Coliseum Mountain - Dec.04.2010 - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 01:46 AM Thread Starter
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Default Coliseum Mountain - Dec.04.2010

I went to Coliseum Mountain with a group of VOCers and took the responsibility of writing the TR, so just a copy&paste for those of you who are interested in the current condition.

We met together at the trailhead around 8:30 on a beautiful but frosty morning. The temperature reading on my thermometer was -5°C when we started heading out around 8:45. The Lynn Headwater trail by the river was mostly of frozen compact snow, so we had to be careful on the icy parts; for example, the steps onto the bridges and small slippery slopes. Yaktrax or those cleat traction devices would probably help. It took us about 1.5 hours to get to the Coliseum trailhead turnoff. After a short break, a few of the group decided they would take it easy and just go visit the falls, while the rest of us took the “DANGER – Trail Closed – Hazardous Snow Conditions” sign as a green light to start our ascent, at around 10:40. The steep part of the trail right after the turnoff was frozen solid, we put on our snowshoes not long after (for traction not snow); but I'll have to say crampons probably worked better in that condition. About another hour later, we started meeting some fresh stuff. Around noon time, we met two guys coming down, saying they followed a creek and ended up in a steep gully so they bailed. We were lucky to have experienced backcountry people in our group, so with their excellent map-reading skills, we were able to keep going in the correct direction and found flaggings here and there. We eventually reached the warm sun rays and decided to take lunch break at a point with some views of The Needles and the city. Temperature suddenly jumped from -2°C to +8°C in the sun. I was getting lazy in the warm sun and had a hard time to get back up again. The group decided to push on for the summit, agreeing to come back down in the darkness. (A sunset on the summit of Coliseum was even an idea.) However, most of us didn't have much food left in our supply (i.e. only one bar), so we knew we were going to be starving on the way back. The fresh snow started getting softer and deeper as we gained more elevation. Trail-breaking was strenuous in some steep sections (snowshoes sank in to shins). Good news was the views started showing up in all directions as well. We saw naturally shaped snowballs like cinnamon buns rested on the slopes they came down from; elegantly bent trees with neat snow formations on top; and blankets of white covered the hills. Winter wonderland would be an understatement for that gorgeous day. With the deeper snow and the late time of the day, most of us started getting tired. So, when we reached the last knoll before the real summit, the group made the decision of heading down; except two fast-paced members continued on and successfully summitted Coliseum. We quickly took some photos of the surroundings and began our descent, at around 15:20. The way down was definitely more fun with snowshoe-skiing, butt-sliding, random jumping; until we ran out of powder, where I could easily feel a crust layer lying beneath the fresh snow – so had to be careful not to have my snowshoes stuck in the hard stuff. The two summit baggers soon caught up with us. The icy condition required some cautious negotiation in some steep parts of the traverse. I lost grip on a mini slope and slid down, luckily stopped the momentum soon enough without hitting a tree. We started putting on headlamps halfway into the traverse down the mountain. The decent size of our group definitely made the trek in the dark more comfortable – I do not want to get down that mountain alone in the dark. By that time, it was only the “chee-chu chee-chu” sound of our snowshoes scratching the icy snows against the quiet darkness in the woods (I wish I took a short video to show this.) Just as I was about to get sick of the descent and my knees started yelling at me not any more, we reached the bottom, at around 17:30. Yes, we made it! Approximately 7 hours (4.5hrs up and 2.5hrs down, including breaks), just as what the park board suggested… :P Despite tiring bodies and most empty stomach, our spirits were high, until… we realized there were still seven more boring kilometers to cover by the creek, in addition, another 1.5 km to the parking and bus stop. Boo… Some of us couldn't resist providing some free dance show on natural ice rinks as entertainment for us, and the stars were out in full force on the clear dark sky. Less than another two hours later, we got back to civilization. You know, warm showers and yummy food are well-deserved in order.

It was a great day to dust off my snowshoes. I always enjoy nailing some sunny days during shoulder seasons. Some photos:

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 09:30 AM
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A long and worthwhile day!
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 05:46 PM
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Nice report, thanks for sharing. The snow definitely helps for the descents on those longer journeys. Nice view of the North Shore from up there eh?
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 06:04 PM
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Ah a beautiful day for getting up there. Thanks for sharing the pretty snow pictures.... One really suggestive photo catches my eye.

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 10:00 PM
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Nice to see so many of you out there enjoying the blue skies. Thanks for the report.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 12-08-2010, 10:38 PM
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Yes,man, that's how to beat the crowds on a beautiful day. You didnt have to drive far (or at all!) and you I'll bet you saw nobody on the 'ascent' portion of your trip! Good job.

That's why i hit the harv that day.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 12-09-2010, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the comment!

And... yes, @timv: We didn't have enough car seats for all so some of us had to take bus up to the gate - which is awesome to me. No kidding, there was literally nobody on that trail, we only met a party of 2 who were lost and came down early. I'd say that is a good solitary destination if you want sometime by yourself - even without a car...
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 12-09-2010, 06:15 PM
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Nice!!
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 12-10-2010, 01:51 PM
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I was one of those two guys coming down the mountain haha. disappointing day!
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 12-10-2010, 07:00 PM
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Beautiful pictures
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