Steven Song's Peak-bagging Journey

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Northshore & Sea to Sky

Steven Song
 
Unnecessary Mountain
Jul 28, 2010

This was my first long hike in 2010. The sky was obscured by a thick layer of smoke from forest fire ...more

. In that situation, the views would be limited, but not in sunset hours. So we decided to go to Cypress Provincial Park in afternoon and hike the Howe Sound Crest Trail. After watching sunset, we would head back in the darkness. This was my first trip with James Li. We went all the way to the north summit of Mt. Unnecessary passing St. Mark’s Summit, and watched sunset at the south summit of Mt. Unnecessary on the way back. In the darkness, it was way harder to negociate direction than I thought, even though we had a flashlight. As a result, we hiked in a very slow pace, and finally reached our vehicle at about 0:30am.
Cypress Provincial Park is located in West Vancouver, and belongs to the westernmost part of Northshore Mountains Region. The mountain range is Britannia Range, which has the highest peak, Mt. Brunswick (1785m) in this region.

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Steven Song
 
Stawamus Chief
Nov 12, 2009

Our original plan was to hike Howe Sound Crest Trail in Cypress Provincial Park, but due to the amou ...more

nt of snow, it was impossible without snowshoes. So that’s why there are some pictures taken in Cypress Provincial Park.
Stawamus Chief is the landmark of Squamish, just on the east side of Sea to Sky Highway. This huge granite dome is claimed to be the second largest granite monolith in the world, topping 700m above the adjacent water body, Howe Sound. We followed a well maintained trail to the centre summit. The trail is short, but steep. On top of the Chief, Howe Sound and Squamish Valley dominate the view to west. Looking north, Mt. Garibaldi was hidden in clouds, with its summit merely shows up. Overall, with little effort, we got great views.

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Steven Song
 
Paul Ridge & Opal Cone
Oct 11, 2009

In the last day of summer in 2009, I did the longest hike so far, over 40km in total in one day. Gar ...more

ibaldi Provincial Park is definitely the best place to visit near Vancouver. With a blue sky day, it worths to explore Diamond Head Area, located just northeast of Squamish, in southern Garibaldi Provincial Park. Although this area is not as famous as Garibaldi Lake / Black Tusk, the trails offer absolutely equal-quality-views.
The trail head is a bit far away from the highway, and the approaching road is not paved for the last part. BAD! From the parking lot, it’s 5km to Red Heather, and then another 6km to Elfin Lakes. This 6km trail from Red Heather to Elfin Lakes is above tree line, so we got great views of Tantalus Ridge, Mt. Garibaldi, and Mamquam Mountains. From Elfin Lakes, there is still 6.5km to Opal Cone, an extinct volcano with a crater, but with only 250 elevation change. There are some hands on scrambling sections, but no real difficulty. The view from Opal Cone is magnificant, and we took a loop on the cone, to soke in the views. To west, it’s Mt. Garibaldi and Garibaldi Neve. To north, Garibaldi Glacier shows up, which is a perfect winter backcountry ski destination. To east, the view to Mamquam Mountains and it’s glacier is better than from Elfin Lakes. To southwest, it’s The Gargoyles, our next objective in this day. See next trip report.

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Steven Song
 
The Gargoyles
Oct 11, 2009

Since the trail to the saddle is called the gargoyle trail, I would call this summit The Gargoyle. I ...more

t's just north of Columnar Mountain. Technically I should ascend Columnar instead of this unofficial summit, but what I need to mention here is, by the time of 2009, I was not a scrambler, so I couldn't even think about ascending a mountain with no trail. I did this one as a side trip of the more scenic Opal Cone. From Elfin Lakes to the saddle, there is about 3km one way with 300 elevation gain. From the saddle, the official trail keeps goin forward towards Little Diamond Head, while scrambling left or right on easy terrain leads you to Columnar and The Gargoyle, respectively. Finally, it’s time to go home... But, by the time we reached Red Heather, it was dark already, and we had to hike the final 5km in woods with our cell phones... Too bad we didn’t bring flashlights. Now I know 42km in one day is definitely doable.

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Steven Song
 
Grouse Mountain
Oct 4, 2009

One week after the long hike to The Black Tusk, we headed to Grouse Mountain, which is much less dem ...more

anding. This mountain is one of the northshore mountains, so it’s closer as well. Instead of taking the tourist route, the gondola, we hiked up via Grouse Grind. On top of Grouse Mountain, we can have a bird’s view of the Great Vancouver, Straight of Georgia, or even Mt. Baker. Apart from that, the fensed Grizzly Bears attract tourists. Those bears are something you won’t see in other mountains, at least, not in this distance. Since the hike was short, I also hiked towards Dam Mountain, but I didn’t continue to the summit since my dad wasn’t following me. On the way back, we stopped at Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver to take pictures of West Vancouver.

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Steven Song
 
Mystery Peak & Pump Peak
Aug 2, 2009

In the first week of August, my family did a short hike with Emma Wang. We chose Mt. Seymour as our ...more

objective. However, the day was extremely hot and smoky. Actually it’s not a good idea to go out and do a hike in these kind of days, because you dehydrate a lot, but only get limited views. We didn’t continue to the true summit, since we wouldn’t get any better views, so we turned back after reaching the false summit. Instead we tried about 1.5 kilometers on Elsay Lake Trail.

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Photos taken by Steven