Author Archives: BC Canyoneers

Box Canyon Creek – Beta

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Kevin in a sculpted chamber in the depths of Box Creek Canyon

Photo by Jeff Wachsmann

Note 1: The first descent of 2016 took place on 13 May, 2016. There were a number of changes in the canyon. Most importantly, pretty much every place in the canyon where you could jump or slide had filled in with stones. Pools that were swimmers now range from ankle to knee deep. In addition, the anchors for a couple of rappels are more treacherous to access. Finally, the fourth rappel, which used to be anchored off an overhead slung pinch in a little cave, is now anchored further down-canyon, at the top of the actual drop.  This anchor is hidden, and is described in the beta below. All new (changed) beta entered in 2016 is coloured blue. Keep in mind that conditions are always dynamic, and may no longer be the same as described!

Note 2: This canyon has now been bolted.  All of the nine rappels now consist of bolted stations of either one or two 3/8″ bolts and hangers.  As should always be the case, ensure that you check the anchors, whether they are natural or bolts. Confirm that the bolts appear to be free of corrosion, that the hangers do not spin, and of course that webbing, rapides/quicklinks and rings are all in good condition!

At a Glance

ACA Rating: 3C II
French Rating: v3a2 II (in low flow season) up to v5a3 II (in higher conditions) *
Time Required: 3-4 hours
Distance: Technical section – 300m
Rappels: 9, maximum length 25m (80 feet)

Most recent conditions update: 13 May, 2015

Overview

A beautifully sculpted, flowing canyon just west of Squamish, BC.  The canyon presents no particular difficulties in summer conditions, but is somewhat difficult to get to, requiring a crossing of the Squamish River for access.  While there is good cell phone coverage in the area, the canyon is impossible to escape in some of the deeper, darker areas.  This all adds to a sense of remoteness and isolation, despite the canyon being a mere 3 km from downtown Squamish as the crow flies.  While only a half day canyon, the feeling of adventure is much greater than expected.

Note: It has come to our attention that Box Creek and Monmouth Creek, as well as the approaches to both, are in an area that is a designated cultural site of Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish First Nation).

This definitely does NOT preclude use of the area, but we wish to emphasize the importance of respectful use of the area. Please, in particular, attempt to minimize impact by using the old adage: Take nothing but photographs; Leave nothing but footprints.

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Gear

Standard gear, including wetsuit and rappel equipment.  Adequate rope for a maximum 25m rappel.  Webbing/rapides for up to 9 rappels off of bolts.

Maps

To the Trailhead

From Highway 99, approaching Squamish from the south or north, turn west at the lights at Cleveland Avenue.  After 400m, turn right on Bailey Street.  The road quickly becomes gravel and comes to a fork.  Keep to the right – this is Government Road. Continue north on Government road for 1.6km, crossing two sets of railroad tracks and getting back onto pavement.  Turn left towards Squamish River Dyke Road (signed for Estuary Access and Squamish Spit) and return to a gravel road.  After 350m, turn left onto the dyke road.  Right here, beside the yellow gate blocking access to the north (right) you will find a short trail leaving the road, down to the river.  Unload canoe/kayaks/gear here. You can park in the wide area on the other side of the road.

Shuttle Vehicle

An optional shuttle vehicle can be placed 1.4 km down the road.  This makes the river crossing to and from the trail much easier.  Ideally, place things like dry clothing into the vehicle that carries the canoe, and leave it at the take-out spot.  If no shuttle vehicle is available, plan on about 15 minutes of walking to return to the vehicle at the put-in spot.

Approach

NOTE:  Crossing a fast-moving river like the Squamish is potentially very dangerous! Depending upon the discharge rate of the river and the dynamic hazards therein, there may be standing waves, snags, partially submerged logs, etc. You can check on the current, recent and historical data here: http://www.wateroffice.ec.gc.ca/graph/graph_e.html?stn=08GA022

Put in to the river here, and strike out across the river.   Work your way across the river, as you head downstream.  You will find that the trees you see directly across from you are actually on a long narrow island.  You want to round the lower end of the island, and head upstream into a much narrower, slower moving channel on the other side. During high tides, you can head along the shoreline of the island, and through a gap between the island and a large gravel bar. (In very high tides, you may not even see the gravel bar – just a large tree stranded on it further downstream.)  If the tide is lower you may need to continue around the gravel bar, past the large tree lying on it, and then back up the other side.

As you head up this channel on the other side of the island, you will soon come to a small cluster of old pilings on your left, close to the tree-covered shoreline.  There are a couple of tiny coves here (N49.71469 W123.17253) where you can pull in and tie your boat to the trees.  Note: the river here is still tidal and can go up and down a few feet while you are in the canyon – make sure you tie up the boat so it doesn’t float away while you’re gone!

Once you’re ashore, you’ll find yourself in a small clearing with a few narrow trails spreading out into the trees.  Go to the north (upstream) end of the clearing and follow the trail there away from the river.  After a couple of minutes, it will angle to the left, and in a few more minutes you will hear the chatter of Monmouth Creek.  Before the trail starts to climb steeply up the hillside, turn left off of the trail and drop into Monmouth Creek (N49.71347 W123.18041).  Following the creek upstream, you will soon come to a spot where most of the water is coming from waterfalls on the right.  That is where Monmouth drops down the hillside from Echo Lake.  Rather than turning up here, continue straight ahead, slowly climbing the gradient of the smaller stream.  This is Box – and the water coming down the stream toward you is the water flow in which you will soon be rappelling.

