Al's Habrich Ridge (Squamish Gondola) - Page 2 - ClubTread Community

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post #16 of (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 07:32 AM
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It looks like someone moved the bench into the water. It was high and dry a couple of weeks ago:
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post #17 of (permalink) Old 07-22-2014, 10:01 AM
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Neverland is a trials moto trail that was built prior to the gondy going in.
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post #18 of (permalink) Old 10-10-2014, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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Oct 9, 2014:

Update on Neverlands Loop trail. Fully marked and cleared, it splits about 5 minutes before Neverland Lake. Considerably more rough than (official) Al's trail, it heads steeply up and reaches junction marked with arrows beneath huge cliff. Rope is attached here for assistance:


Sign claims 1/2 hr right for the falls, 1/2 hr left for loopback to Al's trail, but this is quite inaccurate. Neverland Falls are reached in mere 10 minutes along mostly horizontal trail heading under the cliffs to pretty cirque that hosts pool filled by the falls. Merely a trickle now; probably much different in the spring:


This is the end of official trail. It is possible to scramble a bit further to upper falls. If you look carefully on picture above, there is flag in upper right corner. Up and across boulder field, then turn left and ascend to higher cirque that is semi-open and has more light:


No signs of further traffic. Return back to junction, then loopback to Al's trail. This will take about 40 minutes. Heads north for quite some time under that same big cliff, then turns sharp left and exits to wide-open bluff with pretty darn good views of Howe Sound and Tantalus; fall colors on full display:


Couple of ropes here assist down moderately angled bluff, then exit back to Al's trail at Robins Junction. This will be new upper Al's Habrich ridge trail; they are clearing and marking it right now. Here's the map stapled on tree at the junction (as well as trailhead near the Gondola):


It appears it will join the steep trail I described at top of this report during my initial visit somewhere past western sub-summit. I followed this trail for a bit, and it is quite nice (flags and markers) and cleared. Not steep at all, with good views of Diamond Head and Squamish River Valley. Might head to explore if there is another nice day before my season pass expires.

I also saw signs of several other trails in making. I am quite certain with time entire western part of Habrich ridge will be criss-crossed with variety of official gondola trails; they heavily advertise Habrich ridge as their flagship hiking destination. Oh, and fall colors are on full display - Neverland Lake looked amazing


Still lots of blueberries as well. Neverland loop is fantastic extension to current terminus of Al's Habrich ridge trail at Neverland Lake; my suggestion to all you wanderungs, NSH B hikers etc is to check it out - it is more than worth. About 4-5 hrs return time from gondola.
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post #19 of (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 12:33 AM Thread Starter
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Oct 26 2014
Explored Robins connector to upper Habrich ridge. Map from my Oct 9 post advertise it as less steep alternative to flagged route above Neverland lake from top of report. I'll say right away this is much better way up. Sections are still steep and rough, but entire route is considerably more scenic! Branch off at Neverland Falls trail (return leg!) and after 10 minutes or so watch for set of flags heading NE at bottom of long low-angle cliff that has rope attached. There is little trail to speak off, but it is well flagged and sections have been brushed. Going is fairly easy initially, but soon you enter drainage that had creek flowing and was slippery. Cairns help here. The goal is to hike to backside of Bernar cliff which looks impassable from the front. About 30 minutes past Neverland trail steep grassy gully appears on the right (south) - and this is where flags lead you.


It is about the same difficulty as section above Neverland Lake, but much shorter. Two sections with ropes. Lots of wet low shrub and snow appeared - all that soaked me to the bone. Going is now easier but there is no trail - so watch for flags and cairns that mark easiest way up series of benches:


On top - about 1 1/2 hour and 450 vertical you come to wide open meadow with several tarns and pretty darn good view of Mt. Habrich - something I missed on Neverland Lake trail. This would be fantastic place to spend a night by the way - flat, soft and plenty of water


This is good turnaround point, of short with time. Flags continue south and enter boulder field under ridge high-point ("peak that can be seen from Smoke Bluffs", according to Robins map):


Going is fairly unpleasant here as boulders were wet and slippery. Continuing past this obstacle route emerges to meadow and links up with route from Neverland Lake; about 20-30 minutes from the shoulder. I wish I could have stayed more but I had only 2 hours left till last Gondola download and really did not feel like hiking down Sea-to-Summit under headlamp yet again, so I turned back. It will take about 2 hours from shoulder down to Gondola, reasonably fast pace. Careful descent -- managed not to slip even once -- and side visit to Yukos ponds; this is new trail just being cleared and will be similar extension as Neverland Falls are to current end of official Al's Habrich Gondola trail:


Finally GPS map that shows both routes: Neverland from original report on right side, Robins on left. One can make very nice loop this way for very satisfying day out:


Finally, as they are shutting gondola down for maintenance in about a week this is likely my last trip up here. I'm typically not wowed by something that is not in the Rockies, but this fabulous area where small wonder waits behind each corner got me completely under its spell. Fantastic back-country, well worth coming back to over and over!
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post #20 of (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 09:39 AM
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Thanks for the update. We will have to work a little harder next time and get to that nice looking ridge!
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post #21 of (permalink) Old 10-27-2014, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Mr B. I looked at your report before heading out & recognized couple of shots. Instead of following flags up steep gully you continued up the draw to viewpoint some 10-15 mins ahead. I left this for return, but ran out of time.

