This weekend we headed up to Grouse Mountain for a hike to Goat, the peak that’s visible between Grouse itself and the distinctive bumps of the Crown and Camel when you look up from Vancouver. It was really neat to explore some of the wilder backcountry behind Grouse, which is a far cry from the family-friendly activities near the Chalet.
We went out with the Vancouver Adventure Hiking, Scrambling and Snowshoe Meetup group. These guys have been organizing some really great looking trips, but with a busy ski schedule in the winter it was hard to make the dates line up. This was a perfect opportunity to get to know the group: a short, easy hike, with enough variance in the conditions to make it interesting.
We set out on the route that Grouse converts to the Snowshoe Grind in the winter, along Whistler Water Way and then up the trail to Dam Mountain. I wasn’t sure how much snow would be remaining given the recent hot weather, but our group leader Dan had encouraged everyone to come prepared and we ran into the snowline a very short distance along the trail. I hadn’t been able to find our microspikes so I went for total overkill and threw in the crampons, along with my ice axe. The axe actually proved kind of useful but the snow was far too soft to justify the crampons.
We ate lunch at Little Goat peak, with spectacular views across to the Crown and Camel (a hike I’m lining up for a future date). Then it was back onto the snow to head for Goat itself. We’d been warned off the traverse above Kennedy Lake by a park ranger, but in fact when we got there the trail was snow-free and easy to manage. After that it was a brief scramble up to Goat Ridge, and an easy climb to the peak.
It was a lovely day out with a really nice group of people, and an excellent opportunity to see just what lies beyond the ropes at Grouse in the summer. An interesting postscript came later that night, when I read on Facebook that NSR had just carried out a heli extraction of two hikers from Goat Ridge. Not expecting to find such deep snow, they’d lost the trail and called for help as darkness fell. It was a good reminder that even a relatively easy, fun hike can turn bad when you’re not prepared for the conditions.