After about 10 or 15 minutes, you will come to a pool at the bottom of a waterfall with some large logs scattered around (N49.71098 W123.18464).  This is the lower end of the technical section – if you wish, you can leave dry clothes, food & drinks, etc. stashed here.

Image28a-001Exit route from the canyon, to climb to drop in point.

To climb to the drop in point, exit the canyon steeply to the right (looking upcanyon) via a big blocky boulder, onto a large log angling up the hill. Be very careful on the slippery log, and watch your footing as you move from the log to the clifftop. There is now a fixed rope to assist on the climb out. Scramble up into the trees, and continue steeply uphill.  Note: Be alert for wasp nests in the area – we encountered two on the way in!  People with sensitivity to wasp stings must be cautious on the approach.  The way from here is now flagged – follow the pink flagging to the drop-in point.  Near the end of the approach, the flagging stays wide, to the right, before dropping down to the creek – follow the flagging to avoid another wasp nest.  Suit up, and get ready for a great little gem of a canyon!

Route Details

There are variations in the way this canyon is descended. I will describe here how most people currently descend it, and some variations that are available.

Rappel 1

First rappel station in Box Creek - high flow!

First rappel station in Box Creek – high flow!

Two bolts around the corner, canyon right, down a smooth chute, under a large log and rock pile. The canyon has now filled in just above the rappel, and it may be difficult to access the bolts in higher flow. Consider using a belay to assist the first team member to the station if the conditions seem to warrant it. There is currently a large log hanging down into the channel – be careful not to dislodge it while rappelling.  11m (35 feet).

 

 

Top of rappel 2, looking toward rappel 3 in Box Creek

Top of rappel 2, looking toward rappel 3 in Box Creek

Rappel 2

Immediately after first rappel.  This rappel has recently changed significantly (early 2015).  From the bottom of the first rappel, walk out then climb down a narrow chute on your right into a slightly lower pool.  There is a single bolt with a rappel ring located on the left wall just as you approach the pour-off.   Two stages – into a pool, then past a boulder to a lower pool.  The first pool used to be a swimmer, and potentially difficult to exit at the far side – it is now ankle deep. 18m (60 feet).

 

Rappel 3

Immediately after second rappel. The bolts that were located here have been destroyed by debris over the winter of ’15/16. Now, move to the left through a gap beside the wall. then keep to your right. You will find a single bolt with rap ring on your right, protected behind the large boulder here. Rap down into the channel below, joining the watercourse where it pours over a log dam. Follow the channel down, past where the water disappears off to the left (looking down canyon).

This spot is potentially very dangerous! It is very difficult to determine exactly how the water exits – it may drop into a siphon, and could have the power to trap someone there if part of your body or equipment gets sucked into the flow. Make your way very carefully past this spot!

You will come to a pour-off that used to be a large waterfall, but is now dry. Stay on the rope, and go right to the edge of the pour-off.  On canyon right, on the outside of the pour-off, is a two bolt chained rap anchor. Anchor yourself here prior to getting off the rappel, and setting up the next rap. This should take approximately 20m (65 feet) of rope.

 

Rappel 4

Rappel four, viewed from the anchor.

Rappel four, viewed from the anchor. The water no longer pours over here, but joins further down.

This rappel used to be a head-pounding waterfall – probably the most challenging in the canyon – but is now mostly dry. The water joins from the side, and you will only enter the flow near the bottom. Rap from the bolts beside the pouroff, approximately 6m (20 feet). Easily spotted for length from the anchor.

 

 

Rappel 5

Immediately after the fourth rappel.  Off two bolts, into a pool, then over a short pouroff. 15m (50 feet).  It is possible to exit the rappel after dropping into the first pool (about 8m, 25 feet), and jump into the lower pool, off the pouroff. Practice shallow jumping technique – and always be sure that there are no obstacles, and that you are comfortable with the jump. Canyon conditions change frequently. As of May 2016, the lower pool is approximately waist deep. It can still be jumped – carefully.

 

Looking down the tube, rappel 6 in Box Creek

Looking down the tube, rappel 6 in Box Creek

Rappel 6

“El Tubo” – the long straight tube. Off a pair of bolts on the left wall. 17m (55 feet). When the bolts were installed, they were about 1.5 meters off the ground – the floor of the canyon here has built up in the meantime!  The pool at the bottom of this rappel is not deep – don’t even thing about sliding near the bottom, or jumping from the lower end of the tube.

 

Emerging from the tube, rappel 6 in Box Creek

Emerging from the tube, rappel 6 in Box Creek

Right after this rap is a short drop into a narrow channel. There are some logs jammed into the gap, making a bridge. In lower flow, it may be possible to hang from the bridge and drop into the lower channel. Be careful, the water is now very shallow.  If you are not comfortable descending into the channel below, there are a couple of options, both of which involve the horn of rock on canyon right, just above the drop-off.

If someone is comfortable descending the gap, they can anchor others from the bottom, by tossing a rope over the horn, and providing a meat anchor. Those getting on rappel must be very careful not to pull out on the rope, as it could then slip over the horn and cause them to fall.

