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post #1 of (permalink) Old 11-12-2018, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
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Default Attempt at Bishop

Looking at the weather forecast late last night, and at the last sunny day of the week, I decided it was time to bag a group of three peaks i'd been yearning to bag for quite some time: Bishop, Deacon, and Presbyter. I spent a lot of time looking at Instagram's taken the same day to try and get a fix on what the conditions would be like Monday, and everything looked promising. Finally arriving at the parking lot at around 8:30 I set out to the trail head; biking to hydraulic creek then taking the connector to the spur 4 road. In hindsight the demo forest road would have been faster, although I had read some old trip reports that had mentioned wading the river if taking this route. Of course there is now a bridge in place at the end of the road linking both routes, which was the way I took back. It took almost exactly an hour to get to the tail head. With the bike stashed I begun the climb up to Vicar lakes. The Vicar lakes trail isn't the most friendly trail; and i'm sure anyone who has done the trail knows what I mean. The first 10 minutes aren't so bad, but quickly turns into a steep slippery dead-fall covered abyss. Countless fixed ropes were in place which proved super useful in the slippery conditions, and the flagging by NSR is pretty easy to follow. As bad as the trail is, you are rewarded with the odd gigantic old growth cedar.
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Finally emerging from the steepness the snow started at about 950m right where the lakes are. The smaller of the two lakes was frozen, although the large one was ice free.
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It had taken about an hour and a half to get to vicar lakes and with 5 hours left of sunlight things were looking good. The snow disappeared on the Bishop trail until about 1150m. At first it wasn't too bad because the trail was not incredibly steep but this changed the higher up I got. Not to mention; some pretty menacing tracks appeared before me. It looked like a fox had been chasing a hare, which was being chased by a cougar. My tracking skills aren't great, but either way the tracks were BIG, and I was happy they didn't look too fresh. After following them up for sometime, to my relief the big paw prints veered off the trail a few meters ahead.
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What are these?

Finally approaching the bowl, some very interesting ice formations started appearing everywhere. The pictures I had looked at to reference the alpine conditions didn't quite match Bishop. I quickly realized the trails I had looked at were all south facing and the bowl behind bishop is very north facing, so needless to say it was a bit of a winter wonderland.
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Forgot my ice bouldering tools

It was clear I had underestimated the amount of snow that would be in the alpine. Without a rope, ice tool, or crampons the descent from Bishop looked sketchy at best. A small sub peak looked like it could provide an alternate route up to Bishop's north face, and was far enough away from the true summit to allow sunlight to melt a lot of the snow up the ascent. The scramble was mostly class 3 , with the last section a steep class 4 with but lots of good holds. I knew I reached the top of the ridge when a cool November breeze smacked me in the face. Taking a lunch break and analyzing the route to the summit things didn't look too pleasant. The ridge was narrow, rocky, snow covered, and followed what looked like an ominous steep traverse to Bishop's west side.
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Planning a route to the summit

Deacon and presbyter looked much more promising than Bishop, as both were relatively snow free and looked easily accessible. I decided without Bishop in the bag, and the diminishing sunlight, I would save the triple bag for another day. Instead I finished eating my lunch and enjoyed the views.
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Deacon and Presbyter

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5 Fingers, Obelisk, Sharkfin

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Mesliloet and Mt Gillespie in background

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Sky Pilot group, fresh snow on Garibaldi

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Icy Bowl of Bishop, Coliseum/Burwell and Cathedral in foreground

The descent back to Vicar lakes was slow back to the snowline and involved a lot of butt sliding. The entire hike took about 5 hours, plus another 2 hours biking to and from the trailhead. I ran into another party I saw in the morning heading down from the lakes, and after emerging from the trail stopped to chat with a biker, who brought up the bushiness of the trail (so it wasn't just me?). After making one more quick stop at the hatchery and watching a few giant sockeye swim around, I headed back to the car. I was glad in my decision to hold off Deacon and Presbyter, the light was fading fairly quickly on the road back home. After this trip, I think it's safe safe to say winter has hit the North Shore Mountains!.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 11-18-2018, 06:10 PM
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Vicar trail is steepest I've ever been to in North Shore. Took longer to come down than to go up.


Great first report; too bad you didn't make it to the top, but there is now reason to go back. Bit more adventurous but I think more rewarding option is highline from Seymour over to Elsay and then Rector - Curate - Vicar ridge, with loop return via Elsay Lake perhaps. Overnight at Vicar lakes or Elsay lake shelter. Avoids steep Vicar trail from LSCR too
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 02:00 PM
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Good job on getting up there with the short daylight hours! Presbyter and Jarrett on my list for next year...
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 05:23 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
Vicar trail is steepest I've ever been to in North Shore. Took longer to come down than to go up.


Great first report; too bad you didn't make it to the top, but there is now reason to go back. Bit more adventurous but I think more rewarding option is highline from Seymour over to Elsay and then Rector - Curate - Vicar ridge, with loop return via Elsay Lake perhaps. Overnight at Vicar lakes or Elsay lake shelter. Avoids steep Vicar trail from LSCR too
Thanks! I was thinking that as well, also seems like the only way to really fit in the peaks along the Elasy Lake ridge. Although, I have heard mixed reviews about the trail linking Elsay, and Vicar lakes..... something to keep things interesting I guess.

wot
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
Vicar trail is steepest I've ever been to in North Shore. Took longer to come down than to go up.


Great first report; too bad you didn't make it to the top, but there is now reason to go back. Bit more adventurous but I think more rewarding option is highline from Seymour over to Elsay and then Rector - Curate - Vicar ridge, with loop return via Elsay Lake perhaps. Overnight at Vicar lakes or Elsay lake shelter. Avoids steep Vicar trail from LSCR too
I have been up to Bishop a few times from the Vicars trail with bikes.First time day trip,a long day with bikes out.So next time we camped overnight at Vicar lake and then up and home next day.Its a slog getting up that trail with overnight gear! Next time up we camped at the lake with the intention of going to Elsay up via the Rector ridge.Theres flagging going up but heavy bushwacking at the start,the trail at the vicar lake end is overgrown and not maintained. We didn't have the stomach for it,hung out and swam at the lake.The lower creek approach from Vicar lake to Elsay lake looks easy but to get to Mt. Elsay from there would be a lot longer.its a long slog to Vicar lake from the Seymour parking lot I can imagine. The bike-hike day trip via the Vicar trail is a real North Shore classic. I also like the idea of "riding" the overnight gear with the bikes , then a steep couple of hours hike and you hit the lake. But going to the Elsay cabin would also be good overnighter route to Bishop from Seymour,that makes sense.I wanna go to Rector from the parking lot now,I see some folks have done a loop back to the Seymour parking lot..
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 11:28 PM
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Rambling Bull and Alastair did Bishop from Seymour via Elsay-Rector-Curate-Vicar as day hike believe or not awhile ago. That was never posted on CT but if I remember well return time was ~15hrs with last 3 hrs with headlamp. John and Katie also did Bishop from Seymour as day hike, but they went in/out via Elsay Lake which is (marginally) shorter - https://forums.clubtread.com/27-brit...lackflies.html (poor Katie)

My trip was bike&hike (and swim!) from LSCR as most people end up doing -- https://forums.clubtread.com/27-brit...mt-bishop.html. I have very fond memory of that day, even if I was really tired at the end, and think of it as quintessential North Shore experience.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 11:42 PM
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https://forums.clubtread.com/27-brit...lsay-lake.html


The Rector-Curate-Vicar loop is a good one. Runner and Elsay are natural add-ons. Tacking on Bishop is a bit of a detour, but would make a great trip for mountain runners as it's not very technical terrain, just grueling.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 12:31 PM
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Dean just did the loop you are talking about a couple days ago.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 02:35 PM
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And they did Seymour, Runner and Elsay along the way! Hard to believe, looks like they came back under headlamp all the way from Bishop. That last clip is probably creek crossing below Elsay lake, still good 4-5 hrs to parking from there in dark.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
Rambling Bull and Alastair did Bishop from Seymour via Elsay-Rector-Curate-Vicar as day hike believe or not awhile ago. That was never posted on CT but if I remember well return time was ~15hrs with last 3 hrs with headlamp. John and Katie also did Bishop from Seymour as day hike, but they went in/out via Elsay Lake which is (marginally) shorter - https://forums.clubtread.com/27-brit...lackflies.html (poor Katie)

My trip was bike&hike (and swim!) from LSCR as most people end up doing -- https://forums.clubtread.com/27-brit...mt-bishop.html. I have very fond memory of that day, even if I was really tired at the end, and think of it as quintessential North Shore experience.
We have done Bishop via RCV ridge and returning via Elsay Lake. Twice actually...one as day trip back in 2014 and then this summer as an overnight stay on Bishop. We skipped Seymour, Runner and Elsay, however. Fresh flagging to Curate this summer, but the trail is still quite faint. Both times we lost the steep trail down Vicar Peak and had to bushwhack. The trail from Vicar Lakes down to Elsay Lake seemed to be no different, condition-wise, compared to our 2014 trip.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 11-26-2018, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
My trip was bike&hike (and swim!) from LSCR as most people end up doing -- https://forums.clubtread.com/27-brit...mt-bishop.html. I have very fond memory of that day, even if I was really tired at the end, and think of it as quintessential North Shore experience.
The positioning of the lake is perfect, nice half way stop. For those of us who love swimming and particularly mountain lake swimming Vicar main lake is as good as it gets as far as warmth . I swam in one of the tarns too one time in the fall as the main lake was a little cool. Don't trail run anymore as in my 60s re-spraining my ankle and knee from dancing down trails in my youth is a concern . Legs get tired, making tired mistakes.I love the bike/hike aspect of coastal mountain exploring, you have to earn the mountain. Kinda unique, the bikes add an interesting element . That's a similar physical accomplishment to trail running, all human powered. Especially Bishop bike/hike...no easy downhill on the bikes back down! Quintessential North Shore experience it is.
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