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Ascent of Stawamus Chief-First Summit on 2018-07-21

Climber: Patty Cokus

Others in Party:(The Dog) Ava
Date:Saturday, July 21, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Stawamus Chief-First Summit
    Location:Canada-British Columbia
    Elevation:1969 ft / 600 m

Ascent Trip Report

While Sean and Brook (and Michael and _____) were climbing on the Chief I hiked with Ava. Sean kept me updated on where they were and I planned to try to meet them when they topped out on second pk.

I got up with them and drove them to the parking lot and hiked in to the base (short approach). Took pics as they started. Brook and Sean were first team and Brook led p1

Then Ava and I went back to the campground to have breakfast and coffee. Then we stopped at the adventure center (nice bathrooms) and decided what to hike. Wanted to do the Sea to Summit trail and also meet up with them on the Chief so decided to park at the Stawamus Chief parking lot. Wasn't quite sure where the trail started but thought it was the base of the gondola so we hiked down to that and then to the lower Shannon Falls. Very touristy and BUSY!!!! Falls were beautiful but no trail......went back around the gondola, read you can take a dog on the gondola to come back down as they don't recommend going down the trail (hmmm.....) and it cost like $20/person or dog! (or something like that can't remember exactly but it wasn't cheap).

Ok, so this is where it starts technically but I needed to hike back up to where I started from the Chief trail (wasn't far).

Started up the very steep big step stairs with the masses looking for the 'unmaintained' trail off to the right towards upper Shannon Falls that is the Sea to Summit trail as well....um, yeah after a few mistrials to the right I stayed on the main Chief summit trail until massive signage for the upper Shannon Falls / Sea to Summit trail....not exactly what I think of for an 'unmaintained' trail. It was quite nice. Definitely less people than the summit trail but got much busier as they day went on. Scrambly in parts. Very funny to see Ava rather shocked and entranced by the quiet quickly moving gondola cars you could see through the trees....then we passed underneath. There were a few spots with chains that were unneccessary if you are familiar with scrambling but probably very helpful for those not familiar. Upper Shannon falls were really nice and I had brought my filter so knew I could use that on the way back. So far nothing was making me think we couldn't come back down. There was a slabby round exposed part (lots of folks sitting here in the sun) after a rope helped folks up a little gully where you just had to look a bit for where to continue. Some creek stuff, woodsy, traversy, an open part where you saw the gondola and where it ended at the top, more woodsy and some really cool slabby stuff to go up which again had ropes on it which was unneccessary to use if familiar with slab. Ava had no problems. Here if it was wet however I probably would use the ropes. We made it up to the top where the gondola ends and it's kind of weird...beer garden, restaurant, lots of people....a doggy tie up area shaded in the woods with water bowls. Had some lunch there and then decided to head down the same trail which was fine except for the fact that NO ONE thinks anyone is heading down so especially at the rope areas people just were constantly coming up and I had to explicitly ask for folks to wait a second so Ava and I could come down. Easily made it back to the upper Shannon Falls and filtered water to stock up thinking Sean and the others would probably need water on topping out and be thirsty. It was pretty warm.

Got back to the main Summit Chief trail and headed up towards the First summit. There was a ladder we could bypass pretty easily then a chain in a little gully leading up to the more slabby rounded summit. We could also bypass that easily and headed up. What a cool summit with an amazing view of the Howe Sound and big mountain peaks!

Getting an update from Sean we decided to try to meet him on top of second peak although I wasn't quite sure if that would be doable for Ava... I could see over from the first peak to an area that seemed a bottleneck....

We made our way down the first peak and had a bit of trouble getting down past the ladder....Ava wasn't psyched to go down on her own (slabby type rock) and a guy ended up helping me some. Back down to the junction to head up towards the second peak. Up a narrow exposed spot with a chain ok, switchbacked on a narrow ledge part to a low angle but very sharp v-shaped gully with rather steep steps in it that were doggy 5th class and I managed to push Ava up. At this point she was getting a bit annoyed and freaked... This was where we found the very unavoidable ladder and our stopping point. Good thing was there was a deep hidden little slot nook we could hang out in with our big foam pad and have snacks and wait for the group. That's where they found us. I did see a few with rather small dogs that could be carried negotiate the ladder, all coming down. This was how I found out it was a pretty easy hike to get to the second summit from the third summit - NOTED for the future....I wouldn't have had enough time to do that this time and then also would have had to return that way with Ava and it would have been much longer....not the thing to do after a long 20 something pitch climb.

We all headed down and piled into my car to return Michael and ____ to their car in the parking lot they started from. Dinner at Howe Sound Brewery afterwards.








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