If no one wants to descend the drop, then very carefully slip a bight of rope over this horn, and gently rap down on both strands.  Have a partner monitor the rope, to ensure that it does not slip over the horn. From there, provide a meat anchor as previously mentioned.

After this point, escape from the canyon is possible on the left.

 

Bottom half of rappel seven.

Bottom half of rappel seven. This used to be a slide or a jump, but the pool is now far too shallow.

Rappel 7

Two stage rappel into a gorgeous alcove. Two bolts on the left wall. Awkward start into an overhang, down into a pool, then a sliding rappel into another pool. 20m (65 feet).

Accessing the anchor may now be very difficult (the logs and debris have shifted closer to the anchor recently). If necessary, move to canyon right, and descend a gap in the logs into a groove, and move across to the bolts.

The second stage used to be frequently done as either a slide or a jump into the alcove pool below. The pool is now about thigh deep, or less, and cannot be slid/jumped into! Stay on rope for both stages.

 

Rappel 8

Yet another possible two stage rappel.  Off two bolts on the left side, above the boulder.  Drop into a large pool, then around a corner and down a ramp.  15m (50 feet).  The first part of the rap goes past a large alcove on rappeller’s left, just after leaving the stance at the start of the rappel. Be careful not to slip into here, as you may get bashed around a bit. This alcove also makes a good spot for the first rappeler to get off the rope, and get photos of the other members on rappel.

Again, the second stage can be done as a slide.  Keep to the left, looking down, and try to land with your legs out, rather than “knifing” down into the water.  The pool used to be deeper, but is now about waist deep in the landing area. It can still be safely slid, but keep your legs up!

 

Final rappel in Box Creek

Final rappel in Box Creek

Rappel 9

Two bolts on the left side, below a short downclimb. Three stages. The pull can be tricky, through the turns/drops of the stages.  Pull is easier if you climb up the talus covered slope a little ways on canyon right. 25m (80 feet).

 

Exit

You’re now back at the pool where you exited the canyon to head uphill.  Shuck your wetsuit, pick up your cached food/water/clothes, and head back downstream to rejoin the trail. Hike back to the clearing, hop in the canoe, and recross the river.

Again, head downstream, working your way across.  You will see quite a number of logs stranded close to the far bank. Looking downstream, the trees along the Squamish Spit road start to thin out, and cars (if there are any driving along the road) become visible.  You want to find a little cove roughly even to where the last logs are stranded on the sand/gravel on the east side of the river, and just before the road becomes completely visible.  As you row into the little cove, you will see that it is actually a small side stream that leads through a culvert under the road to the estuary on the other side.  There are a number of vertical posts set into the stream, blocking access. Take the canoe out on the left (upstream) side, before reaching the posts.  You will find a trail here that leads up to the roadway and your parked vehicle – if you have done a shuttle. Otherwise, walk back up the road 1.4 km to retrieve your vehicle.

Canyon Topo

Box 2016

Click to download PDF version

 

Rating Info

v3a2 II (in low flow season) up to v5a4 II (in higher conditions)

* Reasons for rating:
v3 to v5 – Low water flow on rappels. Rappels end in relatively calm water. Both of these jump to higher levels in greater flow. The author has descended the canyon in conditions that made it impossible to keep one’s footing in the water flow.
a2 to a3 – Short swims, no jumps (optional slides). In higher flow conditions, can involve travel in low or moderate current.

 

Lost Creek – Beta

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At a Glance

ACA Rating: 2C I or 3C I
French Rating: v2a4 I (If jumping first waterfall, v2a6 I) *
Time Required: 1-2 hours
Distance: Technical section – 300m
Rappels: 0 to 2, up to 7 meters

 

Overview

A short and easy canyon, a couple of hours east of Vancouver.  Beautiful narrows, nice short swims, and lovely cascades.  The canyon can be descended in two styles: rappelling, or jumping.

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Gear

Standard gear, including wetsuit and rappel equipment, unless comfortable with jumps of up to 5m.  Adequate rope for a maximum 7m rappel.  Webbing/rapides for up to 2 rappels off natural anchors close to the drops.

Maps

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=200847126898979041951.0004d68632d1435910c80&msa=0&ll=49.243697,-122.240349&spn=0.301239,0.793076

To the Trailhead

From downtown Mission, drive eastbound on Highway 7 for 8 km, to Sylvester Road.  Turn northbound (big gas station on the corner is a great spot to stock up on last minute supplies.)  Drive 22 km, along pavement, then a well graded logging road.  Turn left onto a spur, signed Lost-Lease, and continue 1.3 km, to a spur on the right.  Turn up here, and park in the incredibly filthy clearing. As you enter the clearing, look to your left – this is where you’ll find the trail.

Approach

Drop into the trees, and follow the trail down to the creekside. Follow the sound to the top of the waterfall.  There are two ways down, here: follow a trail down and around the falls, to the left, or make the 45 foot jump into the plunge pool below…

 

Route Details

From the pool at the bottom of the 12m waterfall, head downstream, scrambling, downclimbing and wading.  Follow a curve to the left.  The stream is split by a huge boulder in the middle.  Keep up and to the right side of the boulder, onto a ledge, and jump into the deep pool beyond.  The clear water lets you see the depth nicely.  If you’re feeling particularly nervy, go to the left instead, and climb to a high promontory, about 6 or 8m above the water – there are a few options here.

