Mountain Climbing (Mountaineering) in Vancouver, Coast and Mountains


Mountain Climbing
High Country
Rockies/Kootenays
Vancouver
Vancouver Island
Cariboo
Lodging & Services
Recreation
Cities & Towns
Lakes
Travel Info
Points of Interest
Provincial Parks
Trails





Mountain Climbing/ Mountaineering
Plan a Trip

The Coast Mountains are made up of many different types of rock formation offering diverse climbing opportunities. Types of rocks found in this region are granite, mantle, volcanic, sedimentary and metamorphic. One of the world's largest masses of granitic rocks, the Coast Platonic Complex, makes up the Coast Mountain Range. Volcanic and sedimentary rocks are mixed in this complex that varies in composition and age. Few mountains are true granite, they are the Squamish Chief and peaks found in the Chehalis and Chilliwack area. The youngest rocks in this region are the volcanic type, an extension of the Cascade chain, and found in Garibaldi, Cayley and Meager areas. Mountains to suit every type of mountain climbing are found within a few hours of Vancouver.

History of mountaineering in this region dates back to the early explorers, whose names and feats are lost forever, as no records were kept. The Skagit and Chilliwack valleys were explored and surveyed from 1857 to 1862, when both British and Americans were overseeing the International Boundary. Stanley Smith and a Mr. Doolittle made their way from Squamish to Chilko Lake in the year 1893. They were trying to find a viable overland route through the Coastal Mountains to the ocean.

Recreational climbing started in earnest after the 1903 ascent of The Lions.
In 1907 the Vancouver Mountaineering Club (which later became the BC Mountaineering Club) was formed and soon organized climbs were happening. First recorded ascends of Seymour, The Needles, Mt. Cathedral, the Lynn Peaks, Bishop and Mt. Burwell took place in 1908. The first ascent of Mt. Garibaldi took place the year before. By the end of the 1950's most of the mountains in and around Vancouver, Squamish and Chilliwack were no longer strangers to mountaineers. Discovering new, technical routes and winter mountaineering are the trends today.
Developing new, longer and more difficult routes and the exploration of remote spots promise a long and prosperous future for the sport of mountain climbing in British Columbia.

North Shore and Howe Sound:

Vancouver hikers and climbers are extremely fortunate, as they are within minutes of the mountains and their favourite pastime. Most physically fit individuals with no need for special mountaineering equipment can climb Seymour, Hollyburn, Black Mountain and other peaks in the North Shore Mountains. The Camel on Crown Mountain, The Lions and Mt. Harvey offer good rock climbs. The North Shore mountains, where winter mountaineering got its start, is still popular.

Roads in North and West Vancouver that start from Highway # 1, easily lead to most North Shore Mountains. Also reach the area from the Sea to Sky Highway (The Squamish Highway # 99).

Mt. Seymour:

Mt. Seymour at 1450 metres (4766 ft.) is a popular moderate mountain with easy access, but it also has its share of mishaps. Like most coastal mountains, the terrain is rugged and the weather unpredictable. It can be confusing and compasses are recommended. This is not a technically difficult mountain. From Seymour, other peaks that are interesting but not difficult climbs include Runner Peak, Mt. Bishop, Coliseum Mountain and Cathedral Mountain.

Grouse Mountain:

Grouse Mountain that is 1177 metres (3861 ft.) is easily reached, by taking one of the five approaches. North from Grouse is a rock and a heather knoll called Goat Mountain that stands at 1319 metres (4327 ft). Located above the Capilano River is Crown Mountain reaching heights of 1503 metres (4931 ft.). Crater Rim on Crown provides some Class 4 climbing. The Camel, a peak on the north side of Crown's highest summit offers Class 4 down climbing. Reaching the head of the Camel is the allure of this climb.

Hollyburn Mountain:

Hollyburn is 1324 metres (4345 ft.) and easily accessible from Cypress Bowl cross country and down hill ski area. Neither route is difficult. Or you can reach the peak from Highway 99.

