I already did all the hikes on Stawamus Chief. Today I had the perfect chance to finish the short -- but steep -- hike to the first peak. There are three summits, but the best views are from the first and second summit.
The Stawamus Chief is the second largest granite monolith in the world and provides good nesting habitat for the Peregrine Falcon. Because of the long weekend, the camping area was full.
From the beginning the trail is steep, fortunately there are stairs for the first part of the hike. The hike to the first peak is a 1.5 kilometre trail with an elevation gain of 500 metres that can be completed in less than 90 minutes.
You need to use chains and some ladders for the last part of the summit, I was surprised to see people with dogs around the area. There are a lot of chipmunks roaming on the summit, for that reason is a good idea to keep the dog on a leash.
For dismay of climbers, this popular world class climbing area is closed from March 15 until July 31 to minimize disturbance to nesting Peregrine Falcons.
From the first summit you can see people hiking up to the second summit (1.7 kilometre trail with an elevation gain of 700 metres). Some people can hike all three summits in a single day but you need very sturdy footwear, lots of water and good knees.
If you decide to do the entire circuit, you can expect a 7-mile (11-km) return hike. It is believed that this mountain is 93 million years old, parts of which were laid down as lava a scant 12,000 years ago.
It was not a clear day therefore I missed the view of the glaciers on the surrounding Coast Mountains. As usual, just reaching the top made me feel that I have accomplished something great.
If you read my newsletters, you will remember about the "gondola" problem. Well, the Land Conservancy of B.C. secured an option to purchase the gravel pit between Stawamus Chief and Shannon Falls Provincial Parks.
The property was to have been the base for the gondola that was unsuccessfully proposed in autumn 2004. The total price is $900,000, and the purchase will be final on August 31st , 2005, with some interim deposits payable.
Driving Distance: 120 km (roundtrip)