Today, I took Sean (brother-in-law) “up into the mountains”. This is his first visit to BC, and wanted to see some of the BC mountains. The weather’s been pretty miserable for the week he’s been here, but the weather prognosticators indicated that they expected today to be better than the rest of the preceding (and following) days so I swapped my Labour Day holiday with today.
We got up late, had a largish breakfast and made it to Cypress Bowl by about 11:30 am. It was mostly sunny, with some puffy clouds haunting the mountain peaks. Gwen dropped us off in the parking lot with a promise to pick us up around 6 pm.
The Mt. Strachan (pronounced “Strawn”) hike is one I’ve done at least a half-dozen times and is one of my favourites. It starts in the Cypress Bowl parking lot and then you take the Howe Sound Crest Trail for about an hour towards The Lions. Eventually you come to a meadow on the west side of Mt. Strachan and a short trail to a ravine the goes up to a pass between the North and South peaks of the mountain. Climbing up the ravine (which is quite steep) is quite an endeavour.
Once you achieve the pass, you climb up a similarly steep trail to gain the North Peak. The view from the top is quite amazing, with a 360° view. The clouds broke just as we summited, making for the typical outstanding view.
After rehydrating and chowing down a bit, we climbed down the North Peak and ascended the South Peak. Along the way, we grabbed a geocache that hadn’t been found this year and had only been found once last year. The South Peak is the top of chair lifts for Cypress Mountain, and the hike down from the South Peak parallels the ski runs a bit, and about 2/3 of the way down, you are actually forced to walk along the access road/ski run.
We were within view of the parking lot by about 3:30 pm — clearly we made much better time than I expected — and gave Gwen a call. We made it down to the parking lot soon enough and then beat it over to the nearby Yew Lake to pick up another geocache before meeting Gwen and Aidan in the parking lot. And the rain held off until we were waiting to be picked up!
All in all, 8.8 km hiking, 730 m total elevation gain, about 4.5 hours total time including breaks.
The GPS track is shown below, along with a Google Earth plot of the hike.