MV = Metro Vancouver Coliseum & Burwell winter ascent from Lynn Headwaters - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Default Coliseum & Burwell winter ascent from Lynn Headwaters

June 17, 2017

Perhaps after my last adventure of traveling solo in a white out and running into a bear I decided it was better to do the same but with friends! So I organized my first BCMC trip to Coliseum and Burwell. Sure enough first thing in the morning we got the bear and later the white out but this time I had buddies!

We started our hike at the "End of the Line General Store" at 5:30am. The road is kind of indefinitely closed because apparently there is no money to fix it. That means you have an extra 2km walk to the basic trail head start at Lynn Headwaters. We registered our team at 6:05am at the board and were off for a leisurely 7km hike to Norvan Falls.

At the rubble pile where you turn up, we came across a black bear having his morning breakfast. He did not want to move and kept chewing his leaves. So we clapped and moved closer to move him off the trail. Instead he stood up on his hind legs to check us out, then kept chewing. Finally after five minutes with an incredulous stare be slowly, very slowly, moved along into the bush. I'm sure he said, "Damn you hikers, have you no respect for morning breakfast?! What's this world coming to. Stupid humans."



At Norvan the trail is still formally closed - due to snow conditions Yup, we were ready!



Once you start the ascent into the forest the trail is very very rooty. Wet and rooty. This side sees little sun light so unlike other trails I've done it had a much lower snow line - just 780m. Elsewhere it's more like 1100m. I thought some of the creek crossings would be of concern but none were. At the snow line we changed from approach shoes to our mountaineering boots and put on our micro spikes. I probed many of the snow bridges and broke off sketchy looking things but as always some of the heavier members post holed where I floated across.





At the moment the trail can be hard to follow at times as flagging is hidden with snow and I did have to reference the GPS a few times. We passed some epic avalanche debris and took a few minutes to assess the incredible force which snapped trees in two.






It was pretty smooth sailing up until we hit the ridge line. After that the forest gets much steeper and we actually contoured off the trail a bit and went a different way up than normal; which was great because we avoided some cornices.



At this point it was definitely ice axe territory. I stayed far away from edges leading the team up knowing cornices lingered everywhere.



After a bit more up, we saw our summit cairn and voila stunning views of white on white with dashes of gray gradient. What more could you ask for?



It took us 6hr to make the summit of Coliseum and after a well deserved lunch snack we moved forward to get Burwell which took another hour for the return. There were many opportunities for epic run outs, Cornett Lakes and all tarns are still frozen.









We traversed blank landscapes which was really great cause it left SO much room for the imagination. No oppressive "nature" views to be forced into the retinas, no-no, what-ever-you wanted Clearly the summit of Burwell.





Then it was time for the return - the hardest part. We knew the forest was a little steep and we thought perhaps on the return we ought to connect to the trail proper, maybe it was easier. Cough cough. We bypassed the cornices easily enough but then got to a really steep hard snowy face (honestly 50 degrees I think) which we had to down climb for about a pitch. We had to kick really good steps and take it slow to get back to the flat col. Because our team was so well trained and competent everyone felt comfortable making it down and we didn't have to bust out the rope for a rappel.



After that it was down down down. We kept the micro spikes on for the descent even in the forest all the way to Norvan because the roots were so slippery. Even so, everyone fell at least once. We all felt the downhill and needed a stop at Norvan falls to soak the feet, eat some chocolate, and change back into approach shoes. It was magical to have dry socks again and such light feet!



Then the 9km flat walk back to the car...blah. Thankfully the company was excellent and we all geeked out about our favourite YouTube channels like the Hydraulic Press Chanel and Rupert's Drops. And naturally since we're all mountain people we shared our favourite epics, poop stories, and Yukon toe cannibalism. Nothing cements friendship like poop stories or pickled human toes.

You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips must touch the toe".

And not a day later the damn thing is stolen from the Dawson city bar. Now I'd like to say to whomever on the team did it, you should come forward now and just return the toe - no judgements, they just want it back, it's hard to get replacement toes.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/toe-stolen-yukon-dawson-city-sourtoe-cocktail-1.4168541


Thus after 31.4kms and 1681m of gain our team was back at the cars by 7:45pm, all very content, happy, and tired. I couldn't have asked for a more awesome team of companions and none of them growled at me from the trees. Apparently they were all as crazy as I am cause I even got friend requests. SUCCESS!



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Last edited by Masiar; 06-20-2017 at 03:03 PM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 03:38 PM
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Definitely not in condition. Think in ~3 weeks would be good time for Cathedral
Bear is awesome!
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 05:30 PM
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Awesome, sweet TR. Enjoyed your narration and pictures.

Well done, well said.

K
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Hiking is what keeps you young of mind and heart. When the going gets tough, the tough get going..............
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 06-20-2017, 10:34 PM
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I like that last photo. It`s a pretty cool shot. Are those avalanches coming off the Needles?

Cathedral, huh? Mmmmm ...
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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I like that photo too. It was brief second that the clouds were passing and opened one little sucker hole (the thing that gets your hopes up thinking maybe just maybe it might clear). The Needles are not avalanching any more, just hard snow pack. Cathedral will need time to melt out a bit, I imagine during winter it would be a horror show up there, hard enough in summer!
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 06-22-2017, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masiar View Post
Cathedral will need time to melt out a bit, I imagine during winter it would be a horror show up there, hard enough in summer!
For Cathedral optimal conditions are when snow has melted below alpine so Coliseum approach (from Patton side, not Lynn) is fast -- but there is still snow on Burwell west slopes one can drop fast to Burwell / Cathedral col, and subsequently avoid (most of) bushwhack. Such conditions usually occur early summer. After snow has completely melted, bush between Burwell and Cathedral becomes much bigger obstacle.

TR that explains this much better: https://forums.clubtread.com/27-briti...0120714-a.html It is one of all-time classic Club Tread trip reports
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 06-29-2017, 08:32 PM
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We took our three kids on this hike in a Coliseum summit attempt. Almost made it. Had to turn back right before summit as we ran out of time.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-03-2017, 01:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by echino View Post
We took our three kids on this hike in a Coliseum summit attempt. Almost made it. Had to turn back right before summit as we ran out of time.
Nice report. Your kids are tough! We got our 6&9 year old girls up to the summit of First Peak this winter and you have inspired me to keep my ambitions high.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-03-2017, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by AlinVancouver View Post
Nice report. Your kids are tough! We got our 6&9 year old girls up to the summit of First Peak this winter and you have inspired me to keep my ambitions high.
First Peak? Did you go up the Needles Route?
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-04-2017, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Totally impressed by the kids That's not an easy hike for most adults! Congrats
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 04-28-2018, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
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First Peak? Did you go up the Needles Route?
First Peak at Seymour!
Sorry for the delay in responding. Haven't been on here for awhile.
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