Archive:Winter Longhike 2012

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Main article: Winter Longhike

Everything is different when you go into the backcountry in the winter; that's why there is Winter Longhike, an introductory trip for winter camping. This is usually a big trip with lots of keen people aboard who want to get out, learn some new skills, and sleep in their very own snow shelter while still managing to have fun too. It's an easy, beginner friendly trip, so if you've never even seen snow before you can still have a good time. Other fun activities that often happen at Winter Longhike are people showing off their backcountry cooking skills, sing alongs, and the occasional great ski run on Sunday.

Although beginner friendly and relatively easy, do not under estimate Winter Longhike - it is still a trip to a backcountry location where your survival depends on your actions and equipment. Although there will be many experienced people around to help out fundamentally you are responsible for your own safety. Due to the massive size of the group you will not be micro-managed - you are responsible for your own safety and actions this especially includes asking for help. If you have some common sense and can follow simple instructions this should be not problem. You should form smaller sub groups (easiest is with the rest of the people in your car) and look out for each other.

Chris Yuen is organizing this trip, but it would be best to post on the message board.

Sign up here

The Plan

The general plan is for everybody who arrives on time to hike in together on Saturday morning. Once we reach the camp area you will gather together with your snow cave group, select a suitable site, and start constructing your snow shelter. Experienced people will be on hand to offer advice and encouragement. If you've never done it before, building a snow shelter will take longer than you thought it would - basically all day. Hopefully before dark, though, it should be complete. The group will dig a massive snow-kitchen, so we can all gather together to cook, eat, drink, sing and generally be merry and have a good time. At some point you'll get tired and go to bed, testing out that snow cave you dug earlier in the day. The route in and the area around camp will be selected such that if you stick to these areas you are exposed to minimal avalanche terrain.

On Sunday what you do is up to you and your group. Many people will go skiing in the backcountry, which involves navigation and terrain evaluation. Some will go hiking or snowshoeing, which also involves terrain evaluation (but you're probably less tempted to venture out onto steep slopes since there's no reason to). Many will sleep in, some will go home early and some will go home late. Sunday is up to you.


January 7th - 8th, 2012 Trip leaves the trailhead at 9:15am.

Pre-trip Meeting

Date: Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
Location: WOOD 1
Time: 6:00pm

You really should come to the pre trip meeting. At the pre-trip we will be covering some winter camping basics and arranging rides. You will also have the opportunity to interact with other VOCers and arrange snowcave groups and food groups at the pre-trip... If you absolutely can't make it, find somebody to represent you and make sure they have enough information to do so!

If you've sorted all this stuff out on your own that's fine. Email Chris and let him know you're coming, so we have an idea of the numbers and buy the correct number of poo bags.

  • Note: This is all basically up to your driver, but we will be encouraging the pre-pay system for this trip. In order to ensure drivers are fairly and appropriately reimbursed even with flaky passengers, we are asking all passengers to bring the money for their driver to the pre-trip meeting. This will avoid the need to split up costs at the end of the trip and drivers won't have to worry about driving up with an empty car if their passengers bail. Check out this page to get an idea of the costs of taking a car on a VOC trip. The exact amount to be paid will be up to the discretion of each driver. Count on something like $5 per passenger, since we're not going too far.


  • Overview
  • Go over winter camping basics
  • Go over how not to make an ass of yourself
  • Arrange car groups
  • Arrange snow cave groups
  • Arrange food-sharing groups

Important Considerations

This is the sort of stuff we will go over at the pre-trip, written down here because everybody knows it's hard to pay attention when somebody talks at you for half an hour.

Things to do beforehand in the city

  • Find/form a smaller sub-group that will look out for each other (easy to do at the pre-trip).
  • Tell somebody about your plans - you will not be micro-managed on this trip. If you didn't come home, would anybody notice? If you don't really know anybody in the city this person can even be Chris, the trip organizer - but you have to let him know explicitly to look out for you.
  • Double check you have everything on the gear list.
  • Read over the winter camping basics
  • Check over the snow shelter instructions, and think about what kind of shelter you're going to build.
  • Figure out how you're getting there. Driving time (excluding passenger pickup) should be about 1 hour.
  • Read over (maybe even print out?) the hiking directions - you should know where you're going even if you don't plan on navigating. Sometimes things don't go as planned. Maps are good, and not expensive.

Things to do on the trip

  • Consider letting the resort-services staff know about your plans (and your license plate number), or leaving a note on your dash. The RCMP have been called in the past, even if you park in the correct lot.
  • Park in the correct (overnight parking) lot, so you don't cause the resort to panic for sure.
  • Look after your sub-group, and yourself
  • Have fun

Environmental considerations and Courtesy

  • We are a very large group. This fact alone can sometimes piss people off. Help the VOC to look good in the eyes of the outdoor community - be ridiculously nice and friendly to anyone and everyone you encounter (VOC, resort staff, random people, whoever).
  • Pack out all waste. With a large group sometimes it's easy to forget about your garbage. Take responsibility for that piece of garbage you see lying on the ground, even if it's not yours, and keep our mountains clean.
  • That's right all waste. To keep camp from becoming a disgrace to humanity we will provide poo-bags. Demos will be available from more experienced members, including the "stop and scoop" and "direct" methods.
  • Dirty stuff happens downhill from camp. This includes peeing, using poo bags and scraping out your pot (but large food leftovers get packed out). Snow uphill from camp will be melted for drinking water.
  • Collapse all snow caves before you leave. After a few snowfalls nobody will be able to tell you hollowed out that hillside. If somebody falls through later in the season they could easily hurt themselves and break an ankle far from help - that would be bad. Igloos are not quite as dangerous, since they don't tend to look like hills.

The terrain

Despite it's proximity to Vancouver, Mount Seymour is not as easy a destination as one might hope. There's a reason why North Shore Search and Rescue is so busy - don't be part of the problem.

There is a lot of steep terrain in the area. If the snow is soft this means avalanches, if the snow is hard this means a long ride down a steep gully - both of these situations can result in serious injury or death. Stick to the relatively safe wanded route unless you know what you're doing, and realize that in poor snow conditions even the wanded route can be hazardous. There will be a lot of people around, don't blindly follow them - make your own decisions.

Update - weather conditions on the North Shore this weekend will be very icy. Pay particular attention to where you would slide if you fell - goretex is like wearing a toboggan with no brakes or steering.


The location will be at Mount Seymour Provincial Park, this is outside the ski resort area so it's free. We will meet at the backcountry access kiosk - this is at the North-West corner of the highest parking lot (the "far left" when looking at the resort). The main group will be departing this location at 9:15am, if you're not there on time navigation is up to you. We suggest drivers arrive at 8:30am, to allow for enough time to drop off your gear, go back to the lower lot and park, and generally faff around to be hiking by 9:15.

Getting there: driving

Google maps directions from UBC. But if you're not coming from UBC I'm sure you can figure it out, in these days of the internet. Not including driving around hell's half-acre to pick up all your passengers it is an 80 km round trip.

We will be meeting at the NW end (ie keep going to the very end) of the highest parking lot, since this is where the backcountry access begins - however you must not park in the upper lot. Overnight parking is in the lower lot, the one with the sign which says "overnight parking" (you can drop off gear and then go park, if you like). If you park in the upper lot you may end up with your vehicle towed, search and rescue called, or both.

Getting there: bus

If you can't get a ride it is possible to take a shuttle bus to the mountain, and translink to where the shuttle bus leaves. Information on the Mt. Seymour shuttle bus is here. To arrive on time you will need to take the 8:30 bus from Parkgate Village (the bottom of the hill) and be "ready to go" when you step off the bus. Translink's trip planner is here, but it does not support linking directly to search results so you'll have to figure that out yourself. Count on leaving UBC at around 6:40.

Getting there: hiking

From the backcountry access kiosk we will be heading along the backcountry access corridor beside the resort - it generally goes up just to climber's left of the outside ski run and is well marked. Once past the edge of the resort we will be following the wanded route maintained by BC parks into the backcountry. Pay attention to the wands - this is a popular spot and there are a lot of people breaking lots of trails to a lot of random locations in this area (and many into possibly dangerous terrain). However, only two of these well-trodden paths will have 2 meter tall orange wands every few meters - we are taking one of the wanded routes (the one marked "Mount Seymour Backcountry Access trail", the other route takes a bit of a detour and visits "first lake"). Don't just follow the boots in front of you - use your own brain and pay attention to where you're going!

Camp will be set up not far off the wanded route, in the meadows SE of First Pump Peak at ~1220m elevation. We will have some of our own wands along the route where you split off - or just notice the massive group of people building snow caves.

Equipment List



  • burly overcontainer for your poo bag (pack it in - pack it out!)
  • toilet paper
  • garbage bags (2-3)
  • cup, bowl, spoon, knife
  • lunch, snacks, breakfast, dinner contribution (in winter you will need 2500-3500 calories per day, fat-rich stuff keeps you warm)
  • toothbrush, etc.
  • sunscreen and sunglasses (we can hope, right?)
  • water bottle (1L)
  • headlamp (with batteries!)
  • gas money for your driver
  • camera if you want
  • whistle
  • lighter
  • map, compass (if you plan on navigating, maybe only on Sunday)
  • pack to put it all in


  • sleeping pad, or two, if you have them.
  • sleeping bag (rated for winter, or 3 season if you sleep warm)


In winter especially, none of your clothing should be made out of cotton. Anything synthetic is safe. Just remember, Cotton Kills.

  • warm jacket (fleece or down)
  • warm pants (fleece or thick long underwear)
  • long underwear
  • layers (fleece or wool sweaters)
  • toque (warm hat)
  • mitts (2 pairs, or a set of waterproof shells)
  • warm socks (2 pairs, wool/wool mix)
  • waterproof jacket (goretex or coated nylon)
  • waterproof pants (goretex or coated nylon)
  • gaiters
  • good waterproof boots (wax them before the trip) or ski boots
  • insulated booties (optional, for lounging)


  • skis and skins if skiing, or snowshoes, or even just boots if you can't get skis or snowshoes
  • ski poles (useful even if you only bring boots)

If you want to go skiing on Sunday before heading out to the cars, make sure to bring:

  • avalanche transceiver
  • shovel
  • probe
  • you don't need avalanche gear to ski down the groomers to the car, but you might want to do practise rescues.
  • goggles and helmet if that's your thing

If you happen to own them and the forecast looks icy you might also bring:

  • crampons
  • ice axe

Update - weather conditions on the North Shore this weekend will be very icy. Pay particular attention to where you would slide if you fell - goretex is like wearing a toboggan with no brakes or steering. Those crampons and/or ice axe are looking better than ever.

Small Group

3-4 people per group, organized at trip meeting along with car groups

  • shovels (1-2)
  • probe (to find trees before you dig the cave)
  • stove + fuel + lighter (you'd be surprised how often one of these stays home). If using white gas, for each person bring 150 mL.
  • pots

Big Group


  • first aid kits (2)
  • song books (4)
  • snow saw
  • maps, compass, etc

Interested people

Use the sign up tool

Ride board from pre-trip

Will be uploaded after pre-trip meeting.