The Lions (West Lion and East Lion):

The Lions is a prominent landmark. The western summit is higher and a more popular climb. Reach the Lions from Cypress Bowl's down hill parking lot. Make your way around the west side of Mt. Strachan, up Unnecessary Mountain to the base of the Lions. A sharp gap isolates the peak. Climbing the West Lion should not be underestimated, if not properly equipped or psyched, do not go beyond the gap. Still another popular climb is the north face, which takes approximately seven hours from the road and is a Class 5.7 climb. To climb the northeast buttress, take the same approach as you would to the north face. This climb is Class 5.3 and takes about six hours from the road. The southeast gully leads to the summit snow slopes and has good ice in winter. Reach the base of this route by going up the northeast side, using the same approach as the north face. The East Lion at 1599 metres (5245 ft.) might not be as high, but is more difficult than the West Lion that is 1646 metres (5401 ft.) in height.

Other good mountain climbing in this region is Mt. Harvey at 1703 metres (5590 ft), Brunswick Mountain at 1785 metres (5855 ft.), Mt. Hanover at 1747 metres (5730 ft.) and Capilano Mountain at 1685 metres (5529 ft.). On leaving the north shore, sections will look at mountain climbing that follows the Sea to Sky Highway from Horseshoe Bay to Pemberton.

Sky Pilot Area:

The first good climbing region out of Vancouver is the Sky Pilot area, found before you get to Garibaldi Provincial Park and easily approached from the Sea to Sky Highway (Squamish Highway 99). Although not as popular as other mountains, it has alpine lakes, meadows, good approaches, a cluster of peaks and is close to Vancouver. Approach from Furry Creek Road, Britannia Townsite, the Mountain Lake Hut, from Petgil Lake or the Stawamus River. Sky Pilot Group at the head of Britannia Creek consists of metamorphic volcanic rock that is quite firm.

Sky Pilot Mountain that reaches a height of 2025 metres (6645 ft.) features a few different routes, but the most popular is the south ridge. Start the climb from the head of Marmot Creek, or from the scree basin southeast of Sky Pilot, or head to Gunsight Gap that separates Sky Pilot from Ledge Mountain. Rated as a Class 2 to 3 climb, it takes about two hours of climbing from the basin.

Located east of Sky Pilot Mountain is The Ledge at 1920 metres (6300 ft.). Rated as a Class 2 to 3 climb, it is approximately an hour and a half climb from the basin. An interesting trek that takes approximately 2 1/2 hours is the climb up the west shoulder. Climbing the north face can take a full day on sound rock. Or climb the south face that is a Class 5.6. Other excellent mountaineering in the Sky Pilot area includes The Ledgelette at 1860 metres (6100 ft.), the Tombstone Tower at 1800 metres (5900 ft.), the Nai that is 1740 metres (5700 ft.) and Mt. Habrich at 1700 metres (5600 ft.).

Garibaldi Park:

Next with good climbing is Garibaldi Provincial Park. Situated along the Sea to Sky Highway, Garibaldi is only 64 km (40 miles) from the city of Vancouver. Popular Whistler Ski Village is just off the northwestern boundary of the park. Garibaldi's proximity to Vancouver and Whistler makes it the most popular and used provincial park in BC. It is an outdoor playground used by hikers, climbers and skiers. The most popular ski touring destinations are Garibaldi Lake, Helm Glacier, and Black Tusk Meadows. Experienced skiers head to Spearhead Range that takes them into the alpines of Singing Pass area. Hiking and climbing in Garibaldi Park is not technically demanding but fun and most people return often to explore the different areas. Many different approaches and routes lead into the park where climbing, hiking and ski touring are enjoyed.

Volcanic action formed many peaks in Garibaldi, giving them their own distinct looks and features. They include the Black Tusk, Price Mountain, Cinder Cone, The Table, Mount Garibaldi and the Glacier Pikes, to name a few.

Mount Garibaldi (2678 m/8787 ft.):

For an excellent view of Mount Garibaldi at 2678 metres (8787 ft.), look northeast from Squamish. The mountains are mainly young with loose volcanic rock, but are very popular. Routes mainly stay to the glaciers where possible, this is due to the rock composition. Atwell Peak (Diamond Head) is the sharp southern summit and Dalton Dome is the western peak.

