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I like being outside if it's nice out. This includes mountain biking, trail running, sailing, climbing, skiing and much more. If you're going on a fun adventure, let me know!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sigurd Peak

Muffin, Champagne, Simons, Fuller and Rich.
The photo above was taken on the summit of Ossa Mountain, a weekend scrambling trip that I organized with friends in the Varsity Outdoor Club in July 2006. Steep forest and bushy avalanche paths were all that I remembered from the first day of the hike up to our campsite. The next morning, I was the first awake, and wandered between the tents trying to wake my friends up. Jordan was suffering from "alpine-lassitude," and my remedy of opening the valve on his Therma-rest didn't go so well. He ended up bed-ridden all day while we went for the summit. Unfortunately, Steve rolled his ankle within thirty minutes of leaving camp, yet continued with the 1000m climb from camp to summit, and then the 2000m descent back to the car. It was slow and gimpy descent, ending a long fourteen hour day! 

It takes me a while to revisit certain places. And with my map wall obsession, I'm hesitant to repeat any approaches, unless it offers a few centimetres or more of dashed red lines on the topographic maps adorning two of the walls in my basement suite. The whole thing is really quite silly, but I like to think that it encourages me to explore new areas.

After spending the Saturday out in English Bay racing on a sailboat, something that I've been doing a lot of this summer, I was looking forward to some real exercise the next day. I wanted to go somewhere scenic, new to me, not too far away, and reasonable as a daytrip. Sigurd Peak seemed to fit the criteria, and Agi and Maddy joined me for the day.

We drove up the Squamish River Valley, crossed the bridge over the Ashlu, over two more small bridges, and then parked at the bottom of the unmarked A-200 branch. The start of the road is loose with small to medium rocks, but likely passable with a good 4WD vehicle. Doing so would save a 1.5km roundtrip. The Sigurd Creek trail is well marked at the end of this road and well defined, thanks to the efforts of the BCMC. We stopped at the Randy Stoltman lookout, a small detour, which gave us our first view of the Squamish River Valley below. We skipped the Crooked Falls turnoff on the way up, saving it for the way down (it's worth checking out). At ~650m, the Sigurd Peak trail branches off to the right at a well marked junction. Once off the main trail, we noticed a big difference in the trail bed, a sign that fewer people hike in this direction. We followed the trail, through rooty and mossy sections, through rich blueberry bushes and steadily uphill under a canopy of old growth. 

Eventually we reached the treeline at 1400m, at which point the flagging that we followed was replaced with occasional cairns. We continued along the east ridge to the summit, which was still obscured in the clouds at this point. Valley clouds drifted below us, and higher clouds covered the view of Pelion Mountain to the south. Aside from snow patches near the summit, there were no good water sources aside from a few muddy tarns on the east ridge. After five hours of sweaty hiking, we arrived on the flat summit just in time for the clouds to lift up, revealing the stunning view of Ossa and Pelion Mountain.  I need to get back there in the spring and lay down some nice turns off the summit! The views of Mount Jimmy Jimmy, Phantom Mountain, Ashlu-Elaho divide, and Squamish-Cheakamus divide were pretty good too. I couldn't see much further though, with the haze from all the forest fires this summer.

A long lunch on the summit was followed with some more hiking down the west ridge to get better views of the deep blue coloured Sigurd Lake, before retracing our steps back to the car. I kept thinking that a loop combining the Sigurd Creek trail with Sigurd Lake and Sigurd Peak would make for a good overnight trip. Another option would be to go up the Sigurd Creek trail, over the Sigurd-Pokosha col, and down Pokosha Creek. The BCMC is also applying to establish a trail up Pokosha Creek, making for a fantastic addition to the trail network in the area. 

A few links:


Agi standing under the tall trees
Hiking up the east ridge of Sigurd Peak
Harrison picking a bushier path
Summit of Sigurd Peak 
Mount Jimmy Jimmy
Phantom Mountain poking out of the clouds
Summit! 
Ossa Glacier icefall
Pelion and Ossa Mountain
Looking down at the east ridge, with the Squamish River valley far below

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