If you plan to rappel this drop, and the water is low, there is a chockstone wedged in the flow on the right side of the boulder – you should be able to thread webbing through, and rap off of this.  Otherwise, there is a boulder a little bit above the channel on the left that will provide an anchor.

Rapping the first drop in Lost

Rapping the first drop in Lost

Approaching the hallway swim

Approaching the hallway swim

A tighter section of narrows

A tighter section of narrows

Continue downstream, swimming through a beautiful, dripping hallway.  Some nice narrows follow…  Eventually, reach a spot with a pouroff on the left, but an easy downclimb to the right of a boulder into a small pool.  Swim out under the boulder – this is a nice, unusual feature.

Round a small fin of rock, up onto a landing before the final cascade to a pool below.  Once again, keep right, moving as far out as you can, and jump into the deep pool.  Otherwise, to rappel, wrap a rope around the fin, like a bollard, keep the rope low, and rappel off the two strands to the pool below.

Rapping the second drop in Lost Creek

Rapping the second drop in Lost Creek

 

Exit

Beyond here, the canyons opens and flattens. This is the end of “the business”.  The canyon can be ascended without technical gear.  Climb both the waterfalls on the left, and make your way back up to the 45’ waterfall.  Perhaps try a quick leap here, if you didn’t on the way in…

GPS Waypoints

Sylvester Road turnoff from Highway 7
N49.15575 W122.20968

Road to Lost Creek
49.33137,-122.250701

Turn on spur for trailhead parking
49.326838,-122.26252

Trealhead Parking
49.327796,-122.261393

Shuttle Parking (optional)
49.328299,-122.27033

 

* Reasons for rating:
v2 – “Easy climbing / downclimbing with little exposure.”
a4 – “Prolonged immersion causing some heat loss. Moderate current. Easy jumps of 5 to 8 m.”
a6 (First waterfall jump) – “Easy jump of 10 to 14 m.”

Terepocki Creek – Beta

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At a Glance

Upper Technical Section

ACA Rating: 3C II
French Rating: v5a4 II *
Time Required: 3-4 hours
Distance: Technical section – 300m.  Total – 2.2 km
Rappels: 4 – longest 25m

 

Overview

Terepocki Creek is made up of a couple of technical sections. This beta currently only covers the upper technical section.  This is a short portion of the canyon, consisting of four rappels, of up to 24m in length.  The gorge is very scenic, and there is quite a bit of water, with some nice swimming sections.  Note: Be very careful of water flow in this canyon! After committing to the second rappel, there is no chance of escape prior to the third rap.  The water is all funneled together for the top of the third rap, and it would be a very precarious spot in high flow.

The author of this beta has not yet done the lower technical section (due to rain starting, and an open Jeep at the trailhead!) The walk between the upper and lower sections is almost two kilometers long, and pretty dreary. The plan is to look for an easy access back up to the vehicle after finishing the upper section – it would make for a very nice short loop.

Gear

Standard gear, including wetsuit and rappel equipment.  Adequate rope for a maximum 25m rappel.  Webbing/rapides for up to 4 rappels off natural anchors (trees/boulders), mostly fairly close to the drops.

Maps

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=200847126898979041951.0004d65c8c776920f64f4&msa=0&ll=49.367424,-122.263541&spn=0.017802,0.04961

To the Trailhead

The access to the canyon will require a fairly lengthy drive on logging roads.  It is generally well maintained, but conditions may vary.  To reach the shuttle vehicle parking, a section of rougher road needs to be traveled.  2WD is sufficient, but moderately high clearance will be helpful.

From downtown Mission, drive eastbound on Highway 7 for 8 km, to Sylvester Road.  Turn northbound (big gas station on the corner is a great spot to stock up on last minute supplies.)  Drive 25.3 km, first along pavement, then a well graded logging road.  Turn left here to access the lower shuttle parking.  Follow the road for 3.3 km, to a landing on the right.  Park a vehicle here. Return the 3.3 km the main road, then turn left, continuing northward. After another 4.3 km, there is a spur to the left.  The road is fairly rough, and heavily overgrown – if you want to save your paint, or have concerns about your vehicle’s undercarriage, park here. If you are fearless, drive down the spur for another 450m to a large, open landing. Park at (or walk to) the far end.

Approach

From the end of the landing, bushwhack into the trees, heading downhill toward the sound of the river. Follow a heading of about 215° magnetic, for about 200m.  Look for a rocky outcrop, jutting out a couple of meters above the creek.  This is your jump in!

Route Details

Hop into the creek here – the nice clear water will show a pretty deep hole slightly to the left.  As is often the case, it’s even deeper than it looks. Swim down to the far end of the pool where a large rock promontory splits the creek in two.  On the left is a large waterfall.  To the right is a narrower channel with a smaller cascade.  Anchor off a large log that sits above this channel.

First rappel

First rappel

There is a large pool below – rap into the pool, and swim across to the other side to pull the rope.  Swim through a narrow exit out of this pool, and wade and stroll for about 5 minutes downstream.  The creek now drops into a big, beautiful waterfall.  Move up and to your left, to anchor off of a tree.

