||hiking|| [Vancouver] Mt. Strachan North Summit

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Breath-taking view from the North Summit of Mt. Strachan (elevation gain: 1440m)

Notes: the following review is based on my trip taken on Saturday, May 21, 2016 – which is in between the snow-shoeing season (ends in early May) and the hiking/climbing season (starting June/July). that being said, this trip offers a totally different experience from other reviews I read on the internet before my trip: it is a mixture of hiking (1/3 part – at the beginning of the trail, where the snow is melted), snow-walking (1/6 part, even though we did not bring any snowshoes), and rock+snow climbing (1/2 part, to get to the North Summit)

Brief Summary:

  • Level of difficulty: intermediate (for me: advanced) 😀
  • Round trip: 4-5 hours
  • Elevation gain: about 500m (1440m above sea level)

How to get there:

  • The 1st best option: by car
  • The 2nd best option (which is what we did): by transit and taxi
    • Take any express bus via Park Royal at the bus top in between Seymour and West Georgia St.
    • Get off at Park Royal and call a cab to get to Cypress Provincial Park 😀 (it costs about $40 to get there – and there were 6 of us – so it was very cost effective 😀 )
    • From the parking lot, turn right to get to the Lodge
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From here: turn right to get to the Lodge

The Hike:

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Breath-taking view from the North Summit of Mt. Strachan (elevation gain: 1440m)
  1. The 1/3 hiking part:
    • To the right of the lodge, there is a ski area. Go there and take the left trail (call Horizon on the Park’s map)
    • Continue on the Horizon trail until getting to the Top Gun trail (plz see on the map)
    • It is similar to other trails through the woods with small streams, falls, and big trees along the way
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a huge tree on our way crossing a small stream 😀
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We got a bit of a view towards the end of the Horizon trail

2. The short 1/6 “snow-walking part” – I mean, the part with some snow where the ground and the rock are quite flat:

  • This is where we met the snow – a quite flat area where there are 2 paths welcoming us:
    • a left trail where we saw most people took
    • a right trail where only our group (11 young persons 😉 ) took (later on, there was a man also taking it and he was faster than most of us) 😀
  • There’s not much to say about this short path (I said 1/6, but it should just be 1/20 of the trail – I’m just lazy doing the maths 😀 )
  • Keep in mind that if you take this trail at the same time as we did – the snow is melting, hence you are essentially walking on a snowy surface which underneath there could be rocks (good) or… a running stream/hollow area above the stream and beneath the snow (you surely don’t want to misplace your feet and fall down there)

3. The snow/rock climbing part (most of the trip):

  • This is when it gets very steep – it could be a perfect skiing trail in the winter, or a rock climbing trail in the summer. And we got a mixture of both 😀
  • I believe the elevation gain we got from this part is about 900m – gaining in somewhat around 2-3 km – because we mostly climb/”hike” on a steep surface
  • I could only take this photo at the beginning of the climb/”hike” because as it get steeper, I needed to focus and concentrate all my energy to continue. And I am a person who is scared of height – so I could not look back or look up during it. (I looked back a few times and had to close my eyes and told myself not to scare and must complete this challenge 😀 )
  • Given that I was the slowest one in my group, I am very thankful for all other friends who waited for me and encouraged me throughout the way ❤ ❤ ❤
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This is taken at the beginning of the climb/hike – when I was not out of my breath yet 😀
  • There are 2 summits: the North and the South Strachan. We decided to climb to the North Summit because it is higher and offers a better view
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I believe this photo was taken when we were taking a “banana break” before getting to the North Summit. Everyone was eating a banana 😀 😀 😀
  • And we finally got the the North Summit 😀 (after 2.5 – 3 hours or so, I guess)
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View from the North Summit!!! We did it!!! ❤ ❤ ❤
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The far-away string of land is the land of the City of Vancouver, Burnaby, and North Vancouver 😀 😀 😀 And a grey cloud is coming…!!!
  • We enjoyed our lunch, fruit, water, and photo-time at the top for nearly one hour

 

You might wonder: How we got back down:

  • Regularly, if people go hiking to Mt. Strachan in the summer months, after having “conquered” the North Summit, we should also get to the South summit – which is 10 minutes close to the North summit – and then get back down from a trail at the South summit. Why? Because it is steep and rocky (hence challenging and might be unsafe) to get back from the way we climb/”hike” up here.
  • Our way up to the North Summit, however, still has snow 😀 so we chose the fastest – and also the most FUN way to get back down: run/slide down through the snow 😀
    • Notes: we did not slide all the way down at one. we divide the way down into 6-7 shorter sliding parts, each about 100-150 meters long (because the way down is not straight, we want to avoid the trees, the rocks on the sides, and the… stream underneath us) 😀
    • For myself, I am both scared of height and did not know how to slide down through the snow. In my first try to slide down, my speed was too fast (from a steep hill only a few meters high), so I almost hit the trees next to a steep cliff and fell down if it was not for my friend standing in front of the trees to stop/”catch” me (phew!!!! 😀 ). He showed me how to brake by using my leg and heel to slow myself. It was difficult at first but I eventually to control my speed 😉 I hit a branch of a tree hidden in snow in one slide but the snow was soft so I did not hurt myself 😀
    • Some guys in my group ran down
    • Some other girls slide down using a plastic bag as their sledge (super fast and fun)
    • Some like me slide down using our butts 😀 I was lucky that a friend of mine gave me her snow pants for the whole trip, so I could slide freely without having my butts wet 😀
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A photo on our way sliding down. Everyone was having lots of fun ❤ 😀 <3. See the wooden log in the middle of our way down? It’s one of the many reasons why we needed to divide the road back into short parts 😛

Personal lessons learned from the trip:

  • I need to work out more to increase my health and strength 😀
  • Be prepared:
    • Bring not only one pair, but extra pairs of gloves (I did not bring ANY)
    • Same for socks (preferably long ones)
    • Extra shoes if I think my feet might get wet in a trip (I did not bring any – so after the trip, because of the snow, both my shocks and shoes are soaked in cold water)
    • Bring a towel to dry your hand or your feet if they get wet (or sweaty 😀 )
    • Sunglasses and lots of sunscreen B-)
    • Hair ties, hair pins, or any thing to keep your hair in place/away from your face
    • Bring something flat&light for sitting down
    • Bring 1-1.5 liters of water depending on the duration/difficulty of the hike
    • Foods:
      • Fruit with juice/sugar/vitamins: nectarine, oranges, bananas etc.
      • Fruit juice or energy drinks
      • Sandwiches & … granola bars
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