Flash - Howe Sound Crest Trail (Cancelled due to weather)

29 Sep 2007 06:00
29 Sep 2007 16:00
Come out and join me on a group run of the Howe Sound Crest Trail. This trail is approximately 37km long and has it all - steep scrambles, some light bush whacking, beautiful alpine meadows, a short but exposed traverse, amazing views in all directions, technical sections, fast and smooth downhills, fixed ropes..... in short, it adds up to an awesome day of fun and adventure!!

We will climb up from Cypress Bowl ski area, over Mt Unnecessary to the West Lion, across to Magnesia Meadows, up past Brunswick Mtn, and down onto the Deeks Lake trail, finishing up on Hwy 99 near Porteau Cove.

Due to the nature of this trail, I'm requesting this to be a group run. We'll need to drop off vehicles at the finish and carpool to the start. Expect to be out for approx. 8 hours.

**Let's meet at the church (St David's on Taylor Way/Hwy 1 westbound onramp) at 6:00am to figure out carpool/shuttle

There is no fee and you don't need to be a member of Club Fat Ass to participate in a Flash event, however whining is not allowed. No registration is required but please indicate your participation via the comment form below or by contacting me. You are responsible for your own well being and safety and should be self sufficient.


Please read the Release of All Claims. By participating in this event you agree to the terms of the Release of All Claims.


Sibylle's picture

This trail is as much about

This trail is as much about the views as the challenging terrain.  For my part, if I venture on the HSCT it has to be under blue skies with great visibility to be able to take it all in - I have done the Lions Bay to Cypress Bowl stretch in October a few years ago and it was georgeous.  There is hope, although the rains last night sounded like we fast forwarded to November.
Ean Jackson's picture

Good Call on the Postponement

In retrospect, it wasn't a bad morning yesterday, but the afternoon would have been ugly.  Better to be safe than sorry (this coming from the guy who decided to not pack his headlamp the other week.... =;-)  

I suspect that now the monsoon season has started in earnest, you'll have to be spontaneous when the weather is perfect in order to get this run in this year.  I'll bet we can soon look up and see snow on the Lions!

"Rain, No Train" Jackson 


and I thought I had found the toughest running group around. Looks like the last little adventure run has got everyone scared. "Good going Guys" probably a wise decision you never know who's going to show up unprepared. I was so looking forward to getting up at 4am to make it up on time. see you all another time.

What's next

We do miss you, Daniel, barely seen you this whole year. Never did get the Hardrock story from you either. Trail Runner mag has an article on Hard Rock this month....maybe your name is in there...your PR person does seem to get you into a lot of magazines! What's the next epic in your plans?

Taking it easy

Hey Cheryl, ya it's been a crazy summer. I have had a great year traveling and running and seeing friends along the way. But you're right I haven't got out to to many club runs this year. I ran cascade crest 100 last month and really tore up my ankles after haveing sprained one of them two weeks before the race. I'm running again and I'll be running Baker lake 50k next weekend to keep the miles up. but not sure as to next year. I was thinking of heading up to yellowknife again so I can get my Diamond. And I'll put my entry in to Hardrock angain. It's just such and amazing race I'll probably do that one every year if I get the chance. I didn't write a story from Hard rock but my pacer and friend Tina did I'll post it in a blog. It's mostly accurate.

Sibylle, sorry to hear you and the family are sick. Hope every one gets better soon. My day wasn't a total loss I headed down to seattle to watch the Red bull Soap box races. Take care all.

Sibylle's picture

We'll miss you Daniel!

Hey Daniel, I didn't realize you were coming up for that one.  It's a beautiful trail, but can be difficult to find in fog/low clouds.  Besides, the views are so amazing that it wouldn't make sense to do it without visibility ;-)

I am kinda glad it is postponed as I am fighting a head cold and going out for 1h will probably be pushing it...

Mixed bag of weather

The weather is not looking so good for tomorrow so I think we'll have to call off the run.

I'll keep you all posted if I decide to try this again before snow flies.

Happy running!


Yes, No, Maybe

The forecast looks to be sunny/cloudy periods. Is it a go? We all meet 6:00 a.m. tomorrow at St. Davids to work the car pools, right? BTW I'm going to the Lions/Lions Bay - Cheryl

My gut is telling me to bail...

Well I had my fingers crossed all week, but I think I’m going to save this run for another day.  It’s a bit of an epic, and I don’t want to be caught on the back half if the weather goes sideways.



Geoff – I’ll be heading to Buntzen on Sunday if you want a "redemption run".

Sibylle's picture

I am out

Hi Cheryl,

Yes, the forecast is looking up a bit.  However, Johanna is not better and I am fighting a head cold...so I think I am better off to go for a shorter run in the morning and try the Howe Sound Crest Trail another time. 

I'll be thinking off you.  Stay save.  Do you have a partner in crime? Are Rhonda, Arlene and Cynnimon joining you?

