FV = Fraser Valley Flora Gargoyles Loop, October 7th 2020 - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 10-10-2020, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Default Flora Gargoyles Loop, October 7th 2020

I've had this hike on the back-burner for several years. The plan was to hit Flora Peak via the main trail and descend the NW ridge to get up close to the gargoyles, then travel via the talus slopes east of the ridge down to the valley and and pick up the loop trail between Flora and Greendrop, exiting via Lindeman. Actually, I thought about taking the winter route up the W ridge but wasn't familiar with it and never saw any flagging. With a lot of my route already being off-trail I decided to stick to the trail as far as it would take me. Plus, I liked the idea of a loop involving Flora Peak and exploring the ridge.

There's precious little beta available. I gathered from what info Bivouac.com would reveal without a membership, that climbers take a direct route up the slopes from Lindeman (boring). Other than that there was only this TR from John & Katie, taking the W ridge and returning the same way: https://forums.clubtread.com/27-brit...say-hello.html

The weather on Wednesday was clear blue skies just ahead of worsening weather for the weekend. I had some free time. The hike up to Flora Peak offered up the usual autumn colours. I was enjoying getting back into the rhythm of hiking solo, blood pumping, mind meditating, going at my pace.

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A first look at the gargoyles from the top of Flora.

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The talus slopes east of the ridge. To exit, I planned to follow the boulders from top-right down towards bottom-left, losing as much elevation as possible before having to deal with vegetation. Actually, for some reason I had it in my head that the boulder fields could bring me all the way to the bottom of the valley. Not so.

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A pano of the ridge from the peak. You can't really get a good view of the ridge from anywhere, so it's hard to plan a route. Descending off the peak was easy enough but you immediately come across a major notch in the ridge with a treacherous gully down to the valley. Rather than climb up the other side of the notch and gain the ridge proper, it's easiest to bypass on the west. Shortly after you come to a second notch. Not as scary but I wouldn't go down it without a rope. After this notch you keep bypassing the ridge on the left.

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After those first two notches the ridge mellows out with some route-finding through pleasant alpine meadows and broader terrain until another steep drop down through thicker forested slopes. Down below a plateau with tarns that I believe is the one J&K were at in their TR. Not keen on shwacking I headed left to the open slopes on the west side of the ridge and sidehilled around the forested hillside.

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The tarns. Lots of blueberries and some bear sign too.

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Looking back up the ridge to the forested slope before the plateau with tarns (which is behind the tree on the right). There's probably a nice way through there. Would be interesting to build a trail. The second notch in the ridge is visible in this photo.

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From here the ridge is pretty flat and easy travelling. Some weathered old trees as the ridge narrows.


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Closest view of the first gargoyle. The ridge is narrow at this point. I believe this is the point that J&K were at as well.

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A steep drop to the west down to Lindeman Lake.

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At this point I probably could have back-tracked and found an easier way down but I found something I thought was do-able, and dropped my poles down the slope. They bounced down for a lot longer than I'd hoped they would! A lot of veggie belays and some dynamic moves (all but one voluntary) got me down to boulders. Traversing further down the ridge got me to the bottom of one of the gargoyles. Not much to see and I was too exhausted by this point to explore further. The rock is great but it's very blocky with holds far between and everything sloping away. Nothing I would want to climb without a rope. On top of that I had realised I'd forgotten my headlamp, and combined with my late start (9:50) I didn't have much buffer to get out before dark. So that was it; time to get out!


Looking across the boulders for the route out. You can see the first and second notches in the ridge. The two highest bumps are the ridge itself. Flora Peak is to the left of them (appearing lower).

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The boulder hopping was a real pain as my legs were starting to get rubbery. Balance was difficult so I took the time to stow away the camera and my non-collapsible ski poles so I could focus. In the next photo I had almost finished traversing across the boulders to just below the NE ridge. Here the slopes are total carnage with fresh boulder fall. My favourite photo of this trip.

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Looking back at the gargoyles from below.

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At this point the boulders ran out and it turned into steep drainage with the usual smooth rock and packed mud. I could choose between following the drainage or shwacking thru a mix of short evergreens and slide alder. I chose the latter and made great time veggie belaying down 30 to 45 degree slopes to the lower boulder field. By this time I was quite beat and starting to worry about darkness. I continued down the boulders until about the point where I thought the trail should be. Within a minute of earnestly looking for trail markers I spotted a cairn! Shortly after I saw numerous orange markers affixed to boulders every 30m or so! It turns out it was never going to be a problem to find the trail.

Looking back up the slope from where I came.

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I took a break, drank the rest of my water, my last granola bar. Time was 4:36, I figured I had till 7 latest so I got ready for some brisk hiking. Crossed the boulder field, next section of trail was very muddy and had stream running through it, another boulder field, then the pleasant forest trail before the drop into the valley leading to Greendrop. I made good time but it was exhausting since I haven't been doing much hiking other than with my kids (7 and 10). Boulder field after boulder field then finally Lindeman. The light was fading and the Lindeman trail fanned out and braided everywhere. I finally lost the trail for good but made some good guesses and was shortly on the wide flat footpath to the parking lot. Back at the truck around 7pm. Didn't see a soul all day, other than in the parking lot!

For those interested in timings, roughly:

1 hour to the first viewpoint
2 more hours to Flora Peak
2 hours to bottom of southern gargoyle
1.5 hours down to the loop trail
2.5 hours out
inc. about 45-60 minutes worth of breaks
solo75, John and Katie and oldmatt like this.

Last edited by zeljkok; 11-07-2020 at 07:06 PM. Reason: Add Fraser Valley Prefix
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 10-10-2020, 09:52 PM
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Great hardcore TR, poles bouncing down talus slope, veggie belays and all. I only made it to Flora once, but noted lots of terrain to explore further.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 10-10-2020, 11:22 PM
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Nice one done. Been looking at those from below, and from above before.

K

Hiking is what keeps you young of mind and heart. When the going gets tough, the tough get going..............
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