Hollyburn snowshoe, 5 Apr 2009

Not another trip up Hollyburn? Yes indeed, but this one’s different: it was sunny! The first time in over two years that we were at the summit of Hollyburn on snowshoes with a view to the north.

Some of Maria’s dancing friends had expressed interest in getting out snowshoeing with us, so when we saw the superb weather forecast we quickly arranged a suitable trip. Since Rob and Jo had been on Seymour, we thought we show them the free trail on Hollyburn so they didn’t have to pay to wander through the trees. (Which is very pleasant, and perfect for snowy days or introductory snowshoeing, but it can’t possibly match getting to the summit of a mountain on a clear day.)

Hollyburn snowshoe, 5 Apr 2009

We collected Rosemary at 8.45 and met the others at 9. We headed up to the trailhead and were ready to set off around 9.30 am. The snow was remarkably good considering how late in the season it was. The trail was hard-packed of course, but the minute you stepped off the snow was soft and deep. I sank up to the top of my legs at one point and decided the time was right to put on my snowshoes. Maria couldn’t resist making a snow imprint.

An hour or so’s steady trogging along brought us to the base of the steep bit. A few moments rest and we were ready to continue, picking our way slowly uphill in the warm sunshine. We paused at one point to look back and savour the view of Vancouver as we gained height. Rob, Jo and Rosemary hadn’t seen this view before so they oohed and aahed their way up the hill. The craggy precipitous west face of Crown Mountain came into view over to our right and prompted more photos.

As we neared the summit, most of the trees were still covered in ice and snow, large pieces of which were dropping off as they melted in the sunshine. Definitely not a time to get close to the trees. Looking up we saw a complete halo around the sun. Nice.

Hollyburn snowshoe, 5 Apr 2009

Soon we were on the summit where a couple of people were just leaving, allowing us to occupy their spot and sit down for a well-earned lunch break. It was clear in all directions, the first time for us in a couple of years, and we made the most of it. We pointed out the Lions, Sky Pilot and Garibaldi to the north, Crown, Grouse and Seymour to our east and Mt Baker and Mt Cheam in the far distance. An excellent photography day too.

We explored the summit area seeking out better and/or just different views and generally plodding around in the snow. It was great fun to take a few friends up and show them what attracts us to the mountains.

Then it was time to descend and the fun really began! Despite the good weather, it was quiet enough for us to slide down at every opportunity without the risk of knocking someone off their feet. Soon everyone was hooked and made a slide out of every little slope we could find.

Hollyburn snowshoe, 5 Apr 2009

Reaching the bottom of the hill we made good time along the trail and, after rediscovering Rob’s glove, were soon at the final big slide near the trailhead. Always a favourite with us, and though it looked quite daunting at first, soon everyone was at the bottom wearing the same enormous silly grin :-) Back at the cars there was only one thing left to do: sink a nice cold pint in the bar at the new lodge in the downhill ski area. Cheers!

Distance: 5 km
Elevation gain: 400 m

Photos on Flickr

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