July 14, 2019 at 2:35 pm #9956Mark LathamMember
I recommend using a GPS app for this hike, and not going alone. It’s hard to follow, much is unmaintained and little travelled.
Three of us met in Starbucks at the base of Grouse gondola at 9:30am. We started the hike at about 9:55am from the Grouse Grind entrance, but headed east on the Baden Powell Trail. Weather was warm and dry as planned — I had checked the forecast and posted the hike just 2 days before.
With 1100 metres of ascent in store, I wore shorts to keep cool; but with the option to zip on long pant legs for the overgrown parts of the trail. (I never zipped them on, but got some scratches as a result.) We each brought 1 or 2 hiking poles, for creek crossings and stability on the sometimes steep, sometimes unmaintained trails.
Soon after crossing Mackay Creek, we watched for the Mackay Creek Trail heading up the slope to the left. Part way up that, we accidentally turned left onto the “Old BCMC Trail”, but noticed in a few minutes and backtracked. Continued up Mackay to about 840m elevation.
This would have been a good point to change from shorts to long pants, as next there’s a little bushwacking and a lot of overgrown trail.
We needed to somehow connect from Mackay Creek Trail to “Old Grouse Highway”, an overgrown road starting 300 metres to the east, running horizontally northeast at about 830m elevation. On the 2018-09-29 recce [track & data], I had done this by bushwhacking directly across. On the 2019-07-12 hike [track & data], we followed a small trail recommended by a local guide. Either way, it’s hard to find that old road, and a GPS app was very helpful. Watch for trail markers that face east.
Attached photo of my happy face when we found Old Grouse Highway, which connects from LGMH (a steep trail, formerly a logging road) toward [Grouse] Mountain Highway, a well maintained gravel road. We followed OGH to Mosquito Creek, detoured up it to a beautiful waterfall (photo attached) and stopped for lunch.
Returning to where we had reached the creek, we found the trail heading up to Mountain Highway, and followed that to a left curve where Pipeline Trail leads northeast to Pipeline Pass. In the pass there’s a right fork to Mount Fromme, while we took the left fork, the Erik the Red Trail. In contrast to the general lack of maintenance on these trails, in a couple of spots we saw recently chainsawed logs.
After crossing Whistler Creek, the trail climbs 350 metres. At about 1080m altitude, the way is blocked by a big long log. The terrain slopes sideways steeply, making climbing over the log a bit hazardous. There’s just enough space for slim hikers to squeeze underneath, so that’s how most of us get through. I recommend bringing a plastic sheet to keep people clean and dry, especially if it rained in the previous couple of days. Lacking that, an alternative is to climb uphill to where you can clamber over the log. I’m no expert on trail maintenance, but a modest solution could be to bring a shovel and deepen the space under the log.
At the top we reached Thunderbird Ridge, a familiar trail with beautiful views. Stopped for lunch part 2, then an hour hiking on good trails to Grouse Chalet. We all had Grouse passes, but while two of us waited in line for the gondola down, hats off to Roland for hiking down the BCMC Trail. 🙂
Thank you Ron Klassen of Golden Age Hiking Club for showing me these less known trails!
- This topic was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Mark Latham. Reason: Had to shrink second photo
- This topic was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Mark Latham. Reason: Added paragraph re fallen log obstacle
- This topic was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Mark Latham.
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