Conway Peak

Date: Sept 13, 2014

Participants: Jean-Michel, Julie, Geoff Zenger

Difficulty: 2

Report: Originally intended as an overnight BCMC trip to Stoyoma Mountain and Mount Hewitt Bostock in the northern Coquihalla region, a change of plans and need to be back in Vancouver on Sunday meant that the trip had to be shortened to a day trip.  Opting against driving all the way through Merritt for a day trip, we changed our minds in Chilliwack and headed up Conway Peak, the southernmost peak in the Cheam range.

The road up to Jones Lake and then to the trailhead is in decent shape right now, but definitely requires a 4×4 HC vehicle.  We arrived at the trailhead at around 10 and started our way up the trail at about a quarter past, making our way up the switchbacks on an old road.  The road here is quite overgrown in places, but easy to follow, although we missed the 4th switchback and instead of making the turn right before a creek crossing, we hopped across the creek and continued about 15 minutes right to the end of some even older spur, wasting a good half hour of our time.

Once back across the creek where the switchback should’ve been it was easy to see where the right way to go was, and a few minutes later we entered the old growth forest to follow the old Lucky Four Trail up to Mile High Camp.  This trail is in great condition and is very pleasant.  Just before 1 o’clock we found ourselves getting hungry and decided to stop at the next knoll, and were happy to find that it was indeed the famed mile high camp!  It’d be a great spot to camp with fantastic views all around, although I personally wouldn’t really want to lug an overnight pack all the way up there…

We left the camp at 1:35, and from here the route up Conway is really nice over open heather and rock slopes, and it was easy and fun to make it up to the summit, which we reached at 2:20, 45 minutes after leaving the camp.  Total ascent time, 4 hours, including 35 minutes at mile high camp and 30 minutes on the wrong road.

We had lucked out and had amazing fall weather on the summit, warm, sunny, and clear.  We dozed off for a while, took group shots, gazed at the huge north faces of Foley and Welch, and identified peaks south of the border for nearly an hour before starting back down.

The descent was quick and uneventful and took under 2.5 hours to complete.  Total round trip time was around 7.5 hours.  In all, Conway Peak greatly exceeded my expectations and is a really nice hiking peak that doesn’t see the popularity it deserves.  Great views, nice trail (minus the bottom bit), close to Vancouver.  Recommended!

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Alpen Mountain 2013

Trip Date: Dec 7, 2013

Participants: Chris Barton, Michele Cohen, Alison Coolican, Jaine Hnik, Rob Kay, Jana Kralikova, Alex Le, Dave Robertson, Pavel Stech, Goran Vranic, Geoff Zenger

Difficulty: 2

Report: Another December, another trip to Alpen Mountain.  Alpen is one of my favourite early season trips due to the first part being entirely on logging road and so you can always drive right to the point where you can start skinning.  For a detailed description of the route, please see one of my trip report from 2011 here.

The Whistler alpine forecast for the date of the trip was for temperatures down to -21 in the alpine and it hadn’t snowed in weeks, so we were all a bit nervous about we would encounter on the route but headed up towards the mountain nonetheless.  I went to Alpen in December 2011 and December 2012 and in those years we were able to start skinning from around 550m and 450m, respectively.  This year however, we were able to drive up to 1050m, shaving at least 4.5km off of the distance that I had to cover in previous years.  This would make for a short day.

The ascent took us just a bit over 3 hours, including a snack break at the snowmobile hut.  Up to the hut there was very little snow and in a few places there weren’t any great lines to ascend through the trees, but not far above the hut the snow became deeper and to our pleasant surprise, it was remarkably light powder!  No ice to be found at all despite how long it’d been since it last snowed.  Even better, the sun was beating down all day and there was no wind, and so even though it was around -10 degrees on the summit, everyone was happy to spend the better part of an hour on top before starting down.

Once we were down to where we left our skis below the summit, the next part of the descent was through really nice powder, and we found a route through the trees back to the road that only involved a couple minutes of bush-bashing.  The road was quick to descend as always, and we were packed up and heading back down the road before 3pm.  In all, it was a surprisingly good day of touring and skiing!  Thanks to everyone who came out!

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