Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Mt Bishop

Mount bishop Oct 6, 2012

GR and I decided to try The Bishop again after our first aborted attempt in August (I was sick and tired that day).

Got a start from the Seymour Demonstration Forest parking lot around 8:15am. Rode the bikes up the paved road all the way to the hatchery then across the new Bear Creak bridge to the east side of the Seymour river. From there a short jog to the start of the trail. Nice cool ride, approx 13km, but the uphill always keep you warm.

The last time in we didn't know about the new bridge, and crossed the river at about km 5. That left about 5 km of gravel road sludging. This new bridge saves a lot of energy at the start of the trip.

Nice quick ascent, passed right by the General and his Wife without knowing it. Blew by the previous turn-around point and kept going pretty much non-stop until we reached Vickers lakes (1.75 hours).  There are ropes on the trail, which is good because it goes pretty much straight up at times (well it seems straight up, probably a 60 degree slope). There's a warning on the map that it's not a recommended route, but it's ok if you're up for it. Our weather was perfect, no rain for about 3 months, unheard of on the wet coast. This probably had a lot to do with how great the trail was. I wouldn't want to be on this trail in rain or after a good bout of wetness.

This is one of the nicest trails I've traveled. It's very natural, follows the contours of the land very closely. It's not a path that's been carved through the forest by force. It's more of a trail that has been found, you're right in the forest (See the reports of the guys that built it this way in the links below).

Vickers Lakes are a series of lakes on a plateau at about 1000 meters. Boggy, brown, and cold. Might be ok for dip in deep summer, but not this day. No bugs but huge dragon flies with blue bodies.  GR says that Mt. Bishop is named for Joseph Bishop who was the first president of the BCMC (early 1900s). After that, someone had fun, and named surrounding peaks and lakes with a liturgical theme (Vickers Lakes, Deacon Peak, Presbyt peak), even though the 'Bishop' in question had no church connection. Sunk the beers in the lake for safe keeping.

Leaving the lakes, it's a more gentle slope to start with, then it gets busy again, but not as much as the first section. About 200 meters from the top the trail sort of peters out. There are some cairns to the left (north), but you can pretty much make it up as you go. GR did a solo climb a month back, went up the north face: not good. Don't do it. We followed the cairns for a while, then cut over south just above the snow field and up the scree to a green section and worked our way up from the south. Easy peasy. (1.75 hours)

And, what a great view. The weather was perfect. No clouds, warm but not hot. City to the southwest, Stanley Park, Lion's Gate Bridge. Mt Baker to the southeast, Mt Elsay and Mt. Seymour directly south. North, there's Sky Pilot, Garibaldi, and Diamondhead. Directly west, the Needles, Coliseum, Burwell and Cathdral. It's all there.

After some refreshment at the top, uneventful retracing steps down to the lakes. Had a little siesta at Vickers lake, polished off the nice cold beers. GR had a look at the trail that leads to Mt Elsay. Doesn't seem to be used much.

Carried on down to the bikes, the ropes are really handy on the way down. Stopped and paid homage to the General and his Wife, then saw a baby owl sitting in a tree. Head swivelling back and forth.  Then flew down the paved road to the parking lot, talking about how smart we are with our bicycle warm down getting the lactic acid out of the muscles. Back to the car at 6:45pm, just in time, dusk came soon after. 6.5 hrs hiking, 2 hrs biking (27km), 10.5 hrs car to car.

And nothing like a beer and burger at finish it off. All in all, a last good hurrah for hiking season and The Bishop has been had.

  Some good links:

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