The approach to Mount Garibaldi from the Elfin Lakes Shelter onto the neve is a high avalanche area in winter and spring, taking the longer but safer ascend, is best. Head from Alice Ridge by climbing northwest from the Elfin Lakes shelter and cross the saddle between Columnar Peak and the Gargoyles. Now descend to Ring Creek and make your way to Garibaldi Neve. To reach the east face from this point, climb the glacier between Garibaldi and Atwell, head up summit glacier to the west peak of Garibaldi. This takes about six hours from Elfin Lakes. Going northwest from the neve reaches the northeast face onto the east ridge below The Tent. Go west, making your way to the head of Warren Glacier and the final steep slopes.

Dalton Dome at 2620 metres (8600 ft.) features three different routes to the summit. They are the north face, northwest face and the southwest ridge. Atwell Peak is 2620 metres (8600 ft.) high and usually climbed in winter or early spring. It offers climbing options such as the north ridge, east face, south ridge, northwest face, Siberian Express and the Armenian Express.

The Black Tusk:

This is the most popular climbing area in the park. A track has been worn to the base. The real climb on Black Tusk that reaches heights of 2315 metres (7593 ft.) is the chimney. Although it is a Class 2 to 3, the rock is steep and one should be careful. The open ridge that is northeast of Black Tusk is called Empetrum Peak at 1992 metres (6536 ft.). Good ski routes are the features of Panorama Ridge, Corrie Peak, Gentian Peak and Helm Peak.

Castle Towers Mountain:

The highest peak east of Garibaldi Lake is Castle Towers Mountain at 2675 metres (8778 ft.) in height. It can be reached from the west ridge, south side, east side or the northwest face. Other excellent climbing in this region is Phyllis' Engine, granite spires south of Castle Towers that tower to 2560 metres (8400 ft.). Across Cheakamus Glacier from Castle Towers is Mt. Davidson at 2500 metres (8200 ft.) and Mt. Carr at 2590 metres (8500 ft.) is southeast of Castle Towers. The Bookworms, The Sphinx, Deception Peak, Guard Mountain, The Table, Mount Luxor and many others offer good climbing in this region.

Fitzsimmons Range:

This range takes in Whistler Mountain at 2190 metres (7200 ft.), the Singing Pass Area, Overlord Mountain, Diavolo Peak, Mount Fitzsimmons, Cheakamus Mountain and Mount MacBeth. The Fitzsimmons range peaks are glaciated and alpine, but no technically difficult, and popular in summer and winter.

Whistler Mountain, combined with Blackcomb Mountain, is world famous as a ski area. It is the most popular ski mountain in North America and possibly the world. Nevertheless, it is also famous for hiking, mountain biking and climbing.

The Spearhead Range:

Located north of the Fitzsimmons Range, the Spearhead Range is icy but gentle. A recommended ski trip is the traverse of Spearhead and Fitzsimmons ranges, which will take from 3 to 4 days. Blackcomb Peak at 2440 metres (8000 ft.) is at the west end of the Spearhead Range and part of the Whistler Blackcomb Ski resort. The central range includes Mt. Torey and Mt. Pattison, while Tremor Mountain, Shudder Mountain and Quiver Peak are the main eastern summits of the range.

Northern Section of Garibaldi Park:

This area sports the highest peaks and the best weather in the park. Most treks can be approaches by way of Wedgemount Lake. The highest mountain in Garibaldi Park is Wedge Mountain at 2904 metres (9527 ft.). The summit can be reached by the west ridge, north couloir, north arete, north face, the northeast side or the south side. Northwest of Wedgemount Lake is Mount Weart that reaches 2870 metres (9400 ft.) in height. Other summits in this region of the park are The Owls, Eureka Mountain, Mt. Neal, Mt. Currie and Mt. James Turner.

McBride Range is mostly used by ski touring parities and consists of Mt. Sir Richards, Tenas Peak, The Orphans, Talon Peak, The Lettuce Cutters, The Gatekeeper and the Forger Glacier Peaks. These are all easy summits with few technical difficulties.

