Great Peak Ascent

Late July is a perfect time for a run in the mountains on Vancouver's north shore.  The weather is generally excellent, the snow is generally gone and the trails are generally mud-free.  The only challenge is picking a trail and running it!

For the past 9 years, Bill's Great Peak Ascent has been the kick-in-the-pants I've needed to get up early on a summer Saturday and enjoy a group run with like-minded folks.  For the last few years, however, I've found myself conflicted:  do I *just* bag Bill's Great Peak or do I aim to bag a few more summits while I'm up there?

This year, Bill Dagg wasn't around to lead the expedition.  Given that Dave Berg stepped-up to host and the event, the event became Dave's Great Peak Ascent.  As circumstances would have it, Bill Maurer and I had planned a side expedition to bag Mount Fromme, which is kindof on the way to Dave's Great Peak (Grouse Mountain).  Given I had already bagged the object of today's quest (Dave's Great Peak aka Grouse Peak), I opted for a custom route to Fromme with the other Bill.  When we arrived at Bill's Trail cutoff (nothing to do with either of the Bills refernenced herein) near the quarry on old Mountain Highway, Dave opted to join the dissident members of the run (who almost all figured it was a great day to bag a second peak.)  So in the end, even though Dave was organizing, I was sortof doing Bill's Great Peak Ascent, but ascended a different peak.  (Historical note:  In 2011, Bill Dagg and I also took the Fromme detour to earn a double-bag.)

Now that the route and purpose is clear, here are my highlights:

  • woke up at 06:00 (note to self:  set coffee machine and sleep in 30 mins more), packed piggie and drove to LSCR parking lot
  • mellow group at the start:  some newbies, some vets.  Compared notes on objectives for the day.
  • after a brief "Welcome!" from our host Dave, we left promptly at 07:30.  The other Dave (Cressman) shot off the front like a bullet and I didn't see him again
  • fine group run up to the quarry on Mt. Highway.  Initial apprehension about newbie, Cindy, quickly put to rest as she was as fit and fast of anyone in our group.  Bill Maurer and I invited all concerned to bag Fromme en route to the peak of Grouse.  Most of the group followed us.
  • took Bill's Trail, which was totally runnable and free of snow.  Dave and I made it to the peak of Fromme first and were therefore first to be attacked by no-see-ums.  Note:  We found 3 complete or partial birthday balloons 
  • Dave had never been geocaching, so I checked to see if the cache that Bill Dagg and I found last year was still there.  Checked the log and saw that very few people had found it since Bill and me almost exactly a year earlier.   (Note to Ran:  there is some fire starter in the cache.  Be sure to bring something to trade next time!)  surprise
  • a grouse checked us out as we took a group photo and shared a snack with the bugs
  • took the north route back down to old Mountain Highway.  A bit less snow than last year around lake, so bits of trail were visible and we didn't have to bushwhack down the cliffy bits through the glades of Devil's Club like last year.
  • given that I had already bagged Grouse peak, I decided to discover the source of Mosquito Creek and follow it downhill to my home.  Said a "sionarra" to the rest of the expedition members, who promised to pass along my last words to next of kin
  • followed dirt road down to base of Olympic chair then dove into the woods partway up the Expo ski run.  (Note to Dave:  I found a twonie on the ski run.  One man's trash is another man's treasure.  I claim a point for picking-up trash on the run.)  
  • bushwhacked my way down the side of the mountain on a critter trail until I reached the old, old Mountain Highway.  This long-abandoned road is now almost completely overgrown with prickle bushes.  I didn't see any trail down west side of the steep canyon into Mosquito Creek, so ran all of the way back to the Per Gynt switchback and Bill's Trail on Mountain Highway.  
  • took Bitch's Brew, Dreamweaver and an obscure hiking trail back down the side of the mountain to the Baden Powell trail, civilization, home and a cool IPA.
  • Dave Berg:  total elapsed time:  3:47 + a trash collection point
  • David Crerar:  bagged FRO

Dave bags a birthday balloon


Jackson bags a peak (FRO)


The elusive geocache


The bounty within (note fire starter, Ran)


The Peak of Grouse (I poached this photo from flickr stream as it was cool, but owe credits)

Another nice photo near the last push up to Grouse Peak  


Sibylle's picture

Dave and Bill's = clear as

Dave and Bill's = clear as mud ;-)

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