Look down this second rappel, and carefully evaluate the flow.  The water drops into a large punchbowl, then down a second stage into an amphitheatre.  If the water here looks intimidating, you may wish to reconsider continuing.  If necessary, the canyon is escapable on the right, as you head back upcanyon, and a bushwhack will take you back up to the parking area.

Bottom of the second rappel.

Bottom of the second rappel.

Otherwise, continue down to the punchbowl, and beyond down the second stage.  From here, swim across the large pool to a narrow slot on the other side.  This slot narrows and becomes more shallow, and finally drops, on your right, over (and under) a log into another waterfall. Off one of the jammed logs, rap down into the next pool. (I have been told that this can be jumped, but I have not done so. Have the first descender check the depth and landing area before attempting to do so.)

Approaching the third rappel.

Approaching the third rappel.

Again, cross the following pool, through a little narrow section, to the top of one last cascade.  There is very little here to anchor a rappel – you may have to use a little ingenuity.  What has worked for at least a couple of parties is a knot-and-rock combination in a small pocket in the canyon floor, near the left wall (looking down canyon) a couple of meters back from the drop-off.

Anchor for the fourth rappel. Knot and rock chock.

Anchor for the fourth rappel. Knot and rock chock.

Starting the fourth rappel

Starting the fourth rappel

 

Exit

From the bottom of the cascade, swim across the pool, and walk and boulder hop for another hour or so downstream.  In the vicinity of the GPS point specified for the exit, look for a trail to the left, leading uphill toward the road.  Follow the road, left, to the landing with the shuttle vehicle.

Otherwise, continue down the stream for the lower technical section.  You can find details for it here:  http://www.canyoneeringnorthwest.com/TerapockiCreek/Terapocki.php

 

GPS Waypoints

Sylvester Road turnoff from Highway 7
N49.15575 W122.20968

Turn for shuttle parking
N49.34987 W122.22394

Shuttle parking (landing)
N49.37410 W122.24307

Turn for trailhead
N49.38446 W122.22265

Trailhead (end of landing)
N49.38246 W122.22549

First jump into creek
N49.38182 W122.22668

End of technical section
N49.37973 W122.22719

Exit left to find road (approximate)
N49.37409 W122.24803

Times

Still to come…

 

Rappel Summary

Rap 1 – 12m down a narrow waterfall, off a slung log.
Rap 2 – Two stages, total of 22-25m, off a tree on canyon left.
Rap 3 – 8m off a slung log.
Rap 4 – 5m off a constructed anchor (knot chock?).

 

*Reason for rating:
v5 – “Vertical sections in medium to strong water flow.  Crossing pools during the descent.”
a4 – “Prolonged immersion causing some heat loss. Moderate current. Easy jumps of 5 to 8 m.”

Goldie Creek – Standard (lower) Route – Beta

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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

Overview

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!

Gear

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

Access Road:

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)

Approach

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)

Rappel Summary

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.

Exit

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.

Times

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.

Boulder walking…

3:50 (Approximately) Exit at bridge

 

 

Cypress Creek – Beta

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At a Glance

ACA Rating: 3C II
French Rating: v4a3 II *

From Bridge
Time Required: 3.5 hours
Distance: 1.7 km
Rappels: 4 – longest 30m
Total Elevation Loss: 220m

Updated: 18 June, 2015 with new rappel lengths from bolted stations.

Overview

Cypress Creek is a short but spectacular canyon on the south slopes of Black Mountain, in West Vancouver.  The highlights include some very nice waterfall rappels, including one of the best in Southwest BC, at Lower Cypress Falls. Between the rappels, the canyon contains some boulder walking in a beautiful and primeval gorge, some downclimbing in nicely carved cascades, slippery and intricate log jams, and a few wades and swims in deep pools.

Gear

Standard gear, including wetsuit and rappel equipment.  Adequate rope for a maximum 30m rappel.  This canyon has now been bolted.  Always be prepared, however, for damaged or missing equipment by having a some webbing and rapides along.

Maps

 

To the Trailhead

From Highway 1 Westbound, take Exit 4 (Woodgreen Dr, Caulfeild Dr, Headland Dr). Turn right at the stop sign (Woodgreen Drive).

From Highway 1 Eastbound, take Exit 4 (Caulfeild Dr, Headland Dr, Woodgreen Dr). At the stop sign, turn left on Headland Drive.  Cross over the highway, and at the four-way stop, turn right on Woodgreen Drive. Continue along Woodgreen past the on-ramp to Highway 1 Westbound.

Follow Woodgreen Drive up the hill, curving to the left, and take the third right, on Woodgreen Place (a dead end, signed for Cypress Falls Park.) At the very end of this short street, there is a hidden gravel drive heading up to the left – take this up to a large gravel parking area, with bear-proof garbage receptacles at the far end. Park here. There may be many vehicles – most belonging to dog-owners or professional dog walkers.  The park is a very popular off-leash area for local canines.

Approach

From here, it is about a 30 minute walk to the first drop-in point – mostly uphill, though not too steep overall. It’s up to you – you can set out in wetsuit and pack, or light shirt and shorts, suiting up at the drop-in point.