Pemberton & Squamish River Area:

The north boundary is the Lillooet River, the south is Ashlu Creek, while the eastern boundary is Highway 99 and the Elaho River forms the western boundary. This is an alpine playground year round. The meadows of Brew and Tricouni offer colourful hiking during the spring. Sproatt, Rainbow and Ipsoot are popular with the snow board crowd. Because of the huge amount of snow and improved access, ski touring is getting more than its share of people. General mountaineering is good in the Squamish area on Cayley, Tricouni and Mount Fee. Approaches to this region are from the Sea to Sky Highway # 99, from Ashlu Creek, the Squamish River Road, Elaho Logging roads and from Lillooet River.

Climbing and hiking are both increasing yearly in the Squamish-Cheakamus Divide area. This is because the area is close to Vancouver and offers good ski touring. Mountains that are gaining popularity include Mt. Brew, Cypress Peak, Tricouni Peak, Mt. Fee, Mt. Cayley, Brandywine Mountain, Pyroclastic Peak, Vulcan's Thumb, Rainbow Mount, Mt. Callaghan, Sugarloaf Mountain and Ipsoot Mountain.

Found between the Lillooet River and the head of Squamish River is a large glacial complex known as the Pemberton Icefields. In recent years, new roads have been carved into this region making it more accessible. Overseer Mountain at 2745 metres (9000 ft.) is the highest summit of this icefield. Other accessible summits are Spidery Peak, Pika Peak, Blanca Peaks, and Longspur Peak.

The Tantalus Range:

This mountain range lies in a northwest direction from Squamish and has rock and snow climbing that is challenging. The best approach to the Tantalus is from Lake Lovely Water but can also be reached from Sechelt and Gibsons Landing on the Sunshine Coast.

Standing above the Squamish Valley at the southwest end of Lake Lovely Water is Omega Mountain at 1860 metres (6100 ft.) in height. Climb either the north side or the west ridge. Both are Class 3 climbs. Mt. Niobe at 2010 metres (6600 ft.) is the highest mountain south of Lake Lovely Water. All four routes to the summit are a Class 3. Both Alpha Mountain and Serratus Mountain feature different trails that are all rated between a Class 3 and Class 4. The highest peak of the Tantalus Range at 2603 metres (8540 ft.) is Mt. Tantalus and its southern partner is Mt. Dione. To reach the summit on Tantalus could take up to three days. The routes vary from Class 3 right up to Class 5.7. Other mountains in this range that offer good climbing are Lydia, Ionia, Zenith, Pelion and Ossa.

The Meager Group and the Manatee Group:

Approach these two groups from the Lillooet River Road, fly in, then ski or hike out. The Meager Group consists of sharp peaks of rotten volcanic rock that are not technically difficult. Plinth Peak at 2680 metres (8790 ft.) is the highest peak in the group and found in the northeast corner. Others are Mt. Meager at 2650 metres (8680 ft.), Capricorn Mountain, Mt. Job, Plyon and Devastator Peaks.

Manatee Group features a few major peaks, alpine terrain and awesome scenery. Sirenia Mountain that reaches heights of 2853 metres (9359 ft.) and Wahoo Tower at 2850 metres (9350 ft.) offer solid rock and good climbing. The highest summit is Manatee Peak at 2859 metres (9380 ft.) and rated a Class 3.

North Creek is the area west of Bridge Glacier, east of Railroad Creek-Hurley River Road, south of Lillooet River and north of Bridge River. This region offers good alpine climbing, ski touring, scrambling and hiking. Approach North Creek vicinity from the Lillooet River Road or the Hurley River Road. Interesting mountains include Mt. Vayu at 2774 metres (9100 ft.), Mt. Thiassi at 2740 metres (9000 ft.), Mt. Samson that towers to 2800 metres (9200 ft.) and Mt. Athelstan at 2770 metres (9100 ft.) plus many others.

