Another day, another adventure. Needing to take advantage of a potentially perfect day in Howe Sound, Neil Ambrose and I headed up to Lions Bay to ascend the trail to Brunswick Mountain. We would see what else could be done in addition to Brunswick while we were there. Neil had been to Fat Ass Peak the previous Bagging season but I had never been to these heights before and we were both in for some excitement and spectacular scenery.
We managed a parking spot at the trailhead in Lions Bay and were heading up, directions in hand, by 9:40 am. Compared to some Bagging I had done recently, this trail is smooth and easy, but of course there is a lot of climbing to do. There were a few good views along the way of Howe Sound as the clouds moved in and out. And as we got closer to the top the trail changed from old skid road to wandering single track and then to zig-zagging through low growth and old gnarly trees. We also had to navigate a mother grouse and her chicks. Patience was a virtue as she guided us away from the chicks and made sure we were well ahead before she finally turned back to let us continue at regular speed.
The trail was generally quite dry especially the higher we got. Only one creek crossing was a challenge but we managed to stay pretty dry on the way through the first time. The intersections were easy to locate and decisions were made quickly about where to go for our destination. Eventually we crossed the Howe Sound Crest Trail as planned and made our way to the peak of Brunswick. Besides being the highest peak in the Bagger Challenge at 1788 meters and exceptionally spectacular and pointy, I will only tell you that you need to be part mountain goat to get there. If I say much more than that my stellar reputation as a fearless trail runner and peak Bagger may be slightly tarnished. But we made it without incident.
After a much needed sit down on Brunswick for some snacks and a bit of communications back to civilization via our Blackberries, Neil and I headed down to the HSCT intersection that would take us to Hat Mountain. We decided there was lots of time for him to visit Fat Ass Peak again and then lead me to the trail over to Hat. Last time Neil was up here was after the first big snowfall of 2009. This time, the snow was mostly gone at least on the trail and the peaks. We did experience a bit of snow on the trail in two spots but with a little effort we got through to where we were going up to the next col and on to the marked trail to Hat.
The clouds had mostly passed through as we peaked Fat Ass and Hat so the views were wide open. It seemed like Wettin was so close to the north and looking across Howe Sound to the west gave us an excellent chance to strategize for a Gambier Island three peak sweep. To the north and east we saw pretty much all of the other Howe Sound Bagger peaks and as far away as Coliseum and Catherdral behind Lynn Needles. Even the West Lion was visible just behind Brunswick and beside the Unnecessary ridge. We both agreed though that now having had a closeup view of Hanover there is a good chance we won't be adding that to our Bagging list any time soon: there's not that much mountain goat in either one of us.
The time passed quickly but we agreed eventually that it was time for the descent. In case you're wondering, 1788 meters is well over 5800 feet. And we were heading back down to being very close to sea level. A bit more effort from the starting point and this would have been a perfect water Bag in fact. As we moved down the trail we were able to pick up speed. We passed one lone hiker coming up for a night's stay at Deek's Lake but he is the only other human we saw on the trail all day. Once we got back to the smooth single track our speed picked up nicely and we rolled along quickly. Single track back to widening skid road and through the creek again, this time with no regard for staying dry. A quick stop to get refreshed with the cold water and back into a full on run. In 50 minutes from the top we were back to Neil's truck and catching our breath. What a run! Total time 8 hours, knees and legs mostly intact after the run down, and all well worth it.
Find the rest of our pictures on Flickr.