Hixon Peak (Indian Arm) - Nov 16 14 - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 11-18-2014, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Default Hixon Peak (Indian Arm) - Nov 16 14

South of Meslilloet and Bonnycastle and just east of Felix is the unofficially named Hixon Peak. At 1501m in height it has a large prominence of 875m which is 2nd to Brunswick for mountains north of Vancouver all the way to Sky Pilot. Heading south from Hixon the ridge system leads all the way to Dilly Dally and Eagle Peaks above Buntzen Lake.

Looking up Indian Arm from SFU with peaks labelled.

I'd planned on Hixon a couple of months back with the recent reopening of Stawamus-Indian River Road but was thwarted by 7 day a week active logging. So I explored around Granite Falls instead. Vlad informed me that some folks were trying for Bonnycastle on Saturday so I asked him to check in with Eugene afterwards for road/logging status. It was good and they summited Bonnycastle so we set out early the next day to drive a long way down Indian River from Squamish then up Hixon Creek FSR to near Hixon Pass (Coquitlam Watershed boundary).

Looking up the north side of Hixon. The peak just visible to the right of the high point.

We kind of knew that things could be bushy and it was as soon as we left the logging road to descend about 50m elevation to a small pond through an old clearcut. Bashing through that we enjoyed a 1 minute reprieve of old growth before ascending another bushy old clearcut to gain the forest again. 20-30 year old clearcuts aren't much fun as they feature many new evergreens along with a variety of bush interspaced between.

Once in the old growth things got better but there were still plenty of bushes along with steep terrain and cliff bands to get around. We went up a short ways then got forced left for a while to avoid some cliffs. Basically we travelled in a southwest direction up to about 950m elevation. No pictures but if you are familiar with west coast rain forest (and especially what lies down the whole Indian River Valley - remember my TRs on Jukes, Bonnycastle, Bivouac and Haggis) then you should get an idea.

A good portion of this trip featured branches and bushes being used to haul ourselves up or lower ourselves down. Vlad thought our Bivouac trip featured worse bush and I thought this was easier than Bonnycastle. Anyway, some parts did feature some short and easier travel and as we neared 900m in elevation a creek gorge materialized to our left. The grade eased a little here and we found a good spot to cross that creek and another one shortly after then turned more southward. A frozen tarn was a good spot to take a waypoint before we continue on with less trees but still plenty of bush interspaced with some heather - there were even some old blueberries left on the vine to chew on.

A ridge was gained and we were now in the Coquitlam Watershed for a brief while. One small talus slope was crossed (only talus seen on this trip) and we continued to encounter heavy vegetation and snow level was near 1000m elevation due to the northern side of things.

More cliffbands appeared which required some detours and/or class 3 vegetation scrambling. More heather and rock faces started to appear and we now had the choice of the north face or contouring over to the northeast ridge. The snow cover was easy to walk on but there was plenty of heavily iced rock faces too and we gradually ascended more to our left towards the NE ridge gaining it around 1350m or so.

Things are nice and open now with the sun finally shining on us as we hike/scramble towards the summit.

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ID:	3545 Vlad on the NE ridge with peaks of the Coquitlam/Pitt Divide layed out behind.

An open summit looked good off to the left (and the shorter south peak beyond) but that wasn't the high point. One more short push through some trees/bush and we reach the top. No cairn around and we forgot to build one too. Views were pretty good along with different aspects of many familiar peaks. The upper portions of this mountain are also at the far north end of the Indian Arm Provincial Park.

Looking NNW towards Sky Pilot and Habrich with The Tantalus Range at rear. Haggis is the knob in the front.

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ID:	3553 1501m summit shot with Meslilloet and Bonnycastle behind.

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ID:	3561 Cathedral along with Strachan, Unnecessary and The Lions to the west.

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ID:	3569 And a view southwards down Indian Arm towards Metro Vancouver and beyond.

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ID:	3649 Zooming in on Barnes Lake and Bonnycastle.

We figured to have an hour up here with enough daylight left to descend. Bushwacking and route finding in the dark is unpleasant business and best avoided. There was also an icy section of Stawamus-Indian River Road between km 10 and 11 (a waterbar failed with the water running down the road and freezing up) that was weighing a little bit on my mind.