New plans

If everyone else feels it's dicey, they are probably right. Rhonda and I will run something in the Seymour area. Meeting at Parkgate at 7:00 a.m. and heading up Old Buck, then up and down whatever to either Ned's or Dirty Diapers. Anyone who wants to join us is welcome. Take care of Johanna and that cold!

Boy Scout's Motto

If I'm invited, I wouldn't mind joining you all on Sat. I think I need to redeem myself. Should you accept me, I promise to bring 8 space blankets, 4 headlams with extra batteries and enough food to feed a small army. OK... a slight exaggeration, but I will be well prepared, I promise. I will be brining a car if we need it.

Short option

The short version of this run - Cypress to The Lions and out to Lions Bay - is great and challenging and the views at the top are superb.  There's seems to be some interest in this shorter version so come on out - the more the merrier!


For those thinking about doing the full run please remember to bring your headlamp, enough food for 10hrs, water, some extra clothing should it get cool/windy, and whatever else you feel is necessary - there's lots of suggestions on recent CFA posts. 

I'll have a water pump with me and there should be a water source at Magnesia Meadows we can filter from.

Hope for blue sky!

- berglind 

run from 2000

I dug this up from the archives of my old website, bctrailrunning.com (soon to be resurrected). I thought it's only been 3 or 4 years since I ran this but it's actually been 7 years!!! This is a report about my run with Mike Wardas and Doug Pope that I thought members would enjoy reading. I'll try to upload some of the photos over the weekend.

Howe Sound Crest Trail Run - August 12, 2000

Michael Wardas, Doug Pope and myself finally got around to "running" this trail on Saturday, August 12, 2000. One word to describe it - spectacular! My original time projection of 6 hrs. 30 min. seemed a bit too optimistic as it took us 8 hrs. 50 min. from Cypress to Porteau Cove, the "easy" route. The trail is only 29km long but what it lacks in length it more than makes up for in scenery and terrain.

The first third of the trail is in good condition, marked well and runnable in many spots though we walked the uphills (believe me you'll need the energy for later on). The middle third from the Lions to Brunswick Mtn. is pretty rugged and not runnable in many sections unless you happen to be a mountain goat or don't mind doing a header off a ridge. The last third is mostly downhill and very runnable with some very sweet singletrack sections after Deeks Lake.

We started from Cypress at 6 am and did a 'run the flats, hike the hills' routine for the first couple of hours. It was quite fogged-in by the time we got to Unnecessary Mountain so we had no views of Howe Sound but the temps were quite cool which was nice. From there to the base of the Lions the cloud/fog was thinner in places and added a certain eerie aspect to the run. Seeing the peaks of the Lions jutting out from the clouds was awesome. It looked like we were at VERY high elevation though we were only at about 4000'. The trail cuts in between the Lions and if you have a healthy fear of heights like I do there is a 30 foot section that will definitely raise your heart rate. Just don't look down!

A short time after passing the Lions we came to the Enchantment Lake area and followed the trail down a steep slope. Snow was covering the markers here so navigation became a little tricky. A steep peak loomed in front of us and we weren't sure which way to go. Do we go over it and "bag" another peak or do we go around it? After a bit of climbing around, Eagle Eyes Wardas spotted an orange marker on the East side of the peak which meant we'd have to go over the mini-glacier to continue on the trail. I'd like to name this section of the trail "the Wardas Butt slide" since Michael was the first one to "tobaggan" down the STEEP slope on a garbage bag. What a hoot. Doug and I followed sans garbage bag and just slide on our asses. It was fun for the first 10 seconds until my ass and hands got numb from the cold and I discovered that stopping wasn't easy. It's amazing how much speed you pick up. Did I mention the boulder field at the bottom? You definitely want to stop before you hit it going warp nine on your butt.

The section after this was a grunt with some steep climbing and deadfall covering parts of the trail. By now the fog had let up and we had some great views into the Capilano Watershed and spledid views of Enchantment Lake. Not much else to say about this part expect it was a tough section though beautiful.

We were getting low on water at this point and just before getting to the Magnesia Meadows emergency shelter we filtered some water from a stream and filled our camelbacks. Doug was well prepared and contributed the topo maps, water filter and cell phone to our little expedition. From Magnesia Meadows onward the trail was in better condition and again offered some terrific views. The trail leading down to Brunswick Lake was a fun downhill and offered some great scenery. The bright blue lake surround by mountains was a breathtaking view. There is another emergency shelter here.

A trail marker stated we were at the 19.5 km mark - less than 10K to go! You could almost smell the barn door. Almost but not quite. There were still some rugged spots left but for the most part we ran a lot of the last third. The trail was "busy" here as we came across some day hikers and a lone backpacker going in the opposite direction. From the size of that guy's pack it looked like he was prepared to spend a month out here.