The Southern Chilcotin Area:

The valley systems, gentle summits and ridges make this region great for ski touring, backpacking and alpine hiking. From the Lillooet-Gold Bridge Road many approaches lead into the different ranges dotting this area. Explore the Dickson Range that offers excellent terrain for ski touring. The Shulaps Range with Shulaps Peak at 2775 metres (9105 ft.) is a class 2 with snow and loose rock climbs. Big Dog Mountain that is not technically difficult is at the north end of Shulaps Range and North of Seton Lake is Mission Ridge at 2404 metres (7886 ft.).

Joffre Group:

This is a perfect area for mountaineers to take novice climbers as it has everything a student needs. There are ridges, alpine lakes, rock faces, glaciers and icefalls. Although, the peaks are not technically difficult, the scenery and wilderness quiet is very appealing. Most of the approaches are from the Duffy Lake Road. Joffre Peak that reaches a height of 2710 metres (8900 ft.) offers ten different climbing options, that range from Class 3 to mid Class 5 and variety in length. Between Lillooet and Duffey Lakes is Mt. Matier. This is the highest summit in the region and towers 2770 metres (9100 ft.) Depending on which route you take up, they range from Class 3 to 5.

Lizzie Lake:

Popularity of this region is growing with hikers, alpine climbers and ski tourers. Here are open meadows, alpine ridges, lakes and small glaciers that are easily reached with non technical mountaineering. There is also easy access to the Stein divide and the upper Stein Valley from Lizzie Lake. Approaches to the climbs are from Lizzie Creek, Rogers Creek, and Gowan Creek. Summits include Arrowhead Mountain, Cloudraker Mountain, Tundra Peak and Priory Peaks. A group of high summits make up the divide between the Stein River and Lizzie Creek.

The Anderson River and Coquihalla Area:

This area lies between the Fraser Canyon on the Trans-Canada Highway and the Coquihalla Highway, offering two very different types of climbing. The Coquihalla area is best suited for fall climbing and most summits are not technically difficult, but places are challenging. In the northern area, the Anderson River Group offers granitic summits, good access and interesting climbs. Approach this area from the Coquihalla Highway, the Fraser River and the Coldwater River Road. Western and central summits are easily reached from the Anderson River Road.

Anderson River Mountain at 1977 metres (6485 ft.) is the most northwest summit in the Anderson River Group and an easy scramble. The most popular climb is Chamois Peak at 2010 metres (6600 ft.) that ranges from a Class 3-4 to a Class 5.7. Good quality rock climbs can be experienced on the rocky parapets east of Chamois, called Les Cornes. Ibex Peak is the highest in the western cluster reaching a height of 2010 metres (6600 ft.). The north ridge is a Class 3, the southeast ridge has variations up to Class 5.9 and the east ridge reaches a Class 5.10. Steinbok Peak at 1980 metres (6500 ft.) offers climbing that reaches to a Class 5.9 on the northeast buttress. Check out the many other interesting and good climbing mountains that exist in this area. Between Boston Bar Creek and the Coldwater River are climbs to Zopkios Ridge that consists of Yak Peak, Nak Peak and Thar Peak.

The Chehalis:

Situated between Harrison Lake on the east, and Stave River and Lake on the west is the Chehalis Range. It takes in The Ratney group to the south and the Clark group to the north. Climbing varies from easy to moderate skills. Chehalis River Main Line Road offers fair access to most the major summits.

The Ratney Group means good climbing on Mt. Bardean at 1930 metres (6300 ft.), Mt. Ratney that is 1960 metres (6434 ft.) in height and Stonerabbit Peak at 1830 metres (6000 ft.). Mt. Clarke at 2171 metres (7100 ft.), Recourse Peak at 2100 metres (6900 ft.) and Viennese Peak at 2130 metres (7000 ft.) are all part of the Clarke Group. The Grainger Group is made up of Nursery Peak at 2070 metres (6800 ft.) and Grainger Peak at 2197 metres (7207 ft) high.

