Another bagger challenge post. Loops are the best way to tackle the North Shore mountain. This allows you to witness new and thrilling terrain as well as get better views typically. Keeping up with some of my older trip reports, Nick and I went off in early September to tackle a new loop first mentioned in the Bagger Challenge and Glorious Mountains of the the North Shore by David Crerar.
The original plan was to loop my remaining Lynn Headwater peaks with my remaining Grouse peaks to finally finish off this area. Day 1 with overnight gear was to go do Zinc, Echo (Perrault) and Crown N1 (CN1). Day 2 would consist of looping Goat, Goat Ridge Peak, and Forks back down to Lynn Creek and to the car. We never ended up doing day 2 so those other 3 peaks will wait for another year.
Fatmaps track - you can download my GPX track on that site
I got in my car at 3:30 AM on Saturday morning and headed over to the End of the Line in North Vancouver. Here Nick and I met up on bikes and we biked the 2 km ride into Lynn Headwaters trail head. Given the early morning and long day(s) ahead, we pushed on the hiking only trail biking all of the way to the 2 km mark. From there, we locked the bikes to a tree and pushed onwards into the darkness with headlamps on. It would be 16 hours until we would see those bikes again. From there we pushed to Norvan Falls and down to Lynn Creek, paying attention to not follow the route to Lynn Lake. We filled up 3 liters of water here and went across the log which was not slippery thankfully. From here, we followed the Hanes Valley trail for a few more kilometers before coming to a big slide zone / creek bed. Immediately after gaining the other side we entered the forest to hikers right and started to head up through old growth parallel to said creek.
Selfie in the creek bed before leaving the Hanes Valley trail
Initially, it was quite dark still and there was a lot of cedar old growth debris on the ground to navigate. However, no undergrowth allowed for decently speedy travel. As we started to find a line 20m to the left of the parallel creek, we began to pick up flags for the approach. We would follow flags pretty much the rest of the way up. The old growth in this area is fantastic. Better than the Vicar Lakes approach. Giant cedars the entire way with hemlock and douglas firs in the mix too. After 200m ascent, some undergrowth in the form of ferns and light blueberry bushes appeared. There was one point shortly after this that the trail went diagonally to the right before heading straight up. While steep, it was always good footing and I seriously loved this section. Above 900m elevation to 1100m is where the moderately dense blueberry bushes start. BW3 level. Slows you down a bit, but navigation is never too difficult and it hadn't rained yet so we stayed dry (foreshadowing for later). After stopping for a breakfast break 4.5 hours in just below the ridge, we came across the old mining debris in the form of oil cans, wood stoves, etc from the 1950's. The history in this area is fantastic and I suggest reading up on the various reports on this site. From here we quickly gained the ridge.
Cans from the mining area that should be removed by park officials
Above the clouds finally
After this, we headed to the right as we got above the clouds towards Zinc. The trail goes below Zinc to the west before backtracking to the summit. We opted to skip it for Echo first for the better views as most of the valley was engulfed in clouds. Over to Echo took about 20 minutes with mostly clear travel but a bit of bush below the summit. New plaques for zoning or something were installed on the summit. With 360 views, this is an awesome peak. We backtracked back down the trail and did the 5 minute detour to Zinc. Not as nice views here but thats because we missed out on the valley below. We got a good view of the next boss - CN1 and the ever imposing ridgeline to get there.
Back down to the intersection Nick grabbed his bag of gear and off we went. It started raining at this point 6 hours into the day and it would not stop - great. We kept navigating up and down through various meadows and BV4 bushwhacking. We were drenched quickly on but made decent time with the help of a GPS track from Dennis Golinski the week before in dry weather. We found some goat fur and steep descents to get to below CN1 before the 200 meter final ascent. We opted to stay very close to the west drop offs to avoid vertical blueberry bushes, but it didn,t help and only added more exposure. This was a rough time on the hike but we are well experienced in this crap so up went slowly. At times I felt like I was trying to climb onto a stage as a bouncer was pushing me backwards. After 2 hours since leaving Zinc, we got to the scramble. From here, we traversed to the left under steep rock walls on a sloping but easily walkable ledge about 30 meters. We finally came to a portion that looked like a wet chimney with a minor bit of mud and vegetation and up we went. In this weather, I would not like to downclimb it, but going up it went at high class 3 with maybe one class 4 move. From there we went slowly on other wet terrain up some border line class 4 crack climbs in the pouring rain before topping out. Here it was an easy walk to the wet summit cairn with no views. We celebrated tired after reaching the third summit 10 hours in.
On the ascent of CN1
Up we go
Zeljkok, can you help rotate these photos?
The way down was horrible. It sucked. We were at fault having done this in the rain. Do not do this in the rain or wet. Do it on the best day possible. It took us 4 hours to get all the way down to the Hanes Valley trail near the start of the boulder field. This included some good trail work from recent weeks through one of the alder bashes. We managed to navigate around all of the serious bushwhacking but at the top it was still bad. Not fun at all. I don't think anyone would enjoy doing this peak from this direction other than to say they did it. The wet rocks were tough and Nick banged his knee up pretty badly.
Once we got back to the trail, we stopped for dinner and decided to call it. No point to stay the night in our tents and try to do another big day the next day. It was a shame to carry all that water and gear but our ultralight stuff and 25L bags makes it easier to do trips like these with it. We walked out the 12 km to the bikes and then it torrential down-poured on us for the last 4 km on bikes to the car. All in all a type 2 fun kind of day that I don't hate but also don't love the terrain down to Hanes. If I were to do it again, I would probably just go back down CN1 the way I came up and down the Zinc trail. It would be more pleasant that way. I highly suggest going to check out Zinc and Echo and you should budget 10-12 hours for these two peaks alone with breaks included.
Crossing the slippery log of death on Lynn Creek
Raining back at Lynn Headwaters