Jul 19, 2015
Do you ever have one of those hiking days where you wish you would have just stayed home? This was one of those days. Perhaps tackling this route on a 32C day wasn’t a great idea. But I did do a few things right:
- did my research ahead of time (thanks oldmatt
- started early in good weather on a day with long daylight hours
- carried 4L of water
- kept pack light
The hike in to Lynn Lake went quickly. Cool temperatures helped make it a pleasant journey. It was strange to walk along such a quiet route where there should have been the sound of a raging river, or even a burbling brook for that matter. All the minor creeks are completely dried up. Even if you do find water sources, the water quality will be dubious as all the forest creatures will be using those same few precious streams.
From Lynn Lake, head north along the obvious creek bed. North Shore Rescue flagging continues north, but flagging for the route to the west ridge of Burwell starts immediately after the equipment cache.
After a short time, the route leaves the creek and begins tackling the slope to the climber’s right. A lot of effort has been made to carefully flag the route. I was very thankful. The early part of the route is almost beginning to look like a trail. But then the blueberry bushes, devil’s club, and other assorted brush crushed my early optimism.
In case you're wondering, I ate the culprits shown in this bushy photo:
Breaking out of the trees at a rapidly drying out pond was a welcome experience. There were lots of deer and other animals tracks in the mud along the shore.
The worst bushwhacking is over at this point. From here on, it’s a mix of steep hiking and easy scrambling, short bushwhacking sections, solving minor route finding puzzles, and wondering why I thought this destination was a good idea.
The ridge to Mount Burwell comes into view:
This rock face can possibly be avoided by bushwhacking up on the right, but there was no way I was going back into the hell-spawned shrubbery. Easier than it looked.
The summit of "Burwell Junior"
Some of the scrambling was quite fun, although my fatigue was seriously detracting from my enjoyment. I was overjoyed to finally see the Mount Burwell summit cairn. Totally mentally and physically done, it was a relief to be back on a real trail. Now I could just walk back down. I was practically giggling in anticipation for a swim in the Coliseum tarn. Perhaps I was losing my mind a bit, but it was every bit as good as I was hoping.
Everything is so dry!
A final view of Paton Lookout before re-entering the forest.
My descent was slow. By the time I was on the last 1-2km stretch from the car, my pace was barely better than a shuffle.
The day after sees me consuming massive calories. It was an interesting experiment to see how far this old body could be pushed, but I’m in no hurry to attempt this route again!
Distance (return): 32km
Elevation gain (cumulative): 1675m
5:45 - park at End of the Line General Store
6:00 - Lynn Headwaters trailhead
9:15 - head of Lynn Lake
11:00 - Cathedral viewpoint, majority of bushwhacking ends
13:25 - Mount Burwell summit
14:00 - swim in Coliseum tarn
16:20 - arrive at Headwaters trail junction
18:30 - back at car
Some unsolicited advice
Don’t attempt this route unless you know what you’re getting into. The bushwhack is very steep, very thick at times, and physically demanding. There is no cell reception anywhere. Carry a satellite device in case of emergency (PLB, InReach, etc). Be aware that deploying a rescue device might be challenging if you’re hanging from blueberry bushes on a very steep slope. Currently, there is no water available beyond Lynn Lake, with the exception of one manky pond that all the animals appear to be using.