Take the trail at the end of the parking lot, beside the garbage can and signage, across a very short field and into the trees. Immediately turn left and follow the trail up a ways, then along some up and down, parallel to the creek.  After about 5 minutes, the trail drops down to the right a little bit, arriving at a fenced viewpoint overlooking the rooster-tail Lower Cypress Falls.  Enjoy the view, anticipating the rappel into the rooster-tail, then continue up the trail, keeping right to cross a wooden footbridge over the creek in a moment. Continue up and to the right, following the trail, and in a few minutes come to a fork.  Keep right, which will take you further up and up.

After another 5 minutes, the trail passes through a gate, then deposits you on a road, with a quarry across from you.  Turn left up the road. In 5 more minutes, pass a yellow gate, where the road turns to gravel.  Continue past the gate, to the second telephone pole on the right side of the road.  Just prior to the pole, a faint trail leads up the hill on your right.  Follow it up into the trees.  From here, you will be following day-glo green flagging along the trail.

Just after entering the trees, turn left to contour northwards for a very short way.  Then follow the trail up a shallow draw for a minute or two.  The trail comes up to a level spot, then drops down and left, closer to the creek.  Contour along the hillside for a couple of minutes, then steeply up a short embankment.  In another moment, you will join an old logging road through the woods.

Turn left on the logging road, and follow it for about 150m or so.  The road forks, with the right going up into the forest, and becoming more overgrown.  Keep to the left.  In another 50m or so, reach the end of a little promontory over the creek below.  Start down to the right, and follow a very steep trail (there are a couple of knotted, fixed ropes to help with the descent), through a little obstacle course, to the bed of the creek.  Be careful dropping down here, as there is potential for injury if you slip in some spots. Watch, also, that you don’t dislodge rocks or logs on people below.

Route Details

Once you get close to the creek, there are some good flat spots to suit up and prepare for the first rappel.  When you’re all ready, scramble down into the creek, where it swirls down towards the first waterfall.  There is a large boulder right at the top of the cascade.  Above it is a bolted rappel station.  There is also a bolt further back from the drop, which can be used for a safety clip, in case you or a member of your party feel uncomfortable with the exposure at the top of the rappel.

The first rappel is approximately 14 meters (45 feet), and ends in a swimmer pool.  There are numerous ledges all the way down, and two logs angle down into the pool.  You will end up between the logs in high flow, though in  lower flow you can keep left (rappeler’s left) of both logs, along the wall.

Pack up your rope, and continue down canyon.  There is a nice section of narrows along here, then the canyon opens again, and you pass below a bridge high above.  This is the old entrance point (prior to the descent of the upper waterfall in about 2013).  Shortly afterwards, you will arrive at the the second rappel.

This rappel is easily done as a two stage rap with a length of about 22 meters (70 feet). Add about 2 meters in high water, because the exit from the rappel is in a swirling bowl that can be difficult to exit. The anchor is another bolted rappel station, on canyon left.  It is just above the chockstone pinch that was the original anchor prior to bolting. Drop down to the pool on the ledge, wade/swim across to the far side, and drop over the lip for the second stage.  Keep well to your left (as you rappel) in the groove/corner, or you WILL slip!

Pull the rope – it is surprisingly easy, despite going around the corner – and continue down the canyon past a log jam (easily passed on the right, a little less easily on the left) to the next rappel.  This rappel used to be anchored off a huge boulder that was propped into the corner on your left, as you approach the waterfall – a fair distance around the corner.  This huge boulder is now gone – it washed away during the winter of 2014/15.  Just goes to show how massive the water flows through here can be!

The rappel is now anchored off a bolted rappel station on canyon left, just above the drop.  Very carefully move out onto the ledge on the left.  It may seem exposed, but the footing is secure, and handholds are plenty.  The rappel is 18 meters (60 feet) to the water.

After pulling the rope, continue down the canyon from here for another 30-45 minutes or so, and pass below the wooden footbridge from earlier in the day.  Continue to the base of the viewing platform, and prepare for the rooster tail rappel.

There are a pair of bolts just around the corner, equalized with some webbing.  Climb up to the viewing platform, go around it, and drop into the drainage just beyond it, then move back toward the creek itself – you will find the bolts there.  Alternatively, you can go down the main channel with a belay and turn the corner to reach the bolts.  There will very likely soon be another bolt on the cliff below and prior to the viewpoint, to use as a safety clip  for the move around the corner.

Cypress Final Rap

Final rappel station in Cypress Creek. Public viewpoint is just out of view, top left.

This rappel is just under 30 meters (100 feet) to the pool below.  First person down should check the rope’s fall upon reaching the top of the two large logs in the falls, about 20 feet from the top. (Interesting note – there was only one log here until the fall of 2012 – would have been interesting to see that come down!) Step carefully on the logs – they can be slippery.  If using a carabiner block, the last person may wish to remove the block and rap double strand, to avoid the possibility of sticking the rope on the logs.

Pass some logs jams (some slippery scrambling, and possibly a very short “nuisance” rappel), a nice slanted hallway, and some neat pouroffs.  You will come to a wall on the right with a number of climbing bolts on it, and possibly some old rope and/or quickdraws.  Just past this is the first convenient exit – scramble up a dirt ramp under a fallen log to the rim, and turn right.

