At A Glance
ACA Rating: 3C III
French rating: v4a4 III
Time Required: 5-6 hours
Distance: Technical section – 0.7 km
Rappels: up to 9 – longest 30m
Total Elevation Loss: 700m
Goldie Creek is an easily accessed canyon, very close to the city of Vancouver. The goods come in a relatively short section, with some nice waterfall rappels coming in rather quick succession. The canyon also contains an amazing, beautiful rappel – 100 feet down a narrow slot, beneath a large chockstone. If there is a moderate waterflow, it is one of the most exciting rappels around!
Standard gear, including wetsuit and rappel equipment. Adequate rope for a maximum 30m rappel. Webbing/rapides for up to 9 rappels off natural anchors (trees/boulders), mostly fairly close to the drops.
To the Trailhead
From Highway 1, take the Mount Seymour Parkway exit. Follow it eastbound for 4.5 km, and turn left on Mount Seymour Road. (The small mall on the northwest corner is ideal for last minute groceries at the Safeway, or baked goods and coffee at Bean Around the World.)
Shuttle Vehicle: A shuttle vehicle is optional on this route. It will save about 30 minutes of slightly uphill walking at the end of the day, but the total driving involved will total about that over the course of two round trips. To reach the shuttle drop-off: after 500m, take the second right along Mount Seymour Road, onto Indian River Drive. After 700m, turn left on Indian River Crescent. Follow this (it becomes Indian River Drive again) for 3.8 km. Just prior to a tight switchback turn to the right, look for a wide spot to pull out on the right. Park the shuttle here, well off the narrow road. Return the way you came, to Mount Seymour Road.
Continue up Mount Seymour Road, 3 km from the Parkway (2.5 km from the shuttle turnoff.) On the right is trailhead parking for the Baden-Powell Trail. Park here. There is a pit toilet available up the groomed trail behind the information sign.
The actual trailhead is another km up the road, but there is no parking permitted (despite a large gravel area.) To save some energy, drive up to the pullout ahead, and drop off all heavy packs – either hide them in the trees, or leave one or two people to guard them. Drive back down to the parking area, and hoof it up the road. The route drops off from the apex of the hairpin turn, down into the trees. Find the obvious trail (N49.34442, W122.94608)
From the Trailhead: Drop steeply into the trees. (The “Trail Closed” sign refers to mountain biking.) It’s a little tricky to get there (there are a couple of ways) but you are looking for a trail junction at N49.34569 W122.94325.
The most straightforward trail was flagged with new pink/red flagging tape in late June 2016. Here is the simplest way to get on track correctly.
Start down the trail and after just a short distance (you make a sharp left turn, then a sharp right) you are heading down a long slope with a creek below off your left side. Part way down the slope is some red on the downhill side – your left. Break off the trail here, heading toward the creek. Follow the flagging – it’s not far. Cross the creek, then steeply up the other side, following the flagging.
At the crest of this slope, you come to a trail running left to right. Continue across this trail, to a fainter trail straight ahead of you. There is flagging here, too. Up and along this brushy, fainter trail, and across a creek bed. Within a minute or two, you come to another trail running left to right. Move slightly left, and immediately right again, where there is more flagging. There is a small tree here that has two pieces of flagging tied to it. This is the trail junction waypoint mentioned above.
Get on this trail, which is marked with small diamond and square pieces of flashing, and follow it for about 45 minutes. It crosses a few other up- and downhill trails, but the correct route is generally contouring cross country. There is some fresh red flagging in a few spots where it may be unclear. Eventually, you will reach the signed crossing of Goldie Creek (N49.35291 W122.92010)
This is how we descended the canyon a few years ago. Conditions may have changed, and you need to be prepared for some inventive use of webbing and boulders/logs. Bring a lot of webbing.
First rappel – small groove, 20 feet off tree. Can be bypassed on canyon right, but following a small trail parallel to the canyon, downstream, for about 15 or 20 meters, then breaking off left toward a slab by a pool.
Second Rappel – 100 feet, narrow channel off a fresh pair of bolts on canyon left.
Third rappel – off boulder pinch at side of canyon, around corner and under boulder. About 35 feet?
Fourth rappel – off tree, around boulder. About 25 feet.
Fifth rappel – off a boulder cairn. About 45 feet.
Sixth rappel – off small chockstone. About 20 feet.
Seventh rappel. Two stages, off a large boulder, total of about 60 feet?
Eighth rappel from either a chockstone near top of boulder, or a smaller chockstone on left groove beside boulder. About 45 feet?
Ninth rappel – optional. Pretty easy downclimb using log at right side.
Approaching the end of the canyon, you will begin to see pipes and hoses, originally used to collect water for the homes below. (None of them appear to be in use any longer.) Stop and change out of wetsuits at this point, prior to reaching a bridge (alternately, change beneath the bridge.) Climb out beside the bridge, and turn right along the road.
This is a private road, Sasamat Lane. Please be considerate of the neighbourhood and drivers on the roadway. Reach a tee, and turn right on Sunshine Lane. Eventually, after about half an hour, you will reach a gate, and Indian River Drive. Turn right, ascend the tight switchback, and find your shuttle vehicle – if you’ve left one.
If you don’t have a shuttle vehicle, continue along Indian River Drive for another 1.5 km (15 minutes) to the signed crossing of the Baden-Powell Trail. Take the trail up the hill, to your right, and follow for another 15 minutes all the way to the initial parking lot and your waiting chariot.
0:00 Creek crossing and first rappel – small groove, 20 feet off tree
0:15 Second Rappel
0:45 Third rappel
0:55 Fourth rappel
1:05 Fifth rappel
1:25 Sixth rappel
1:40 Seventh rappel.
1:55 Downclimb into small, deep pool.
2:10 Downclimb skinny channel, jump into deep pool. Followed by a couple of stiff downclimbs (avoidable)
2:35 Eighth rappel
2:55 Ninth rappel – optional.
3:50 (Approximately) Exit at bridge