I love alpine hikes and some of my favourites ones only can be reached with a high clearance vehicle, fortunately the trail to Needle Peak is next to the Highway. I did this trail three years ago and at that time I was intrigued of a black pole that I saw on the other side of the mountain. My goal for today was to reach that point. As usual, the first part of the hike goes into the forest and from there you can have some views of the Zopkios Ridge. Yak Peak is the highest peak on Zopkios Ridge, the other two being Nak and Thar Peaks.
Yak Peak - South Face
From the beginning the trail is quite steep but one good thing is that the forest provides protection against the sun. For me was very useful because I started the hike at noon. One hour later I reached the first part of the subalpine. This time I wasn't interested in reaching the summit, instead I did a right turn and keep following the trail to the mysterious pole
After 30 minutes I reached a beautiful lake. I saw some campers on a small flat area.
I took a quick break. I still have a small scramble to hike. The Needle is a very popular area in winter time for backcountry sky. This is an area with a high snowfall, I read reports where you can have up to 60 cm of new snow in a matter of hours.
In winter the temperature can go as low as -30 C, I hope that someday I can do some snowshoeing here but first I need to buy the proper gear.
Today the weather was excellent and thanks to the long weekend there were not many people around.
Reaching the plateau I have 360 degrees views from the Cascades to the Coastal Mountains.
Needle Peak and Coquihalla Mountain on the background.
I read mixed comments about the Needle, for some people is just a scramble to the summit. From my point of view, if you are a novice you better go with someone with experience. In any case, the final part is a rock climbing but if manageable if you stay to the right side of the gully.
Reaching the pole
Well, the pole looks like is being used by Environment Canada. I was very happy resting on this plateau having the wind as a constant companion
Guess from where the wind comes from?
Then I saw a couple swimming along the lake. The water was surprisingly warm, this is one place where I would love to do camping. Are there any volunteers?
On this area I saw a geological phenomenon know as exfoliation -- rock expansion produced when the rock is exposed by weathering and removal of the overlying rock. This decreases the confining pressure on the rock promoting cracking --
Round trip: Maybe 12 kms
Elevation gain: Around 600 metres
Time: 5 hours
Driving distance from Vancouver: 197.1 kilometers / 122.5 miles (2.5 hours)