There is some more jumping, wading and exploring below this level – you can find a couple of more potential exits lower, on the right – take one of them when you see houses up ahead…

Exit

Follow the trail up the rim of the canyon for 5 minutes or so. You will see some plastic mesh fencing off to your left just before you reach a well-trod trail. Turn left, and almost immediately rejoin the main trail. Once there, turn left to reach the parking lot in about two minutes.

 

* Reason for rating:
v4 – “Vertical sections with low to medium water flow, causing balance problems or blocking”
a3 – “Swimming not exceeding 30 m in calm water. Travel in low current.”

 

Percy Creek – Beta

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Update:

As of June 30, 2013, Percy Creek is not really recommended as a fun day out!  There seems to have been a major wind and/or rain event that has caused a lot of trees to slide into the canyon.  We descended the upper third of the canyon on June 30, 2013, and found many spots with huge thickets of logs and branches that have fallen and slid down from the walls making passage incredible slow, treacherous, and difficult.  It may be a long while before the canyon is a pleasant trip again.  Shall have to monitor it occasionally over the next couple/few years…

At a Glance

ACA Rating: 3C III
French Rating: v4a2 III*
Time Required: 8-10 hours
Distance: Technical section – 3 km
Rappels: up to 11 – longest 60m
Total Elevation Loss: 700m

 

Overview

Percy Canyon is a long, somewhat physically demanding canyon that makes its way down the slopes of Mount Seymour.  This route begins very close to the Mount Seymour ski area, and works its way down almost to sea level.  There will be some rock and gravel walking and a lot of scrambling through large boulders.  There are lots of downclimbs, some in dry areas, most in water, with tricky footing on slick rock and moss. For much of the trip, you will be walking in a dry canyon, but there will also be swims through a few pools, and rappels through waterfalls.  One of the fascinating things about this canyon is how the water keeps disappearing and reappearing throughout.  In some spots, if you listen carefully, you can hear the water running beneath the gravel and rocks at your feet.

Gear

Standard gear, including wetsuit and rappel equipment.  Adequate rope for a maximum 60m rappel.  Webbing/rapides for up to 8 rappels off natural anchors (trees/boulders), mostly fairly close to the drops.

Maps

 

To the Trailhead

The trail is accessed from Mount Seymour Road, near the top of the mountain.  It is best to spot a car lower on the road, to minimize a long, uphill trek at the end of the day.

From Highway 1 westbound, take Exit 22B for Mount Seymour Parkway.  You will end up on Fern Street. In 100m, turn right onto Mount Seymour Parkway.

From Highway 1 Eastbound, take Exit 22, toward Lynn Creek/Capilano University.  From the off-ramp, turn left on Fern Street.  Drive 350m, and turn right onto Mount Seymour Parkway.

On Mount Seymour Parkway, drive east for 4.5 km, and turn left on Mount Seymour Road.  (On your left is Parkgate Village Shopping Centre – the Bean Around the World coffee shop is a great place for a get-up-and-go cup of coffee and final supplies for the day.)

Drive 3 km up Mount Seymour Road, entering Mount Seymour Provincial Park, and stop at a parking area on the right side.  This is the Baden-Powell Trailhead – spot a vehicle here for the exit (N49 20.295 W122 57.411).

As you continue up the road, a kilometer further on is a switch back to the left (N49 20.655 W122 56.752).  On the right side, a trail comes up out of the forest, beside a large tree – this is where you will emerge on the hike out.  Unfortunately, there is no parking along here; you will have to walk fifteen minutes back to the car from here at the end of the day.

Once again, continue up the road, for another 7.5km (11.5km from the turn off of Mt. Seymour Parkway) to another switchback to the left (this is the third, and final, left switchback on the road.) On the left side, at the apex of the turn, is a parking lot (N49 21.579 W122 56.875).  Pull in here.

 

Approach

From the south (downhill) side of the parking lot, cross the road up which you just drove, finding a trail that begins just before the first concrete barricades on the far side of the road (N49 21.537 W122 56.880). Take this trail across Goldie Creek (N49 21.812 W122 56.344), and continue towards Goldie Lake.  After about 1.5km (20-25 minutes) turn right on the signed “Dead End Trail” (N49 22.037 W122 56.115).  Follow this for about 500m to a wooden bridge crossing the upper reaches of Percy Creek (N49 22.215 W122 55.899).  Turn downstream…

Route Details

Start strolling down the canyon.  You begin in a fairly level streambed of gravel, rocks, and boulders. The canyon slowly begins to develop, with occasional grooves, chutes, and cascades appearing. When you start sensing waterfalls ahead (maybe half an hour downstream) think about donning a wetsuit.  You will know you are starting to get into it when you reach a skinny little slot with a stream pouring over a chock stone – down climbable to a pool about 8m (25 feet) below. From here, the down climbs and rappels will come pretty steadily.

Be careful for slippery rock and moss.  Over the next couple of hours, there will be a couple of solid, obvious rappels, of up to almost 30m (100 feet) as well as some down climbs that may make you reach for a handline… Further on is a shorter drop (8m or 25 feet) down an emerald green cascade into a pool, for which a handline probably won’t be quite enough, then a “nuisance rappel” of about 5m (15 feet) over a boulder and down a log .  Shortly thereafter is a series of down climbs, which ends with a 2.5m (8 foot) drop with a little pouroff.  A log beside the pouroff, and a foothold between the two, make the drop a pretty straightforward down climb, but it can also be rappelled off a dodgy pinch in the pool.