Want to add couple more shots, as Robins connector is such a great route with fantastic views. First meadowy shoulder where Habrich comes into view. Views back to Tantalus are good as well (2nd photo); and you can also see Sky Pilot and Ledge (3rd photo). Bump along Habrich west ridge is kinda in the way -- this would be grand unobstructed view of entire Shannon horseshoe and I believe it is no more than an hour from there:


There are also good views down to Indian FSR. This is the valley sometimes used for approach for ascent of Habrich via NE route, as in this report, as well as several other objectives simonc has documented over the years. You can also see Muligan (left), Anif (center, heart shaped) and connecting ridge to Baldwin to right - all great snowshoe trips:


Finally the spot where one can branch for side trip to Yukos ponds. Cross slabs above this small waterfall (fed by ponds outlet), and follow blue flags for some 10 minutes. It is possible to re-connect with Robins route from there; it is steep up couple of bluffs with ropes attached:
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post #22 of (permalink) Old 11-02-2014, 12:40 AM Thread Starter
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Nov 1 2014
I thought last week visit was last one for season, but beautiful blue skies and last day before gondola close made me head up Habrich ridge once again. This time I thought I'd follow my own suggestion and hike a loop. Up via Robins and down via Neverland - fitting finale to the season that saw me re-visiting trail I explored on my 1st visit (top of report). 6 hrs, about 950 vertical and ~12km. GPS Tracks of entire loop:


Critical point I want to add bit more info is link between two trails (Robins - Neverland) in upper alpine. Above Robins Shoulder (great camping and awesome views of Habrich) flags lead up shallow draw to large boulder field under the cliffs of sub-peak. This boulder field is clearly visible on Google Earth. It will take about 2 1/2 hrs of moderate pace from Gondola up to here; awesome views of Diamond Head and Squamish Valley (can you spot the Chief?):


This is where flags fade out and it becomes unclear where to go. Bit of poking uncovered 2 options: "high" and "low" route. Both had flags visible in the distance. From Robins hand drawn map (pic in one of previous posts) it is obvious that "high" route is continuation of West Habrich Ridge ("lovely terrace"). This route hugs base of steep cliffs, then climbs up to saddle from where diagonal ramp descends on east side of sub-peak towards remainder of west ridge. Very slippery and thin sheet of ice on boulders made things very awkward. At one point I slipped on icy rock and rolled over; no consequences except of minor cut on my palm, but made me re-think the strategy. So I descended and took low route. No trails and nothing has been brushed off, but it descends easily grassy draw to another pretty (frozen) tarn, just under the ridge shoulder and end of flagged route from Neverland Lake from top of report. From here I found way to scramble up; some bluffs and bush, but nothing harder than class 2 and soon I was in familiar territory from top of report. Pics -- note difference how that little tarn looked today, and how it looked way back in June (pic also stapled in Google Earth, so if you browse - it's mine):


Descent on Neverland leg is steep and quite brutal. Steepest part is first slope down to basin with lake. In my June visit it was under snow cover which made things much easier. This time - crawling down wet and icy bluffs, and utterly unpleasant. It is also not brushed and very sparsely flagged till the lake, which tells me they likely abandoned this route completely. Down at mid-terrace and pretty darn nice colors around lake that has already frozen:


From here to Neverland Lake (end of official gondola Habrich trail) trail is well-defined, way wider than it was in spring -- it saw quite a bit of traffic during the summer. It is still very steep and several shinning new ropes were placed in the meantime. No further incidents and down to Gondola for last ride down at 6 pm, with quite a few stares at my muddy clothes from all the slipping and sliding down wet terrain. Couple of more visuals of Howe Sound - can never get tired of it:


Finally I highly recommend this loop for fit party not uncomfortable on steep terrain with occasional class 2 scrambling up bluffs and some route-finding. Counter-clockwise direction (up Neverland, down Robins) is preferred due to steeper Neverland leg which is easier to climb than descend. If going straight for west Habrich ridge, Robins route is faster and easier. There is much room for further wondering and exploration in this beautiful alpine with stunning views.
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post #23 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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October 2015 update

This time I went the furthest, about halfway between 1st highpoint and base of Habrich. This thread, started when this ridge was fairly new and unknown, has quite a bit of "left and right" information. Now that I'm very familiar with whole thing, here's the easiest and most direct line: (GPS track will be available for download)

