Posts Tagged 'cypress mountain'

Roe Creek Road is now driveable

Approaching the end of Roe Creek Roa

As we approached the end of the Roe Creek Rd. and had our first glimpse of the slopes we'd climb, we saw we'd be on snow most of the time

The guide book, Scrambles, by Matt Gunn described the logging road up Roe Creek as a horror. Water bars begin at 6.8 km, and at 9 km a washout makes it impassable. The last 2-1/2 km must be walked. And then the hiking begins with a bushwhack down to the creek, followed by a reported hair raising boulder-hop across the torrent. Last Sunday (Aug 7) we decided to reconnoiter. The good news is: the whole road is easily navigated with a 4×4. The washout has been graded and the water bars are gone.   The whole road is probably passable with a 2-wheel drive. The images are thumbnails — please click to see full size.

We parked just past the last cut block. We chose that because the trip down to the creek seemed shorter than the end of the road.

Easy rock-hopping at the head of Roe Creek

It was easy to find our way up Roe Creek to the snow

After some thrashing around, we found a very helpful path at 50º 02′ 09.6″ N 123º 13′ 24.6″. It leaves the road just past a little bridge and heads down through the old growth forest to Roe Cr.

The flow on that side of the main Creek was fairly benign, and all we had to do was rock-hop until we found enough snow to support us. Most of the rest of the hike was on sometimes-steep snow. Lovely, and no bugs.

Lunch Rock below Cypress Peak

Lunch Rock below Cypress Peak, view of Black Tusk

Reclining Balance Rock

Reclining Balance Rock enjoying the view

When we turned back we were only about 1000 feet below Cypress Peak. The top would have been a fairly easy destination if we’d started earlier.

Even without climbing to a summit, it was an enjoyable day in a beautiful location.

Walking towards the east aspect of Cypress Peak

Walking towards the North-East facing cliffs of Cypress Peak

A couple of last comments. I see that I now have posted 301 blog articles at this site. And, since this blog was meant to be a short-term experiment, I never imagined that I’d leave a trail that is this long.

I’ve been to Cypress Peak before. My story of a ski trip to that mountain, with an approach from the other side, is here: Tabblo essay.

If you live around Vancouver, you might think that Cypress Mountain is a hill on the North Shore. Actually, there is no such mountain by that name. There is a resort that calls itself Cypress Mountain because it is within Cypress Provincial Park. This is the real nearby Cypress Peak.

A rainy day on the hill

We have hills, and we have snow. A little rain is no excuse for a backcountry skier not to ski. So, today we went to the local hill (during the Olympics they called it Cypress Mountain, but it is really Mt. Strachan). The good news is the commercial operation is closed for the season (at last). We were prepared for rain, so we had a good time. There is not much to say, but this is a web log — so this is really to log the conditions as of early May, 2010. This is a very short clip…

At the parking lot, about 3000 ft., the lower mountain looks like there is not much snow up there. Actually we found a good route up. By 3500 ft. there was lots of snow, and even a thin layer of fresh snow. Above 4000 ft the rain had turned to graupel and it was rattling off my Gore-tex. In cloud and snow there is not much to photograph… so there is only a tiny video clip taken at 4650 ft.

Magical Cypress Bowl — hovers above Vancouver

Cypress Bowl from a airplane approaching YVR

Cypress Bowl looks like a magical place above the City of Vancouver

The captain of the flight from Toronto pointed out Cypress Bowl, home of Olympic events, as we approached YVR this afternoon.

Last Cypress Bowl Ski before Olympics

Tomorrow, for security reasons, we backcountry skiers will not be permitted in Cypress Bowl until after the Olympics. Hollyburn Mountain is not a venue for the games, so that beautiful old growth forest will belong only to the security goons with guns. Today, the weather up in the bowl was mild (as everybody in the world seems to be learning) and foggy… but backcountry travellers are supposed to be able to handle anything (except lack of snow for skiing). So, we went there. The altitude where we start to ski up is about the same as most of the Olympic events. I have never seen so little snow at this time of the year — it looks like very late spring.

Hollyburn Mt. Trailhead - Cypress Bowl, BC

Snow conditions at the Hollyburn Mt. Hikers' Trailhead

Things improved with a bit of altitude, and above the Water Boards (top of the nordic trails) there was even some fresh wet snow.

On the Hollyburn Mt. summit trail, above the Water Boards

On the Hollyburn Mt. summit trail, above the Water Boards

There were very few people up there today. Instead of fighting churned up snow to the summit, somewhere above this point we headed off into the woods looking for some smooth glades.

The place to remove skins and start skiing

The place to remove skins and start skiing

We were alone in the woods. It was dark and foggy. And no other ski tracks. Somehow we missed our planned line and were heading into the unknown. So, we put skins on again and doubled back.

Suddenly we found ourselves on the slope we were seeking.

The slope to ski

The slope we wanted to ski

The only person who’d been here before us left a single snowshoe track. I don’t think I’ve  ever been the first to ski this pitch. It wasn’t powder… but I learned to ski in this lovely, soft, damp, west coast snow. It was marvellous. There was several inches of fresh snow over a firm base.

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