After this, drop into a rabbit hole amid a jumble of giant boulders, to a short, straightforward down climb.  Then continue to another steep, slightly unnerving down climb, where you keep left down what is almost a set of steps beside a wall.

Now you’re at the top of a big drop.  This yields to a downclimb of a steep groove on the left side, out of the water flow, until you reach a horn that can be slung to rappel the balance of the drop. The down climb is exposed on the left, when approaching the horn. This rappel is 38m (125 feet) to the ground, but you can get away with 30m (100 feet) by moving further into the channel at the bottom, and down climbing beside slippery logs.

After this, there is a non-technical section.  After about half an hour of scrambling over boulders, down chasms and through gaps, just when you’re thinking that it’s about time for something to happen, it does.

A rap of about 18m (60 feet) leads to a nice sheltered pool below – but don’t be fooled.  This is the top of a three stage rap, totaling about 60m (200 feet) to the bottom.  Sling the boulder at the top of the drop, and rap into the first pool, then turn the corner, down to the second and third pools.  It may be easiest for communication to gather the party at the bottom of the first stage before anyone continues to the bottom. The rope pull from the bottom is surprisingly good, but ensure you keep it in the straightest possible line.

The bottom of the third stage has anchor material available, and one more drop of 25m (80 feet) follows immediately. After this, the canyon consists, once again, primarily of boulders and short down climbs. One spot, dropping over a long, sloping boulder, made us nervous enough to rig a short rappel off of a huge log. The can instead be used as a handline.

About another half hour downcanyon, you will find a trail crossing the canyon – this is your exit point.  As of the fall of 2012, there was a rope across the creek bed here, almost like a barricade.  You can remove wetsuits here (if you haven’t already) and get ready for an intimidating trail out.

Exit

Start up and out the right side of the canyon, and follow the trail up and down, traversing across very steep terrain. It should take about half an hour, climbing about 125m (400 feet) over about a kilometer, to reach the crossing of Goldie Creek (N49 21.175 W122 55.206). Take the log bridge across the creek, and continue along the path.  It’s about 45 more minutes to the road.

Follow the trail, crossing a couple of small creeks, and one or two bike trails that cross your path.  Eventually, the trail ends at a T (N49 20.695 W122 56.635); turn left here, and then almost immediately (within about 5m) turn right again, onto a fainter trail.  This will contour around a little knoll, and across a small creek.  In a couple of minutes, you will once again hit a T junction (N49 20.668 W122 56.686). Turn left (downhill) again.

After another 10m, drop to the right, into a larger creek bed (N49 20.648 W122 56.685).  Cross to the other side, and find a trail about 15m in – take this one to the right, and in a moment it will start steeply up the hill.  Follow it all the way up and out of the trees.

You are now at the switchback, near the bottom of the mountain (N49 20.655 W122 56.752).  Turn left on the road, and walk 15 minutes to the Baden-Powell Trailhead (N49 20.295 W122 57.411), and your awaiting chariot.

Times

0:25 TH to Percy Bridge (2925’)
0:55 to Slot Down climb (2700’)
1:30 to Rappel 1 (2670’)
1:40 to Rappel 2 (2605’)
2:15 to Handline Downclimb (2375’)
2:45 to Rappel 3 (2200’)
3:10 to Rappel 4
3:30 to Rappel 5 (1950’)
3:40 to Rappel 6 (1930’)
3:45 to Rappel 7 (1850’)
3:55 to Rabbit Hole (1790’)
4:05 to Stairway Downclimb
4:30 to Exposed Groove Downclimb.
4:40 to Rappel 8 (1620’)
5:30 to Rappel 9 (1280’)
6:00 to Rappel 10 (1170’)
6:45 to Rappel 11
7:15 to Exit Trail (660’)
7:45 to Goldie Creek crossing
8:30 to Mt. Seymour Road
8:50 to Baden-Powell Trailhead

Rappel Summary

Rope lengths refer to the distance from the anchor to the base of the rappel.  They do NOT include the pull side.

R1
Off a boulder. 35’ rope length, 25 foot drop.

R2
Off a tree on canyon left, over a log. 70’ rope.

R3
Off a boulder pinch, two stages. 90’ – leave a longer pull side.

R4
Use a large outcrop on canyon right as a bollard.  About 30 feet.  Pull rope around bollard – more easily done from atop a platform mid canyon.

R5
Off a boulder pinch. 25’ down a mossy vee.

R6
Over a boulder, down a log. 15’.

R7
Optional rap, off a pinch down about 8 feet.  Relatively easy downclimb.

R8
Downclimb to horn on little ledge pool. 125’ down.

R9
Three stage rappel, off a boulder at top of waterfall. 190’ total.

R10
Off a boulder pinch.  About 85’.

R11
Sling a log to get down a boulder with a tricky drop-off lip at the bottom. About 30’. Can be handlined.

 

* Reason for rating:
v4 – ” Difficult to access rappels, or rappels in excess of 30 m.”
a2 – “Swims not exceeding 10 m in length, in calm water.”