The Chilliwack Valley:

This area offers something for every climber. It has challenging alpine routes, hiking trails and scrambling. Chilliwack Valley is also well known for its many technical climbs that range from Class 4 to Class 5.6 or 5.7. Chilliwack Valley is popular with all types of mountain climbers and it is only a couple of hours from Vancouver, making the region accessible to weekend outdoor adventures. Main approach to the valley is from Chilliwack Lake Road and its many logging side roads.

Easy seen from the Chilliwack area is Tomyhoi Peak at 2271 metres (7451 ft.) with a flat bench glacier at the 1980 metres (6500 ft.) level. The Canadian Border Peak, is a steep peak that towers up to 2225 metres (7400 ft.) Situated just north of the border it offers Class 3 to Class 4 climbing. American Border Peak is higher at 2446 metres (8026 ft.) and south of the border. It offers four different routes that are Classed from 3 to 5. The Pleiades at 2240 metres (7360 ft.) high is a ridge just south of the border offering climbs of Class 3 to 4.

Slesse Mountain at 2375 metres (7800 ft.) high is a popular, exhilarating peak. All routes require roped climbing and there are nine different ones. Towering to 2320 metres (7600 ft.) high is Mt. Rexford, a massif that dominates the area east of Sleese Mountain. It provides fine clean climbing with four different routes to the summit.

The Cheam Range:

Visibility and accessibility make the Cheam Range a popular climbing area. It is easy to approach from the Trans Canada Highway, east of Chilliwack. At 2107 metres (6913 ft.) Cheam Peak can be seen from as far away as 50 km (30 mi.). Winter mountaineering is becoming a favourite past time on the Cheam Group. The northeast ridge of Cheam Peak is a class 4, the north face-direct is up to 5.7 and the north face-right side is a mixed climb with challenges and falling stones.

Welch Peak, is the highest peak in the Cheam Range. Both the northern and eastern flanks are glacier covered and the peak is impressive. It reaches to 2440 metres (8000 ft.) in height and all routes are Class 3 to 4 climbs.

The Skagit:

The boundaries of this region are the Trans Canada Highway on the north, Lightening Creek to the south, Highway 3 and Skagit River to the east and Chilliwack Lake to the west. In the middle is a region of many summits that are of moderate elevation. Nevertheless, there are also challenging climbs. Approaches are from Ross Lake Road or from Highway # 3, the Hope-Princeton Highway.

Mt. Payne at 2160 metres (7100 ft.) offers climbers three different routes up to the summit. Mt. Ridout that towers 2447 metres (8029 ft.) high, is rated from a Class 3 to 5.3. The west ridge on Silvertip Mountain is a Class 3. The northeast ridge is a rock climb and rated as a Class 5 before the crest. Great hiking and ski touring is available on Custer Ridge. Other good climbing mountains in the Skagit include Wright Peak, Desolation Peak, Shawatum Mountain and the Hozomeen Group.

Manning Park:

Manning Provincial Park established in 1941 is one of the busiest parks in British Columbia. This park does not offer any really technical climbs. Instead it features excellent alpine hiking trails, ski touring and cross country skiing. The main approach to Manning Park is the Hope-Princeton Highway (Highway 3), which bisects the park. From the park headquarters and the Manning Park Lodge are many trails that lead into wilderness areas and exciting back country hiking. Enjoy hiking to the summits of Mt. Outram, Snass Mountain, Warburton Peak, Mt. Dewdney, Silverdaisy Mountain and Three Brothers Mountain.

BC Adventure Network members serving this area:

Kumsheen Rafting Resort: Come and experience one of BCs premier tourism destinations. You want the best, and Kumsheen Rafting Resort delivers: a luxurious, activity-filled adventure resort and an unforgettable whitewater rafting experience on BCs Thompson River. Hot sunny weather an... more

Follow Us On Facebook



List of BC Adventure
Advertisers

Site Info
Advertise With Us
Awards
About Us
Contact Us




Free Vacation Guides
BC Vacation Guides
Coastal Vacations
Thompson Okanagan
EcoTourism
Fishing Vacations
Guest Ranch Guide
Romantic Getaways
Wilderness Vacations
Winter Vacations
The Rockies Guide




Login



Mountain Climbing (Mountaineering) in Vancouver, Coast and Mountains