right that goes to the 3 peaks Paton, Coliseum and Burwell. 10 minutes on the trail and Wendy shouts "ouch, ouch". Well...that means wasps! We took off - charging up this rooty uphill until we felt we were well away. Wendy took 1 sting on her elbow and she faired well with it for the rest of the day. The first peak Paton had a very pleasant plateau where we stayed for a few minutes for a bite to eat. We could see the next 2 peaks from Paton and carried on to Coliseum. On our way up Coliseum we found a wallet dropped on the trail. Full of ID and cards we picked it up and wondered when it was dropped. We looked at the picture ID and the name and knew the owner was fortunate that we would make sure it was returned to him. Shortly after finding the wallet 2 younger guys (younger than us!) appeared over a rock - first hikers spotted so far. One of them resembled the photo in the wallet...we ask if he is the name in the wallet. He was hesitant and then admitted to his identity. We told him we found his wallet. He took it and grunted...I couldn't resist as we pulled are very welcome I remark. We never did get a thank-you. Our conversation over Coliseum revolved around manners. You never know what interesting characters you will find on the trail. Coliseum was all rock - easy to traverse over. A nice reward from all the climbing we had done to get up there. The rocky surface continued on to Burwell. We did a few downs and ups that looked like the top but of course were false summits. Finally we see the cairn on top marking the summit. We had great views. Another bite to eat, took a few photos and started to retrace our route. We made good time coming down and were pleased to get by the wasp nest with no stings. The bikes were still there (always a bit of a concern) and we now had a 14km ride downhill which was very refreshing. A great day out - 9 hours total including the bike ride both ways. A great way to get us back into the Bagger Challenge. Sunday evening during dinner with friends we received a text message from Craig and Dave. They were spending the night out there where we bagged the 3 peaks on Saturday. Their plan was to carry on and climb Cathedral Mountain. Over night the rain was heavy and we were concerned if they were OK. Monday was the holiday and we decided to head out again despite the rain. We chose 3 Peaks fairly close together to keep it safe in the poor weather. Hollyburn, Strachan and Black are all accessible off of the Cypress Mountain parking lot (where the Olympic Freestyle skiing and Snowboarding were held). It was a quiet day on the hills! Good news from Craig and Dave they were down and fine! Total of 6 peaks for the weekend. We have until the end of the month to complete more peaks in the challenge. ;-)