Flatiron Mountain

January 11, 2016

It should be noted that many older guidebooks list the trailhead as being next to the waterfall near the maintenance shed. This is the typical approach in winter.

In summer follow the rough road west (back towards Hope) that is below the the highway maintenance yard and cross over a small creek. Immediately after the creek, look for the signed trailhead on your left.

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Sunrise at the Alex Fraser Bridge

The fist part of this trail is very steep, but it takes less than one hour to reach the first part of the subalpine. Here you can have interesting views of the Zopkios Ridge.

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Continue hiking along the ridge as it gradually gains in elevation. This section of trail is lined with heather, and the occasional gap in the trees offers great views of Needle Peak and it's sharp northern face.

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As you hike, the trees on the ridge will thin out and the terrain will become much more rocky in nature. Soon enough the trail emerges into the true alpine near the far southern edge of the ridge.

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At 2,039 m Yak Peak is a steep granite mountain, and is the highest summit on the Zopkios Ridge.

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Yak Peak (left) and Nak Peak (right)

Nak Peak has a steep, but bushy face dropping down to Falls Lake. A nak is a female yak, in case you wondered.

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Alpaca, Vicuna and Guanaco Peaks

Vicuna and Guanaco peaks stand at the head of the Upper Coldwater River Valley. They are not visible from the highway.

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Steinbox and Gamuza Peaks

Gamuza Peak (1,944 m) is not as high or difficult as its neighbor, Steinbox (2,012 m). Gamuza offers some good moderate climbing, scrambling and hiking. The north side is steep, while the south side is gently sloped. The north side, the most commonly approached, has two good moderate climbs.

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At this point you will have views, of both, the Cascades and the Coastal Mountains. Large portions of the Coast Mountains are composed of granite, however even Yak Peak being mostly granite, it makes part of the Cascades.

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Alpaca, Vicuna, Guanaco, Zopkios, Yak and Nak Peaks

To make it easier for you to understand, the coastal mountains from Vancouver to Juneau (north) are the Coastal Mountains, the ones from Vancouver to Portland (south) are the North Cascades.

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Alpaca, Vicuna and Guanaco Peaks

This area saw some mining activity in the past (Carolin, Emancipation, Aurum, Pipestem and the Ward mine) as well as at least 25 minor gold occurrences.

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Needle Peak is a granitic summit. I have read mixed reviews about the climb, the routes are much easier than the name suggests, as Needle is not that inaccessible. The rock is somewhat granular and crumbly in places, but the peak boasts good scrambles along the ridges, and a more technical climb or two.

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Needle Peak approach

A pile of rock is the point where the trail splits in two, the left one is the final approach to Neddle Peak, the right one leads to Flatiron.

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Flatiron Mountain

Running out of time out trip ended on the bowl, where a small lake makes this a very popular camping spot in the summer.

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Flat Iron Mountain

Markhor Peak is a twin peak, with a slightly lower south summit named according to the Caribou/Goat theme of the region. The markhor is a goat found in the sparse woodland of the western Himalayas.

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Needle Peak and Markhor Peak

Directions: From Vancouver: Drive east on Hwy #1 to Hope (160Km). Take Coquihalla Hwy (Hwy #5) and drive north for ~20Km. After you go through the avalanche tunnel, drive for 3Km and take exit 217.

Click here to watch a YouTube video of this hike

Map

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Roundtrip length: Around 11 km (6.83 miles)
Allow 5 hours
Minimum Elevation: 1,209 m (3,966 ft)
Maximum Elevation: 1,848 m (6,062 ft)
Elevation gain: 735 m (2,411 ft)

Download route in GPX format

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Driving distance from Vancouver:
196 km
Driving time from Vancouver: Approx. 2.5 hours