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Sunday, December 6, 2009 The Alpine Club of Canada – Vancouver Section Crown Mountain – Trip Report Participants: Pat Lloyd, Adam Rytwinski, Willa Harasym Trip Organizer: Paul Geddes The idea for this winter ascent of Crown Mountain developed as a result of the perfect conditions for general mountaineering type of climbing that the North Shore Mountains had been experiencing for the past week. A deep snow pack followed by a rain event followed by a deep freeze resulted in these conditions with very low avalanche danger. These kinds of conditions are dangerous to the average person on snowshoes. Good mountaineering boots with crampons and a proper ice axe are a much safer alternative. Unfortunately the day before our trip, a young man on snowshoes died after a fall of 400 m down the exposed slopes of Goat Mountain. Earlier in the week I had joined Bill Sims and other ACC’ers for the regularly scheduled early morning hike of the BCMC trail up Grouse. After watching the group descend via the gondola I pushed on alone to explore the conditions in the backcountry. I found that I could travel quickly and safely in my mountaineering boots on a firm surface crust. I traversed Dam Mountain, Little Goat and then continued on to Goat Mountain. With no previous tracks up Goat I found just enough purchase for edging and secure toe holds where needed. With only ski poles in hand I was cautious not to expose myself to the dangerous slopes that surround a good part of Goat Mountain That evening I posted the Crown Mountain trip to the Club’s iCal calendar www.accvancouver.ca. The conditions remained stable throughout the rest of the week and Sunday morning was clear and cold, perfect for a quick ascent of Crown Mountain. I had climbed Crown once in the summer so I knew the challenges of the steep descent down into Crown Pass, followed by the long, 410 m climb to the summit of Crown Mountain. Having been out late the night before at the Vancouver screening of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, we opted for the first gondola ride up the mountain to save some time and energy. (It’s good to have someone in your group with an annual pass which cuts the ticket price to an extra $15. when you factor in the $5.00 charge for riding down.) From the Grouse Mountain Lodge at 1,220 m we headed out into a biting wind that would stay with us all day. A very well used trail can be followed to the cut off point to Crown Pass. With ice axe in hand we made a quick descent of the northwest slopes to Crown Pass at 1090 m. Travel time down to the pass was half that of my summer trip due to the deep snow cover over slabs, boulders and tree roots. After a short break we started the long climb up the northeast slopes on the other side of the pass. The forest trees are well spaced allowing easy travel as we zig-zagged our way upward. At the start of the traverse of the summer boulder field we stopped to put on our crampons. In winter this section of the route is an exposed snow field. As a precaution we also put on harnesses; I had a rope and some gear in my pack, to cover any problems we might encounter higher up on the mountain – none encountered. We continued moving upward at a steady pace and enjoyed some exciting positions on the long ridge. Knowing that the summit would be windy and cold we stopped in a sheltered spot to refuel. More snow climbing and a few exposed moves on rock brought us to the summit block at 1500 m. We all scrambled up for a secure perch on the dramatic summit. The sunshine on the surrounding ocean and mountains made the views spectacular. Adam, our trip photographer, recorded our brief time on the summit in detail. Shortly after heading back down the ridge we crossed paths with two other ACC climbers, Graham and Drew, who had intersected the ridge from a starting point towards Hanes Valley well below Crown Pass. This alternative steeper route provided a pitch of slab ice climbing which they had come to explore. Continuing down we crossed the boulder field lower down than our morning traverse in order to avoid the upper slabs which had started to heat up in the afternoon sun. We all continued down following our faint up-track before regrouping at Crown Pass for a short break. Adam and I decided to climb out of the pass directly to the 1400 m summit of Goat Mountain a steep ascent of 310 m. It was a very pleasant climb on the styrofoam like snow. We enjoyed many views from the summit of Goat and could see exactly where our route up Crown Mountain had taken us. The peaks of the Tantalus Range in Lake Lovelywater Provincial Park stood out clearly in the distance. Meanwhile Willa and Pat retraced our morning route back to the Grouse Mountain Lodge where Adam and I caught up to them in time for a beer before riding the gondola back down to the city. Return time approximately 7 hours. pg
Have some photos from this event that you'd like to share in our photo album? Please forward them to Kayla Stevenson at email@example.com. Please note that we prefer to receive the photos in approximately 640x480 or 750x500 pixels - do NOT send original high-res photos. If you have a LOT of photos, please submit up to twenty of your favorites (only) for a day event, or up to forty of your favourites for a multi-day event. Thank you.
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