MV = Metro Vancouver Coliseum Mountain - September 2, 2018 - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-08-2018, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 13
Default Coliseum Mountain - September 2, 2018

This last year I've been gradually slowly upping my hiking game, working up to trails like Lynn Peak, Diez Vistas, and an attempt on Frosty Mountain. I've been looking for a more challenging hike to work up to, and for a long time Coliseum seemed to fit the bill - longer, higher, and even a touch of scrambling. Trip reports around here make Coliseum sound like easy mode for Club Treaders, but it seemed like a hike that would be a real challenge for my abilities, while still having a realistic chance of finishing it. Last Sunday I found I was right on both counts.

With a bellyfull of Tim's steeped tea, yougurt and apple cinnamon cheerios, I arrived at the Lynn Headwaters parking lot right at seven a.m., a little surprised to be the third vehicle there. After sorting out boots, bladder, and registration, 'twas off. It was a little chilly out in the morning air, but a brisk walk along the riverfront trail warmed me up.

I hit the Coliseum trail feeling surprisingly energetic after the 7k walk, and was feeling optimistic starting up the path. It quickly ramped up to a steep, rooty climb, so I paced myself fairly slow. I'd do a steady 20-30 minute climb, and then take a five minute break. Those breaks were great for catching my breath, and also helped me out psychologically - just being able to sit for a few minutes and have my breath caught helped me feel much better about the trek.

I can't remember if it took and hour or an hour-and-a-half, but eventually I got up to the top of that initial climb, to where it levels out and follows the contour of the hill along Norvan Creek for a while. I say 'levels out,' but those who've been there will know it is anything but level. In addition to the roots and closing in brush, you're constantly up over trees, under deadfall, down through muddy creek beds, and through debris chutes.

I missed the Norvan Creek pool on the way up, focused as I was on keeping my feet under me. After rock-hopping across a quite large creek-bed, the climbing begins again, this time up a quite muddy section. As it had been largely dry for some time, I can only imagine what doing this hike when it's wet or rainy is like, and shudder in horror.

A few more steady, slow climbing sprints and I finally reached the beginning of the ridge. A large swath of flagging marked a very short and very worthwhile turn-off to a viewpoint looking east.

Hopping back onto the trail, it started out deceptively easy - smooth, and just a slight grade. But that was just a tease. I'd get about 20-30 meters of nice trail, followed by another set of rock hopping or climbing. The distance meter to the peak kept creeping down, making me think I'd be there sooner than I really would.

Eventually the trail broke out into more open, rockier terrain, bringing up more views to the east, including a nice look at the Seymour Reservoir.

But by this point I was tiring out despite my pacing. The sign at the Coliseum trail says "allow seven hours return." I had gone about 2:45 and still had roughly a kilometer to go. I had some timing considerations to keep in mind and I was getting tempted to turn around, but on the other hand I was thinking "it's just one more k!" So I pressed on and started into the real rock-hopping.

At this point I started running into a few people coming down, most of which who had passed me on the way up. I appreciated their encouragement. After a scramble up one somewhat narrow slot, and rounding a ridge, I had the peak in sight! It still looked far away, but the distance closed quicker than I expected. A short downclimb put me on the final approach, following flagging and cairns across the rocks, until finally I saw this.

And this

Time from the trail turn-off to the top: 3.5 hours.

Lunch on the mountain top consisted of cheese and pepperoni, strawberries, a few gummi bears and some powered lemonade mix in the water bottle. A few others reached the peak around then too, including a group who went the LSCR route.

I knew it was going to take must just as long to get down as it did to get up, so it wasn't terribly long lounging session. The climbs back down were slow as I picked my way across. It was much like the way up - walk a short distance, then clamour down over some tree or rocks or buried giant.

I found the pool on the way down, but was feeling pressed for time at that point, so didn't stop. The trail felt remarkably different on the way down than the way up. I don't know if was the different perspective, or the way the light had changed throughout the day, but parts of the trail seemed unrecognizable from just a few hours earlier.

Finally I reached the short, steep climb down to Norvan Falls. Going down here was almost as much effort as going up - I was out of breath even climbing down this section. But eventually Norvan Falls came into earshot, and then eyeshot. Another break at the junction, and a much much much easier walk back to the trailhead and I was back to the car in about 12 hours total.

Overall this hike was exactly what I expected, just turned up one notch. I'm glad I did it, and very glad I was able to complete it. It's emphasized to me how much I really need to improve my general fitness. I was still waddling with stiff legs three days later. I appreciated the extremely generous flagging - I never once had to think about where I was going, just where to put my feet.

That said, I'd like to find some more trails that are about this level of difficulty, but shorter, something that could be done in half-a-day or less. Any suggestions would be most welcome - thanks for stopping by.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-09-2018, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by grover View Post
I'd like to find some more trails that are about this level of difficulty, but shorter, something that could be done in half-a-day or less.

North Shore is full of similar trails. Even something as simple as Buntzen Lake --Eagle Ridge (opposite from Diez Vistas) has number of trails that can be combined for a loop. Or Lynn/Needles ridge via Hydraylic connector in LSCR. Or Mt. Fromme from Pipeline Road. Or jaunt to Eagle Bluffs via Baden Powell from Horseshoe Bay. Or Sunset Trail martin just posted TR about. Or ...

Nice report. Never too much of Coliseum stuff. Next time extend to Burwell - it is only ~40min (1-way) and more than worth.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-09-2018, 05:50 PM
Scaling New Heights
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: North Van.
Interest: Anything mountain related
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Good for you for not giving up and finishing this. I did Coliseum years ago during mid week and got in about 6 kms on a mountain bike and managed a round trip of 6 hours. Two years ago did it from the Seymour side and couldn't find my return trail (was snow on the ground) and had to hike out Lynn Headwaters to the Seymour Metro Vancouver gate at the entrance to Seymour Demo forest. Nice people drove us up to our bikes and drove us back but needless to say it was a much longer epic. For half day trails with more scenic outlooks than the forest slogs that are on the North Shore and Coquitlam area, I don't think you can beat Mount Baker area. A bit more work to get across the border, but the scenery is a fair bit different than around here and is gorgeous. If you have a 4x4 vehicle there are a number of hikes in the Twin Lakes area that would fit your bill and are visually stunning as you get above the trees quicker than here. The outlooks are amazing. Just did Yellow Aster and Winchester this summer and I was blown away. Locally, Seymour offers a number of options to extend your trip if your physical fitness increases. Doing the first pump peak and then adding the 2nd and 3rd peak or adding Runner Peak, Elsay and even Elsay Lake and finally Vicar Lakes and Bishop give you tons of options to extend a trip into an area you will become increasingly familiar with. Check out
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-10-2018, 12:06 PM
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St. Mark's Summit, at 5 hours return, is a great choice.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2018, 02:57 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 13

Some good suggestions, thanks for all the comments!
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