Hittin' the Trails
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Abbotsford, BC
Interest: Hiking, Scrambling, Mountaineering
Golden Ears (West Canyon Trail) Jul 1-2 2017
First trip report!
I attempted to summit Golden Ears between July 1st and 2nd. My hope at the time was to catch the fireworks from the summit. Unfortunately, it didn't go quite as planned and I was turned away due to snow. Another 4-5 groups also turned away and ended up camping at Alder Flats (those who weren't day hiking anyways). One group apparently went on to summit, but they were well prepared with snow shoes and such.
The snow didn't start until after the stairs a ways past Alder Flats. Started in patches but then got pretty solid after the rock scrambling sections. At 235lbs with a 28lb pack on my back and hitting the snow in the late afternoon, I was postholing a bit. Lighter folks didn't seem to have much of an issue with it. Made it to what I assume is the final viewpoint before getting to Panorama Ridge, but decided to call it there because it was starting to get a little too sketchy for me and Alder Flats was already quite a ways to trek back at that of the day.
If you're running low on water, I recommend filling up at the streams that can be found around the rock scrambling sections. I didn't and regretted it as water is pretty much non-existent between there and Alder Flats. If I was to do the trek again at this point, I'd probably set up camp at Alder Flats, ditch most of my gear there and just make it as far as I could before heading back for the night. I'll probably give it another go either late August or early September.
All in all, it was an awesome trail. Some exposed root and rock scrambling (what I interpret to be class 2) presented some challenges and the viewpoints made the trip well worth it, even with the insane amount of black flies.
As a newbie (only hiking a couple months now), there were a couple things that I wish I'd known before going:
- Absolutely do NOT forget bug spray. The black flies up near the viewpoint I turned around at were the worst I'd ever encountered. Luckily someone from another group I bumped into gave me some, which ended up being quite a relief. It won't stop them from buzzing around you, but it lessens the amount of your face that will be eaten.
- I found trekking poles to be effectively useless a short while after Alder Flats. Between the loose rocks and scrambling sections, I ended up just tying them up to my pack.