1) From upper gondola terminal follow marked "Al's Habrich ridge" trail
2) After marker 32 (about 45min to an hour) be on a lookout for marked "Yukos ponds" junction. It will be on your left. If you reach open platform with wide sweeping views of Howe Sound you have gone too far
3) Follow Yukos trail (blue flags, red markers) for 10-15 minutes to set of beautiful ponds below great Barnar cliff
4) From west end of 2nd pond turn left on marked "Robins connector" (spelled wrong - 'connectEr') and follow flags for 5 mins or so to Robins trail. Turn left and follow up for about 40 mins to "Robins shoulder" with first views of Habrich and Sky Pilot group
5) Tricky part: Goal is to scramble up to first highpoint directly above you (labelled wrong -- "Stawamus Squaw" on Google Earth). Follow flags at base of peak, then turn left and scramble up first prominent wide talus / grass gully. After you clear first set of boulders, trail develops and rest is obvious
6) From highpoint follow flags down "lovely grassy terrace" leading down, then turn left and continue generally in straight line towards Habrich. Trail is now generally non-existing with flags few and far in between.

There are several ups and downs. I went to second highpoint, and to reach it there is one tricky downclimb. It looks worse from above than it really is; I thought it was class 3. It is possible to bypass to the right by descending quite a ways, then circling around but this is not really necessary.

Views from near my turnaround point: It will take about 3 hours from upper gondola terminal of reasonably fast pace to get here.




Write up with more high-res photos, map and downloadable GPS track here
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Last edited by zeljkok; 11-02-2015 at 05:52 PM.
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post #24 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 11:14 AM
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@zeljkok - have you had a chance to follow the flagging and explore all the way to Habrich peak yet?
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post #25 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecarter1 View Post
@zeljkok - have you had a chance to follow the flagging and explore all the way to Habrich peak yet?
Eric - no, this is the farthest I got. I need summer day & gondola open till 9 pm for whole thing -- I poke around a lot, stop for photos etc. Eventually I will do a loop (return via valley trail). But I love this area so much I think I'm almost finding excuses to come back next time

I assume you asked since you placed the flagging? I can give you feedback -- there are couple of confusing parts, specially if one is coming back along the ridge after approach via valley trail. Several CT'ers have done that and got lost at some point.

There are 2 places that need better flagging/direction (assume coming back from Habrich, i.e. heading west):

1) When you come to base of first highpoint ("Stawamus Squaw" at Google Earth), grassy terrace leads right and up. However there are no visible flags and if I didn't know I'd wonder if I needed to go left, right or even up

2) When grassy terrace comes to a col, there is large cairn but again not clear where to go. Logical actually seems straight -- but correct is right and up to the highpoint. There is skimpy flag higher up, but hard to see

I also had problems on my previous trips finding where to go from Robins shoulder to first highpoint -- sharp left up the boulder field and talus gully is not obvious, although there is trail higher up.

These remarks is just to make it all dead obvious.. I think it is generally fine as it is now, as it leaves room for exploring so I'm happy
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post #26 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 02:13 PM
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Got lost multiple times coming back from Mt. Habrich along Al's Habrich Ridge last month. Vlad and I approached via "sky pilot valley", ascended the NNW Face, then it's time to explore.. We did no research. There's some flaggings and paths. Helpful for the most parts but not sufficient enough at some places. First high point up and over; second high point traverse on the rocky plateau on the north side. The next bump you go up and over and then it's probably Zeljkok's turn-around point.

Full trip report:
http://stevensong.com/mount-habrich

Last edited by StevenSong; 10-25-2015 at 02:20 PM.
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post #27 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Steven - you must remember that climb nearing the west end of the ridge; bit of dead trees at the bottom, then up a cliff couple of steps (class 3 I thought). Is there anything harder going further towards base of Habrich?
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post #28 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 02:30 PM
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I haven't done any work or placed any flagging on that section so can't take the blame

I agree that it is sparsely flagged. It really needs to be brushed out and maybe some rerouting done on some of the areas where it goes over 3rd/4th class rock steps since it is likely easily avoidable.

Someday...
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post #29 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 02:46 PM
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Yes I remember that part. The path/flagging through that section was going straight up and down. Some bushwhacking and some scrambling. I don't remember anything harder than that step further along the ridge. We went off-route once and did some tricky stuffs to correct ourselves, avoidable had we backtracked. Ascending (from west) the last bump terrain is a bit slabby, needs route-finding and the grass is often wet.
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post #30 of (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenSong View Post
Got lost multiple times coming back from Mt. Habrich along Al's Habrich Ridge last month.
Me too. Very, very lost 2 weeks ago. Loved the area up there and will be back but the old flagged side trails are really confusing. I studied this original report very closely when I got home to try to determine where I got off track.

Like anywhere, the footbed will become more obvious I think as more people venture up there. So far my favourite jaunt off the Gondola as it involves the least road walking, and fewest people
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