Just say no to Mt Perrault

Mount Perrault

Height: 1389m

Caution: Remote! No trail! Steep! Some exposure!

Round trip distance: about 30K

Prominence: 259m

Difficulty: 5/5

Terrain: bushwhacking

True peak location: at end of ridge: nowhere else to go.

Peak view: 3/5 unusual view of Crown Mtn. backside and Needles

Scenery: 3/5

Kids: 0/5 do not bring children (or adults for that matter)

Dogs: 1/5 (only if the dog has been bad)

Runnability: 1/5 (but Hanes Valley and Lynn Headwaters approach trails are 5/5)

Access: bus or car to Lynn Headwaters Park

Cell coverage: on peak

Route links: could do a sweep with Crown and Grouse Mountain, but Perrault is far apart.

Name origin: Charles Perrault, populariser of fairy tales

Watershed: source of Healmond Creek, and many tributary creeks of Hanes Creek.

Other write-ups: none

Charles Perrault, the eighteenth century father of the then-new literary genre, the fairy tale, first published one of the most primally terrifying stories of all time, Le Petit Chaperon rouge (aka Little Red Riding Hood).  His namesake North Shore peak, however, far transcends that tale in terms of grueling horror.  Its superlatives abound: highest concentration of devil’s club on a bagging hike; worst underbrush-lacerated legs; loudest scream when entering bathtub; highest concentration of pine needles left in tub.  It does have some pleasant features, as described below, and on a clear day (which I did not receive for my pains) there would be some interesting views of the backside of Crown Mountain. And one gets to bag probably the most obscure and remote North Shore peak. But it will be removed from the Baggers Challenge next year, because I wouldn’t wish the hike on my worst enemy.


There is no trail: it is a long exercise of bushwhacking and route-finding. Don’t even think of doing this hike unless you have good route-finding skills and/or a powerful GPS with map.

Now that we’ve stoked your appetite to hike Mount Perrault, the route description.

Perrault is located on a bushy ridge of peaks travelling east and northeast from Crown Mountain; its name probably refers to the nickname for West Crown, in the opposite direction, which is also known as Sleeping Beauty, another tale popularised by Perrault.

Approach is via the wonderful and runnable Hanes Valley Trail, accessible via the Lynn Headwaters Park to the east and the Grouse Mountain-Crown Mountain trail to the west. This trail description is from the shorter route, from Lynn Headwaters.

Go along the Cedar Mills Trail and the Lynn Headwaters Trail to Norvan Creek. Cross suspension bridge. Go west along Hanes Valley Trail. Go past the Lynn Lake Junction. Cross a large creek on log. Go about 1.5K west on Hanes Valley Trail. Start the ascent by hiking up one of two (dry in August) creek beds. The larger, east creek (shown on most maps as having three tributaries), dead-ends at a waterfall, at which point you will want to scamper up to the ridge on your left and start the long bushwhack straight up. The narrower, west creek, is flagged with three strips of bright green tape on a tree in the middle of the creek.

(If on the Hanes Valley Trail approach you hit the western rockslide area leading up to Crown Pass, you’ve overshot the creeks by about a kilometre.)

On either approach creek, trundle up until you tire of creek climbing, and then trundle up to the ridge between the two creeks, and then go up, up, up.

Again, there is no trail, so it is a game of follow-the-contour lines. Burning Boot of ClubTread (see his excellent report: http://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=35725) describes it as finding the path of least resistance, and this approach is the best guide, and certainly doable (although there are extended stretches of gritting one’s teeth and ascending through endless vertical bluffs of blueberry bushes: your arms will be more tired than your legs after this hike).

After a long while one hits a less steep section. Here there was copious bear scat (as there was on much of the hike). There was also, intriguingly, a pile of mining core samples (hinting as to the location of Ean Jackson’s elusive Tunnel of Love mine?) and, nearby, the ruins of a long-term campsite, with cast-iron stove, wash-bowls, an hand-mixer, and metal barrels galore.  All in the middle of bloody nowhere, at the top of a very nasty climb.

From here, one can traverse the slope to the right, leading up to the ridge (and a nasty hanging valley on the right). Alas, it is a thickly vegetated ridge, so one has little sense of being on a ridge, and there is no view. Then one turns left, traversing the left slopes of a minor peak to the south of Perrault (summitted by Burning Boot in his report). The contour lines would indicate that this west traverse is a fairly wide flat traverse, but it is for the most part a cliff-hanger (sore arms, again).

Eventually one comes to a rocky landslide area. One can scamper up it, veering to the left, leading to a heather meadow. Then down and to the right a bit, into the saddle between the peaks, before climbing again to start on the long, slow ridge leading up to Perrault proper.  

This nasty heavily-vegetated bushwhack is alleviated by a few heather/snow  fields, but also requires multiple vertical frontal assaults on ramparts of blueberry bushes.

Eventually there is more rock underfoot, and a scamper up a crumbly rocky knoll. Continue north along the ridge, now pleasantly covered with heather and short pines. A final easy climb up rocks leads to the heather-dotted peak, marked with a very very small cairn. To the north-east across a deep valley is the Perrault sub-peak, mere metres shorter.

The nasty descent is alleviated, both in terms of beauty, as well as a natural fall-breaker, by several groves of old growth trees.






























Perrault from Grouse Mountain Eye of the Wind Windmill

(wedge-shaped peak in middle, to the right of and behind Goat Ridge)





















West access creek (note flagging tap)














 East access creek
























view south from West access creek










mining core samples, way up high














 remants of camp














 remnants of bear























cloudy peak














three sisters: Old Growth on main slope up from Hanes Valley Trail


Ouch. Congratulations!

Perrault has been on my list for over a year. I may have to rethink it....

I was doing the class 3-4 bushwhack up West Crown the same day. Good to know there are other masochists out there

David Crerar's picture

Perrault makes West Crown...

...feel like a full-day spa treament. If masochism is your bag, you've come to the right place! (and did I mention falling onto the wasp nest?)

Ean Jackson's picture

Recommendation for Darwin Award

Nice job of going where few have gone before... and thank you for not bugging me to join you! 

I looked out over the Grouse range from Unnecessary Mountain on Saturday and actually imagined myself including this bad boy in an upcoming Grouse sweep.  While your loving description of the peak, the route, the view from the fog and the rusting steel barrels is compelling, I will heed your advice and assign this one a priority right up there with Liddell, Wettin and Collins.  At least, until sometime in late September or early October or whenever I am standing on Crown Mountain with a few extra hours to spare or my status in the 2010 Bagger Challenge is threatened by a dog.

BTW, thanks for sparking up the Tunnel of Love issue again.  It is elusive as the holy grail or the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow... but my heart tells me it is there. 

Jason Eads's picture


Aren't Darwin Awards reserved solely for those who die in their quest for "greatness"? I trust Mr. Crerar is still alive and well - or at least I sure as heck hope he is! 

David Crerar's picture

The jury's still out

If you saw my slashed-up legs you'd call the coroner: or at least a cosmetic surgeon.

Craig Moore's picture

Congratulations David

You got my attention at, "highest concentration of devil’s club on a bagging hike" and quashed any dreams I might have had of doing this bad boy at, "loudest scream when entering bathtub". I'm curious why not get there from West Crown but I do recall the long distance from seeing it when we were atop South Needle.

Since you've said you'll take it off the challenge next year, I won't be tempted to assemble the G.I.M.U. team once again to do the unbearable. There are far too many pleasant hikes around these parts to make haste on the nasty ones.

Well done, congratulations. And I'm curious, does your better half, Julia, read these reports? And do you get a second beat-down after she does?

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