Sea to Summit

December 4, 2016

Starting from the Sea to Sky Gondola parking lot, the Sea to Summit Trail rises through the lower sections of the Stawamus Chief trail and eventually diverts onto the full Sea to Summit Trail

Stawamus Chief Trail

You will notice the ‘Sea to Summit’ trail markers. Large green diamonds in the trees, starting at #1 and going up to #400 at the summit.

From there you work your way back towards Shannon Falls.

You will be assisted by chains and ropes.

Shannon Falls is composed of a series of cliffs, rising 335 metres above Highways 99, making it the third highest falls in the province.

Upper Shannon Falls

Shannon Falls ranks behind 481 metre Della Falls in Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island and 396 metre Hunlen Falls in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near Bella Coola.

Upper Shannon Falls

Climb for 15 more minutes to reach a rocky outcrop where you can have views of Squamish River meeting Howe Sound

Howe Sound and Squamish River

You will reach a junction, going right will continue along the Shannon Basin Loop Trail.

The Shannon Basin Trail is a slightly longer, but less challenging route to the summit lodge. The Upper Sea to Summit Trail is steeper and more technical, but it is also a shorter and more scenic route.

Upper Sea to Summit Trail

We opted for the more scenic route

While watching the gondolas zip by overhead and waving at the passengers.

Pileated Female Woodpecker

We were temporarily distracted by a really noisy woodpecker.

How do you know the sex? Easy, adult males have a red line from the bill to the throat, in adult females these are black.

It turns out that a glacier occupied this entire place.

A large one, over two kilometres high, meaning that all this area were at one time deep beneath it.

Reaching the Summit Lodge

As testament, the glacier’s terminal moraine now lies under the waters of Howe Sound as a reef at Porteau Cove.

Howe Sound

The Tantalus Range is a subrange of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains.

Tantalus Range

The range's southern end is on the western edge of Squamish and it runs only about 35 km northwest on the west bank of the Squamish River and is less than 16 km wide at its widest.

Mount Habrich

Unfortunately from the lodge is not possible to see the impressive rock horn that defines Mount Habrich.

Mount Habrich

Sky Pilot Mountain is the highest of a tightly knit group of jagged peaks located southeast of Squamish behind the Stawamus Chief. The easiest approach is via Shannon Creek and the easiest summit route the south ridge (Class 2-3).

Ledge Mountain (1964 m), Sky Pilot (2031 m) and Co Pilot (1881 m)

According to research by Glenn Woodsworth, the first ascent party in 1910 did not name the peak. At that time it was known as "The Sisters". Glenn says he's pretty sure that although the first ascent was in 1910, the name "Sky Pilot" was only applied by topographic surveyors S.C. McLean and K.G. Chipman, who climbed the peak in 1919, nine years later.



Distance one-way: 7.90 km
Allow 3.5 hours
Minimum Elevation: 36 m
Maximum Elevation: 906 m
Total Elevation Gain: 1,027 m
Total Elevation Loss: 160 m

Download route in GPX format (eTrex, Oregon, Montana and GPSmap)

Download route in TCX format (Garming Edge)


Driving distance from Vancouver:
60 km
Driving time from Vancouver: Approx. 50 min