Vlad headed over to the open sub peak and I soon joined him. The temperature inversion was nice to experience in the sun and there was no wind either.

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ID:	3577 Frozen tarn just off summit with a eastern view towards the Coquitlam/Pitt Divide: Five Fingers Group, Consolation Dome, Obelisk, Sharkfin and Peneplain.

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ID:	3585 Northeastern aspect looking at the upper Coquitlam River Valley with Bonnycastle at left and Five Fingers area right.

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ID:	3593 SSE towards Widgeon, Baker and Coquitlam Mountain.

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ID:	3609 Hixon summit area and a view up the Indian River Valley.

Packing up we retraced our steps with a few more stops by me for picture taking on the upper NE ridge.

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ID:	3601 The south side of Meslilloet.

Easy enough to follow our footsteps in the snow off the ridge and down the northern face. The rope was pulled out to handline down one steep/slick section.

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ID:	3641 Vlad handlining.

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ID:	3617 Back at the only talus section of the whole trip. Beyond that is a good idea of how things were - cliffs, trees and bush.

We loosely relied on a waypoint or two when the snow ran out and the forest closed in then turned right to get back near the upper creek gullies crossed earlier in the day. We actually came across the one cairn I'd built by the creek. Solid downhill from here and I realized as my hands got cut up that I'd left my gloves somewhere uphill - never got this many hand scratches on a bushwack before and even my neck was sore at the end from branch abrasion.

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ID:	3625 An idea of the forest.

Getting through the cliffband lower down went well and we reach the cutblock a little east of we where left it earlier. An old cedar snag was a good landmark so we dove into the young trees/bush and aimed for that then continued on but stayed with a finger of old growth lower down to avoid the other cutblock near the parking spot.

That kind of went okay but it was a duck/weave/thrash/swear for the final 10 minutes and we pop out 50 feet away from where we'd started and 15 minutes before sunset. The beer went down really well after that of course. If you don't mind putting up with 2-3 hours of bushwacking (note, this varies on your speed and ability) and route finding each way, like obscure peaks (or are desperate for new ones near Vancouver), enjoy nice views and good scrambling opportunities up high (not so much this day with snow and ice cover) then check out this peak.

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ID:	3633 Overview of area and rough idea of route.

The drive out went fine and we got up the iced over road section then stopped to clear the downside a little to get the water flowing off the road before continuing on to Squamish and then home. A little under 7 hours round trip with about 1000m cumulative elevation.
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Last edited by simonc; 02-12-2016 at 03:39 AM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 01:30 PM
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Nice to get back to the car before sundown, bushwacking in the dark isn't much fun. Your trip reports have great detail, i'll have to try and take more mental notes as i hike along.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 05:15 PM
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Hadn't heard of this one before. Thanks for the info.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 05:48 PM
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Nice TR, thanks very much for the info. I really like the photo of the frozen tarn.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 11-19-2014, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muskeeto View Post
Nice to get back to the car before sundown, bushwacking in the dark isn't much fun. Your trip reports have great detail, i'll have to try and take more mental notes as i hike along.

Mental notes on this trip were mainly about bush . Fortunately this kind wasn't wet.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 11-21-2014, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Ted Oliver mentioned that a peak climbed by John Fannin (of which the Fannin Range was named after on the west side of Indian Arm/River) way back in the 1880s may be Hixon Peak. He had named it Mount Yo and described it as a 5000ft peak on the right shore of the North Arm of Burrard Inlet. Link to Forest and Stream article from Aug 18, 1887 below.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=Stgw...20peak&f=false
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 12-02-2014, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Default Missing Pictures from OP

1. Looking up Indian Arm from Burnaby Mountain/SFU.
2. Looking up towards Hixon Peak from near Hixon Pass.
3. Sky Pilot area and Tantalus Range from the summit.

Edit, copied and pasted these images into OP. They won't show in the original 14 photo album style but will open seperately.
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Last edited by simonc; 12-02-2014 at 06:19 PM.
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