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I was originally expecting to be on my own this week-end and so I thought I would hike Goat Mountain. It was one I had hiked previously with my son and there were enough other hikers around that it would be reasonably safe to do solo. So with those plans in place I learned that my friend John was in town and interested in going with me. He thought we could try for Crown and add in Goat on the way home. I wasn’t so sure I could do Crown never mind both but doing Crown would only be possible if I did go with someone like John so I decided to give it a go. The day before our hike indicated that the weather would be sunny and increasing in temperature. So all looked good for the day.
I left the house at 7:30am and made for Starbucks and then the drive to the base of the gondola at Grouse Mountain. I arrived shortly after 8:30 and as I already had my ticket I got my gear on and made straight for the ride. It was busy but not yet crowded, so I had a nice view of the city as the gondola made its way up. Meanwhile John was walking the Grouse Grind as a warm up for the main hike. We were to meet at 9:15 at the top but that time came and went and no John. Soon I had a text stating he was delayed on the trail due to crowding. He finally made it around 9:30. Without further delay we started up the roadway to the alpine trails.
Our initial trekking went fair smoothly and we were making reasonable time along the roadways and up the first section of the Alpine trail. In around an hour we reached the decision point Crown or Goat. I was feeling not too bad and the trail to Crown looked inviting so we decided to go for it. It was ariound 10:45 and we started the decent to Crown pass. Most of this trail isn’t difficult but there are two sections with chains in place to help with the steep section over some smooth rocks. The rocks were a bit muddy so one had to pick their path carefully to safely navigate this section. Done with the chains we continued the descent and soon reached the pass. That short section had unfortunately taken another hour it now being 11:45.
After a rest by the rescue camera we started up the flank of Crown. Lots of steep bits and roots to get over. Many large rock sections and a bit of moisture to make things a bit slippery, but generally it was not too difficult just slow work for me. The scenery was increasingly lovely as small gaps offered various views of the valleys, Hanes to the North and Vancouver to the south. We crossed over a lot more rocks and roots and soon came to a large talus slope we had to cross. These big rocks made things interesting, a slip here could result in a serious fall but the rocks were dry and one had a good grip on them. By a bit after 1pm we reached a nice broad flat area where we could have a longer rest and take a few photos. Then it was on to the final leg and the summit. We finally reached the summit around 2pm only a couple hours past what John had planned for. But we were here. After a quick lunch and some exploration of the steep summit area we descend a few meters to a less crowded spot and set up our radio gear.
I was on 2m and immediately made a number of contacts. John meanwhile was setting up his 20m end-fed antenna with my KX2. He made one contact on 20m after some serious calling. The band was just not cooperating. Eventually he borrowed my 2m handheld and completed 3 more contacts to qualify for the points. We had the contacts done, so we packed up and started down the slope. By now the day had gotten much hotter and what should have been much faster for me proved to be a slow grind down the slope. I just wasn’t finding my footing very well on between the roots and the gaps in the rocks. My left ankle was acting up a bit which didn’t help. It was most unfortunate as it made the decent almost as slow as the climb. We did finally get down to Crown Pass and there we had a rest before the ascent to the Goat Ridge. We finally reached the ridge but I was far too exhausted to try for Goat, John didn’t even ask. So we continued along the Alpine trail back to the chalet. I was making better time along this section as the trail was easier with fewer obstacles. Once we reached the chalet John said his goodbyes as he would be taking the trail back down to the base. I meanwhile continued to the chalet and bought some cool drinks where I could rest for a bit. The line-up for the ride down was 45 minutes long! So rather than wait in line I just stayed in the cool room for a while. When I was rested enough I joined the line and slowly inched my way to the gondola for the ride down. I reached my car at around 9pm! Then an hour home and my day was done.
It was definitely a challenging hike for me. I was glad to have John along as he gave me a number of tips as we made our way along. Hopefully they made the trip go a bit faster and definitely safer. I am glad I attempted the hike, the view from the summit truly is spectacular. I would love to return but I am not sure I could handle the trail any time soon. I still have Goat to get in my log but it will need to wait until next year.