It was time for a visit to the land of scenic ridge walks. Plus I hadn't hiked up the Needle Peak trail during the summer in over 15 years. Less than 2 hours from Vancouver and I'm parked by the trailhead and heading up the trail where morning cloud disperses as I reach the sub-alpine.
Dropping down to the Needle/Flatiron col I meet a guy from a large group that had camped overnight. He showed me some great shots of the sunrise with Needle above a sea of clouds. Continuing on I head to the top of Flatiron and grab a few shots before heading south to the high point of Two Bears Ridge where I take my first break.
Break spot on the left with Carry Peak behind it. Portia Peak on the right with Tulameen and Outram in the distance.
Yak, Nak, Markhor and Needle from Flatiron.
Alpaca, Vicuna and Guanaco to the north.
The route ahead along Two Bears Ridge. Col area centre shot with Portia at left.
This ridge is classic Coquihalla Country ridge walking with pleasant terrain and good views from every angle. I go over 2 bumps and decide to drop down before the third. As it had rained the night before I was starting to get wet traversing downwards due to the bush.
Zooming on Bombtram with Ladner Peak at left and Urquhart behind it shortly before I dropped off the ridge.
Eventually I reach the meadow area at the Portia/Two Bear Ridge col. Ahead of me are a number of small cliffbands, more bush and trees. I find a track to follow that stays on the NNW side of the peak but it died out at some cliffs that I didn't want to attempt so I trended more right and kept going up. The wet bush and trees soaked me and made the steep terrain slick but a route usually materialized though I did have to backtrack a little a couple of times.
Some of the rock was a little slick too due to water. Take away the wetness and it's a fun experience to suss out a route and the rock is solid. Gaining the summit with it's 2 cairns I remove my shirt to dry off and settle in for a 1 hour+ stay. Good views of many peaks I've done in this area and it's nice to finally put a tick next to this one.
Summit cairn with the Anderson River Group in the background.
Summit cairn with Illal, Jim Kelly and Coquihalla to the east.
1860m summit shot with Needle above me and Flatiron centre left (radio repeater visible).
Good aspect of another great ridgewalk - Coquihalla Mountain to Carry Peak (at right). Done a couple of years ago with Elkaholic and Bobw.
Not much in the way of bugs around, just some hoverflies and occasional horsefly. After an hour or so and countless pictures of Coquihalla Mountain I pack up and start the trip back. This time I stayed a bit more to the northwest but still ran into a cliffband or two. Picking up the faint trail near the base I followed it for a while and went straight up to the ridge instead of the diagonal traverse done earlier in the day. Less bush and more logical.
Looking back at Portia - there's a little bit of complexity to it but it's worth the effort.
Soon I'm back on Two Bears Ridge enjoying the views and starting to think about the post hike beverage (and how will the traffic be heading back home).
Spiral, Illal, JK, Coquihalla, Carry and Portia from the ridge.
Wandering along I pop up a rise and see half the ridge's namesake about 60 feet in front of me. As I had my camera out I grabbed a shot when it realized I was there. It startled to amble off pretty quick but was following the crest of the ridge like I was so I saw it again in the distance before it disappeared for good.
One bear on Two Bear Ridge.
I reach the bump south of Flatiron and take my last break and some more pictures. I won't be going back up to that peak but taking the cleft/gully down to the tarn below then back to the trail.
Bedpost, Spiral, Illal, Jim Kelly and Coquihalla.
Mountains and ridges.
Zooming in on Needle.
The tarn and Needle. Romeo and July way back left, Yak and Nak centre.
Back on the trail.
I complete the last ascent to the main trail and follow it down to my vehicle and the waiting beer. That went down well and traffic was good to near Chilliwack but there were a few holdups due to accidents and volume from there through Langley. The sunset was nice to watch though and I was happy with the trip and now set to face another week of work.
Panorama from Bedpost to Portia.