After Deeks Lake the trail is downhill or flat for the most part. Past a short technical section we hit some of the sweetest singletrack you'll find anywhere. It was rocky and rooty enough to keep things interesting but you could still lay down the hammer if you're so inclined. I was surprised to find that after 8 hrs and 15 mins we still had enough energy left to do a bit of fast downhill here. But when the trail is this nice its hard not to go fast. I use that term loosely - at least it felt fast to us! Now we really could smell the barn door and we ran the last 3km or so together. We finally emerged on Hwy. 99 and had to run north on the road to our agreed pick-up location in Porteau Cove. This was actually the scariest part of the route for me. You don't want to be running on this road if you can help it. Fortunately for us Ilona received our voicemail and met us at a pull-off before Porteau Cove sparing us the full 2km on the road.

I had a great time and enjoyed this trail immensely. If you're looking for a bit of adventure and some spectacular scenery I highly recommend the Howe Sound Crest Trail. Go prepared and with a good attitude and you'll be amply rewarded. Thank you to Al and Ilona for providing the rides!

mudrunner's picture

This Mike W's account of a return trip a year later...

Mike, Melissa, & I did this trip in early September 2002. Our total time included a scramble to the peak of the West Lion (about 1 hour).I would not recommend doing the Lion to anybody who is uncomfortable with heights or has limited climbing experience...there is a small sloping shelf that has frozen a few people in their tracks. A fall here would be fatal. Other than that, make sure you have ample calories, & a headlamp...it's a gorgeous trail...enjoy the berries!


"Hello gang! Long time no talk to. Despite my despicable amount of running (or lack there of) Melissa, Glenn (Mel's bro) and myself did the Howe Sound Crest Trail and the West Lion from Cypress to Deeks Lake last Saturday. It only took a year for me to forget that the pounding my body took was equivalent to doing 1+ Knee Knackers!

This year we were provided with unprecedented warm and clear weather and the trail was in exceptional condition. We only lost our way a couple of times but only for short amounts. No question that this is a true gem right in our back yard (so to speak) and should be enjoyed by all.

A word of warning... go prepared. There is NO EASY ACCESS to this trail, that's what makes it so fantastic so don't count on your cell phone working or a ranger available around the corner.

Started from Cypress parking lot at 6am and finished at the Deeks Lake trail head just before 4pm.

Gear check: Bug juice - oh yah mozzies and black flies

Food for 8-10 hrs

Trekking poles (I'm getting old)

Clothing to suit weather

Blister Kit 1st Aid Kit

Map & compass (the route is marked but it's cool to see routes for next time!)

Money - hey you never know? you may have to bail out at Lion's Bay and take a taxi to the car at Deeks Lake parking lot.

Cell phone - we know it won't work till 10 minutes from the end but we had to weigh Glenn down some how.

We saw 2 separate instances of campers and one lone hiker/climber doing the Lion and heading back to Lion's bay. This guy has DEFINITELY done this before as he glided along the treacherous climbing route on the Lion and headed back to the trail. He made the climb that we sweated over look so easy. If you've ever climbed this section it is definitely a 'heart stopper' if your unfamiliar with rock climbing without a harness! It always surprises me how long it takes to get from the Lions to Magnesia meadows. It really isn't that far but it is a bit of a grunt as you climb and descend, climb and descend. The footing a little tricky which adds to the non-running part of the run.

Water is scarce on the first 3/4's of this trail. We used about 2.5 litres each that lasted us about 6.5 hours. We kept replenishing with snow until we hit Magnesia meadows where there is a small creek. Treat the water if you must, we didn't with no ill effects to report. There is water 'a-plenty' after that point as you run into more streams and lakes. Treat this water if you are susceptible to Beaver fever.

Well what can I say except it was AWESOME and adventurous. So get out there and leave your self 9 hours as a minimum without the Lion and 10 hours with. If you do do the West Lion please go with someone who has done it before. The route is marked but if you go a little off-route you could get into a situation that you may not easily get out of. Let's hope the weather holds a little longer so we can bag a few more peaks... Have fun out there!



As far as the Lions

I'd like to go as far as the Lions and then drop down into Lions Bay. Anyone else? Cheryl
Sibylle's picture

Can I join you, Cheryl?

Hi Cheryl,

Yes, I would feel confident doing the run from Cypress to the Lions and then down into Lions Bay.  We would need to organise a car pool separate from the longer runners, but can meet at the church as well.  I need to confirm with Ean that I get a leave ;-) (maybe he can take the kids up from Lions Bay - if Johanna is better, that is).

Sounds good

maybe even help the others with the car pool if needed. Poor Johanna, is she still suffering?
Sibylle's picture

Just don't forget the headlamps!

Just don't forget the headlamps and other emergency wilderness gear!

My scars (emotional and

My scars (emotional and physical) have finally healed from the last time I did this run, so I'm in.


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