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post #976 of (permalink) Old 11-20-2021, 11:29 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
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Quick trip up Hollyburn today to check conditions for the North shore mountains. There is snow on the trail all the way from the parking lot. The trail is well packed and supportive, but it is still a bit thin in some places where water is running under the snow, including some weak snow bridge/post holing hazards over streams. Please note that the winter route flagging has not been put in place yet. Most of the traffic today seemed to be using the summer trail. While snowshoes werent needed on the trail proper, microspikes are recommended, particularly near the summit where there was ice formation even on the south face. Pay attention to snow accumulating between the teeth of your microspikes - it was balling up significantly today.

Temperatures this afternoon ranged from 1c at the parking lot to -2c at the summit. Snow depth at the summit is currently between 70-75cm. Probing to ground, I felt two crusts. A hard rain crust about 15cm down, and another hard crust about 30cm down. Didnt dig down to find out what it was. On top of the rain crust, there was about 15cm of loose but consolidating powder.
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post #977 of (permalink) Old 11-21-2021, 08:49 PM
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Another short winter hike this weekend. A local classic: Dog Mountain trail on Mt. Seymour. Lots of traffic today. It was warm on the mountain with temperature at the parking lot at 1C while temperatures at the lookout ranged from 3-5C. The trail to First Lake is in fantastic condition. Hard packed snow with a few embedded pebbles here and there. Generally good traction except for some steeper inclines. Someone even managed to get an RC car going on the trail. Lakes and water courses are not fully frozen of course. Just slushy surfaces mostly with thin ice where there is calm water. Beyond First Lake, the trail continuing to Dog Mountain lookout is not as well filled. Lots of exposed roots, rocks with a thin covering of slushy snow. Prudent to wear microspikes and exercise caution in those areas.

For the most part, snow coverage on and near the trail is about 10-15cm. Some lee areas snow coverage between 30-37cm. The same double crusts observed at Hollyburn were present here in the deeper parts of the snowpack, at 15 and 20cm down approximately.
Seemed to be quite a few ski tourers at the parking lot. I didnt go higher than 1055m, but I presume coverage is better closer to Brockton Point. While the resort is still closed, seemed like Ski Patrol was quite busy keeping people from tobogganing within the resort boundary.

Freezing level is expected to rise mid week to above 2000m. The combination of warmth and intensifying rain will likely change conditions on the trail by next weekend.
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post #978 of (permalink) Old 11-21-2021, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Great stuff Andrew and super pics! We needed someone like you. Keep it coming!
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post #979 of (permalink) Old 11-23-2021, 02:12 PM
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-- To add to andrewkyw's post on the Cypress area --

I walked the west half of the Baden Powell trail on Sunday. The trail up to the bluffs was mostly clear, with hints of snow starting at ~650m. The boulder field was looking festive with a light dusting of snow, but easily passable with a bit of care. The bluffs themselves were clear of snow right up to the viewpoint. From there the trail was very well compacted, with about 30-40 cm of snow. Ski season is now on, so the BP access towards Hollyburn is closed; had to cut in from the parking lot. The trail is less well trodden from there to the Hollyburn trail, but still fine without snowshoes. The snow was mostly gone once outside Cypress park (below 800-850m).
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post #980 of (permalink) Old 11-25-2021, 11:07 AM
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There is a washout on the Pierce Lake trail just before where a creek flows under a footbridge. The soil is so saturated that it gives way and makes walking across difficult.
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post #981 of (permalink) Old 11-26-2021, 05:51 PM
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More destruction in Chilliwack Valley. There is a massive slide which took out a portion of the Trans Canada Trail. The slide extends from the roadway (at top) down to the Chilliwack River. This portion of the trail was once forested.
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post #982 of (permalink) Old 11-29-2021, 06:39 PM
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Preventing the flooding in the Sumas prairie is a long-term unwinnable operation if climate warming models ramp up as they predict. It used to be a lake that the local Sumas First Nation based their existence on. This area is the natural N.W. floodplain drainage area for Mt. Baker, only the biggest mountain around here. The moisture laden air from the Pacific rolls in from the S.W. and this is what it meets and drops its orographic load. A big massif structure (Baker and Shuksan),10,000 ft. high that rises from the local area which is just above sea level. Our Sumas floodplain is downhill from the Nooksack river to the south and the old Sumas lake area bottom is 10 feet above sea level. The geological forces from the ice age that compacted that area down would be immense. The old lake would have been the same elevation as the Fraser river there where it drains. And drain it must for the Sumas Prairie to exist.
Not allowing that water to drain naturally north into the Sumas river is a political hot potato across the border. The EPA is not crazy about messing with Mother Nature nowadays. Diking and pushing that water further downstream via the Nooksack river means sending it down to the more populous Bellingham area. At the end of the river is a floodplain there into Bellingham Bay. The whole drainage of old Sumas lake is based on "forcing" that water north into the Fraser river in Abbotsford with pumps via canals. Assuming that the Fraser isn't running high I guess! The draining of the lake was initiated by us settlers 100 years ago to get at the valuable farmland below. The Sumas First Nation had a summer camp on stilts in the middle of the lake and all their fish for eating were there.
I feel sorry for all the people impacted there from the flooding. But knowing what they know now I would say they wouldn't drain the lake. Think Hatzic lake for example. The Sumas people at that time laughed at the idea of draining that lake and they may have been right.

Last edited by Jaaklucas; 11-29-2021 at 06:55 PM.
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post #983 of (permalink) Old 12-03-2021, 02:47 PM
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BCMC trail on Grouse is bare almost all the way, with just a couple of icy sections from old snow on the flat stretch near the top. Just past marker 5 on the Grind there is trodden path developing that leads over the washout creek to the BCMC, joining it just as it turns right heading up to the first switchback. I think this would be a good route for the bottom of the BCMC, the existing trail on the far side of the washout creek needs alot of work.
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post #984 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2021, 01:21 AM
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Headed up to Pump Peak in Mt. Seymour Prov. Park this afternoon. Fairly quiet by weekend standards. Seen from Vancouver, the North Shore mountains appeared shrouded by thick clouds, but once you get above 1000m, you break through the lower cloud layer. Snowline starts around 380m with intermittent coverage. Full coverage starts about 300m higher. Mid day freezing level at about 870m. Parking lot temperature of -1C. Pump Peak temperature was -5C. There was a very light breeze from the west. It was strong enough to redistribute the light dry snow. Sky above the low cloud layer was broken, but the solar effect was very weak. Did not observe any faceting on the snow surface.

The trail from parking lot to Brockton point mostly in good condition. A little thin at the start, but fully covered just 50m above the parking lot. Snow bridges were supportive. Snowshoes were not necessary, but microspikes recommended on steeper slopes since there is a hard, icy rain crust below the 5-10cm of dry powder.

Beyond Brockton point, I took the east approach to Pump Peak. There was one short section where the trail narrows. The section has exposure, but was not runout. Reached my turnaround time at the saddle between Pump Peak and Tim Jones peak (3pm), but I still saw plenty of people heading up. Hope they were ready for sundown.
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