Hanes Traverse Backwards

First I will describe the trip as planned, then some explanation as to why it didn’t actually go as planned, sort of, and suggestions for anybody who might be thinking of doing it.

The Hanes Traverse connects Lynn Valley Park with Grouse Mountain, and is about 15 km long.   The terrain is fairly mixed, but signs have been installed recently, so you are less likely to get lost.  The trail winds itself around various lumps and bumps, down some steepish slimy rocks where the Authorities have installed chains to hang onto, and then goes for several hours of steep valley ranging from talus slopes to boulder fields.  The Authorities have very kindly tied little pieces of ribbon onto various shrubberies to guide you through all this.  As both ends of the traverse are TranSlink accessible, cars are not required.

We felt that riding the lift up, then hiking down, would result in an all-downhill traverse.  And we would quickly get away from the crowds milling around the Skyride.

The trip quickly broke up into those who wanted to go Lynn-to-Grouse to save money, those who wanted to do the Grind to save money, and those who had passes to the Skyride (to save money).  Having the trip so divided from the start makes it very hard to get everybody together and not lose people.  In the end we decided that going Lynn-to-Grouse was too boring, so we would all start from the Grouse end.  Jessica missed her bus in Pemberton, so the trip didn’t happen for Jessica.  Anna, Christina and Kathi decided to do the Grind, and Anna actually arrived at the top of the Grind around 09:05, somewhat out of breath.  Christina and Kathi may have completed the Grind but we didn’t see them at 9:15 when we were supposed to meet, and we still didn’t see them at 9:50 when we finally left the skyride complex and started off into the mist.  But we did get to add Joe to the group.  Joe is one of Carla’s Golden Age Hiker companions, and he was good for adding a bit of a historical perspective to the group.

So here’s briefly what happened in boring chronological order:

Carla, Roland, Anne drive to Lynn Headwaters Park to park the getaway car, and arrive 7:05 am.  The sign on the gate tells us the gate doesn’t open until 08:00.  No problem, we park outside the gate.  Better to park there anyways because if you are aren’t back when they close the gate, you can’t get your car out, and they will start a rescue, which will be annoying and probably expensive.  Joe shows up with his Jeep and we pile in and head for the start of the traverse, the Grouse Skyride.

At the Skyride, Joe spends a pile of money renewing his seasons pass, Carla gets her complimentary volunteer passes, and Anna starts hiking up the Grind. Carla Roland and Joe do coffee at Starbucks waiting for the Skyride to start hauling passengers.  There are many well-toned people heading to the Grind.

Eventually the Skyride takes us up.  We sit around watching the mist swirl by and soon Anna shows up, somewhat out of breath.  We periodically wander through the premises looking for Christina and Kathi, and discuss the fact that the Seabus doesn’t get going until 08:00, and they will probably be late at the Grind because of this.  We try various complicated strategies to contact them, but hampered by Christina’s phone being out of order.  Around 09:30 we decide we are probably going to lose Christina and Kathi, but if you are going to lose somebody, losing them in a herd of tourists on Grouse is  a good place to do it.  At 09:50 we head off into the mist, with our reduced party of Joe, Anna, Carla, Roland.

Joe points out how Grouse has put up signs trying to divert us from our chosen Alpine Trail, so we ignore these signs.  Joe has a somewhat heated discussion with the Ranger about how Grouse is messing with our traditional rights to travel.  Anna and Joe discuss property rights in various countries.  We pass various groups of hikers wandering in the mist.  Most are wearing red running shoes.  My GPS says that we are at Goat Mtn, where most of the various groups leave our trail.  After climbing/sliding down a lot of steep muddy rocks with chains on them for hand lines, we arrive at Crown Pass, a good place for lunch.  It is 12:00.  Still no sign of the Hanes Valley but we know where it is; it’s just full of mist.  So far it has been drizzling on us steadily, not enough to need a raincoat but enough to make the muddy rocks very slick.

A quick lunch, not because we are short of time, but we are keen to see what the next part of the trail has in store for us.  A muddy chute soon deposits us on a talus slope; nice sized stuff for walking on, but unfortunately this slope goes on forever.  After half an hour of this, Carla says she is feeling queasy; shortly she throws up lunch.  We discuss this extensively and decide that she is suffering from food poisoning, and it must be the arugula in her sandwich that got her, as my sandwich was identical except for the arugula.  We decided to ignore the well-known detail that food poisoning takes 6 to 12 hours to manifest itself.  Anyways Carla turns various shades of white, pink, brown, gray, and green, and then says that she is much better now.  We continue.

To entertain ourselves, we use the GPS to show progress.  I had entered some locations into my GPS, such as Crown Pass, “Scenic Viewpoint”, and the Lynn Creek crossing, and it was satisfying to see these appear when and where they were supposed to.  After four hours of this, since lunch, we arrive at Lynn Creek, about the time the drizzle turns to serious rain.  Anna and Joe cross on some gravel and Carla and Roland do the full-on “au cheval” thing, which involves drying the log with our bums.  From here it’s about 7 more kms of trail, to the car.

Some take-home lessons:

Grouse isn’t really designed for people who don’t want to spend money.  As near as we can tell it isn’t suitable for backcountry skiing either, partly because of all the lumps and bumps and trees, but also because Grouse is quite unfriendly towards anybody who doesn’t want to spend money.

The downhill (Grouse-to-Lynn) route is way more difficult.  Sure you don’t have to do as much heavy breathing, but it’s way harder to go down a steep lumpy trail than it is to go up.  This is because if you lose your footing going up, your head is only about a metre away from contact with the ground, and you can quickly stick out your hands and grab something.  On the way down your head is probably 3 metres from where it will land if you slip, so you need to be careful, which wastes time.  So going down isn’t any faster than going up, unless you do a lot of stopping on the way up because you are out of breath.  Maybe that’s why they don’t allow you to go down the Grind, only up.

TranSlink is mostly not useful if you are planning an Alpine Start.  And when you tell people that the plan is TranSlink accessible and they don’t need cars, this does not automatically cause people to want to come on the trip.

If you do this trip two weeks later, at this time of the year, you will have about 50 minutes less daylight.  You might end up stumbling down with your headlight on.

Even with all modern conveniences such as cell phones, you can expect to lose a few people even before you get to the start of the trip.

This entry was posted in Hike, Trip Reports and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply