Hanging Lake Trail Building

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Revision as of 23:28, 27 October 2019 by ScottN (talk | contribs) (Update with progress from 2019-10-27 trail work)
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Reference Points

This section assigns names to various sections of the trail for documentation purposes. These are listen in order starting at the WOP Biathlon Range

0km Biathlon Building Parking
Trail follow Olympic Biathlon XC trail to the low point past the bridge
km Olympic Explorer
Backcountry access trail follows Olympic Explorer snowshoe trail along an old narrow roadbed.
km Map Trailhead
This is the proper trailhead on the logging road above the highest WOP XC ski trail.
km Trailhead climb
The initial climb straight up through the forest above the map trailhead
km sidehill bridge
A small bridge on a sidehill section
km Uprooted Tree Bridge
A small bridge across a little stream just past the uprooted tree.
km bench bridge
Another small bridge a bit further uphill
km alder bridge
Another small bridge where the trail climbs into an open patch that was full of slide alder
km alder patch
km Uprooted Tree Traverse
km old trail junction
km Big Rock Meadow
An open area with a large rock in the middle of it. Trail goes climber's left of the rock
km gully traverse
trail traverses left across the bottom of a spring avalanche gully. The gully is not visible from the trail.
km gully meadow
km mountain swamp
km boulder climb
Lower boulder climb is below the huge boulder. Upper boulder climb is above the boulder.
km boulder traverse
trail traverses right (steep at first) towards the new creek crossing
km Hanging Lake Creek Bridge
km yoyo meadows
km talus bench
km headwall climb
km Hanging Lake Bench
km Hanging Lake

Tasks & Schedule

Winter Tasks

  • Replace missing markers as needed (some trees were cut down, a few of the big hole markers fell off). Hanging Lake Trail only has a few missing markers.
  • High branch pruning on lower realigned trail between sidehill bridge and uprooted tree bridge.
  • High branch pruning at upper boulder climb - especially the tree that the climb wraps around where it switchbacks above the boulder
  • High branch pruning just above biathlon range where there is a large fallen tree parallel to the small road (fall or winter)
  • Align markers for switchback through yoyo meadows
  • Align markers to switchbacks on headwall climb
  • Investigate possible switchback shortening on lower boulder climb so that steep climb finishes at a small creek directly below the big boulder rather than crossing and continuing on the south side then switching back. This adjustment would shorten the length of the steep traversing climb. Need to verify in winter conditions that it is not too steep and that the creek bridges over adequately with snow in this location.
  • Improve markers through Mountain swamp leading for forest below boulder climb. In particular the "skinny tree" marker is hard to spot. Use shorter distances between markers here.

Fall Tasks

  • Improve drainage between Biathlon Range and map trailhead - check new ditches dug October 2017 and add new ditches higher up on switchbacks
  • Clear brush at top of headwall climb and entry to Hanging Lake Bench
  • Add more uphill ditches parallel to narrow road section. Parallel ditches installed in October 2017 seemed to work nicely. Upper section above switchbacks remains.
  • Replace collapsed bridge near start of narrow road just above Biathlon Range
  • Add small bridges over cross ditches on either side of first narrow road switchback
  • Enlarge cross ditches to at least 12" wide and 6" deep. This size seems to be working whereas smaller ditches are not.
  • High branch pruning just above biathlon range where there is a large fallen tree parallel to the small road (fall or winter)


October 27, 2019

(Scott Nelson, Geoff Dosman, Reed Schrad, Einar Hansen, Alexander MacIsaac)

We cleared fallen trees and widened the trail from the top of trailhead climb to the uprooted tree traverse. Cleared brush and deadfall on lower boulder climb. Felled all trees flagged for removal as far as the Hanging Lake Creek Bridge. Geoff and Reed both reported having trouble following the markers in the mountain swamp section where there is a single marker on a skinny tree in the middle of the swampy patch.

October 11, 2019

(Scott Nelson, Sandra Nelson, Erik Nelson, Halle Nelson, Christian Veenstra, Fenya Veenstra, Nova Veenstra)

Kid friendly trail day near the trailhead. Dug ditches on the narrow road between the collapsed bridge and the first switchback. More clearing of trees and high branches to allow crossing the stream at the collapsed bridge without going down into the gully and back up the other side. Kids more or less took care of themselves digging, harvesting clay and building their own beaver lodge.

October 21, 2018

(Scott Nelson, Wayne Dalzell, Liam Kynaston, Lesley Stalker)

Completed the Hanging Lake Creek Bridge. Tied down log stringers and bolted centre span support in place. spiked down log stringers on alder bridge

October 6, 2018

(Scott Nelson, Erik Nelson, Halle Nelson, Scott Webster, Anne Webster, Joel Webster, Alina Webster)

Kid friendly trail day clearing between the trailhead and the alder bridge. Cleared new direct alignment on trailhead climb.

September 30, 2018

(Scott Nelson, Geoff Dosman, Louis Arsenault, Rob Kay, Jeff Mottershead, Liam Kynaston, Matt Parisien) Finished gabion boxes, built adhesive rock anchor and pulled 5 log stringers across the creek. Got totally soaked again.

September 23, 2018

(Scott Nelson, Geoff Dosman, Matt Parisien, Liam Kynaston) Continued filling gabion boxes, rescued the big log that fell down the creek and dragged other logs to the bridge site.

September 9, 2018

(Scott Nelson and Liam Kynaston) Placed gabion boxes and started filling them. Got totally soaked.

August 6, 2018

(Scott Nelson, Matt Parisien, Val, Wayne Dalzell) Carried Gabion boxes to site and pulled down unfelled trees with tirfor.

July 22, 2018

(Scott Nelson, Wayne Dalzell). Felled some trees, left others cut and standing because they wouldn't fall over. Lost a big fir tree log down the creek when it slid away after being peeled and turned over.

July 7, 2018

(Scott Nelson, Jeff Mottershead & Devlin Mottershead). We felled a yellow cedar tree and cut and peeled two 6m long log stringers. The extra length will allow more flexibility in building a stone gabion foundation on the south bank back from the edge of the water. Jeff used his tirfor to pull down the big leaning tree safely, then I bucked in into pieces with the chainsaw after it was down.

June 2, 2018

(Scott Nelson and Lukas Schreiber). We hiked up to scout out the main creek crossing for a bridge. We found two good rocks to bolt a log to for a foundation on the south side, and one rock on the north side. The north side will require a couple gabion cages and rock fill to build up the remaining foundation to the height of the rock. Vertical clearance to the water is good - about 1m and the span is 4.2m. There are several 25-40cm diameter yellow cedar trees in the vicinity that could be used to make stringers. There are multiple good anchor points for winching logs into place on both sides of the creek. After scouting the crossing we did some miscellaneous pruning on the way back down to the car.

March 11, 2018

(Scott Nelson and Matt Parisien). We pulled markers from the old alignment, raised markers on the lower trail section and realigned markers on the boulder climb. Set new markers on a more direct alignment on trailhead climb as some had fallen off.

October 28, 2017

(Scott Nelson, Sandra Nelson, Erik Nelson, Halle Nelson, Christian Veentra, Fenya Veenstra, Matt Gunn, Teigan Gunn, Andre Zimmermann, Luca Zimmermann) A trail-building trip with kids to dig ditches. We improved drainage between the Biathlon Range and the small road switchbacks. Water was diverted off the very first section on trail to allow skiers to use this rather than the steep climb a bit further east. We also widened the clearing width near a stream where a small bridge had collapsed by cutting back slide alder to allow the stream to be crossed uphill where it bridges naturally.

October 22, 2017

(Scott Nelson, Bruce Cassels, Bruno Godin) First we cleared numerous blowdowns between the biathlon range and widened the connection between the narrow road and the big road near the trailhead. The largest blowndown was too big and suspended above the road cut so we notched it and build a ramp around it on the downhill edge of the road. This should fill in nicely with a little bit of snow. Higher up above the traverse bridge we found a huge blowdown that was too big to cut through (estimated 42" diameter) so we rerouted a short section of trail instead to the left (uphill). The reroute is shorter and smoother than the old (now blocked) trail.

Jan 4, 2014- Hanging Lake Ski

(Scott Nelson, Matt Parisien) no work done on the trail, but a good assessment of what travelling the trail is like in extremely thin snow conditions. At the trailhead, the snowpack was just 5cm of ice and frozen tree bombs so we strapped our skis to our packs and hiked up to 1200m. Travel was surprisingly fast thanks to the clearing work. We still had to step over a few fallen logs and there were plenty of stumps poking through too. Travel would have been a little easier if the trail was cleared to full hiking trail standards (i.e. cut every single log across the trail). Bashing our way through the blueberry bushes and devils club stems was not a problem. Bridges were not holding any snow yet. just 1cm of ice. All creeks were solidly frozen. Puddle near the big uprooted tree (1000m) was not frozen. The icy logs that we threw into the puddle last fall were tricky to walk. Just below the main creek crossing we went underneath a big leaning tree. Going above it was not possible with the thin snowpack – perhaps 30-40cm at that point. Last spring we went above this tree. At this point it’s not clear if there is an awkward snowpack depth where neither over nor under work. We went below the big dead tree that was cut down near 1250m. The fallen tree itself was still blocking travel on the uphill side. Travel was easy for the uncleared portion above 1250m. Clearing higher than 1250m would not be beneficial.

October 26, 2013 – Hanging Lake Trail Clearing

(Scott Nelson, Matt Parisien, Ben Singleton-Polster, Adam Palmblad, Tracy Wilkinson, Matthew Paley, Robin Curtis, Leor Oren). We built three new bridges on the Hanging Lake trail – (trailhead bridge, sidehill bridge and alder bridge). The blowdowns from last winter were taken care of and we cut down all the trees marked with orange tape up to 1050m.

October 5-6, 2013 – Hanging Lake Trail Clearing

(Scott Nelson, Austin Badger, Dan Domanski) BCMC trip cleared the rerouted trail section that was marked in March. The new stream crossing was easy, even with high runoff. It is just below a pretty waterfall where the creek cascades down bedrock. One big fallen tree at big rock meadow could be problematic in early winter. We widened a naturally occurring gap in the tree but it may be too steep to climb on skis. I will have to check it out after the snow falls and decide if more work is necessary. At the trailhead the plastic coating on the sign artwork is shrinking significantly. The screws won’t allow this, so it bubbled up a bit around the screws. The map artwork underneath is totally fine though.

March 16, 2013 – Hanging Lake trail reroute marking

(Scott Nelson, Bill Maurer, Elisa Kreller and Goran Babic). BCMC group marked the improved route with permanent markers. We also remove the first few markers at either end of the bypassed section so they are not visible from the new alignment. Most of the old markers are still up.

February 9, 2013 – Hanging Lake trail reroute exploration

(Scott Nelson, Ross Nelson). We figured out a better route that avoids the steep difficult part of the climb. The new variation is quite a bit easier to ski. We flagged it with pink ribbons, but they are not as frequent as the permanent markers, so a little bit of searching might be required. The new route leaves the old one at the creek crossing and stays on the climber’s left side of the creek for a further 500m. Then it cuts back to the right just as things start to get steep, crosses the creek and rejoins the old route above the difficult climb.

October 20, 2012 – Hanging Lake trail

(Scott Nelson, Matt Parisien, Russell Porter, Jake Alleyne,Gili Rosenberg, Olga Lansdorp, Andrew Cavers, Sam Slota-Newson, Jo, Adrian Armstrong, Will, Rob Kay) VOC and BCMC Crew. We widened the trail and built a few bridges from the logging road sign to the creek crossing.

October 14, 2011 – meeting with Lindsay Durno and Soren Robinson

(Scott Nelson and Bryce Leigh). We met with Lindsay to discuss access signage on WOP property. Lindsay and Soren agreed to put up signs directing backcountry users to the established trailheads where backcountry skiers can leave WOP. Backcountry users will be allowed to use the XC ski trails to reach the backcountry. The small road that runs from the Biathlon Range to the Hanging Lake trailhead sign will be designated as a snowshoe trail and may be used by backcountry skiers and snowshoers. We also brushed out the connector between this small road and the bigger logging road where the trailhead sign is located.

October 11th, 2010

The trailhead signs are now complete. These signs were moved from their original locations at the request of Whistler 2010 Sports Legacies Society (the new owners of Whistler Olympic Park), who did not want the signs to be visible from the XC ski trails.

March 27th, 2010

Maria Markov, Anna Szeitz, Ben Singleton-Polester, Chris Michalak, Skyler Ces Roches, Jean Francois Caron and Sandra Nicol joined me for the final round of hanging trail markers. We covered the whole trail from the Biathlon Range to Hanging Lake on what turned out to be a fairly nice day. The first section of trail between the Biathlon Range and the logging road above the XC trails was in really rough condition with little snow and lots of bushy trees, but the rest of the trail went really well. The main creek crossing wasn’t filled in either, but it was pretty easy to cross back and forth about 50m upstream where the creek braids out into several channels.

Hanging_lake_signJanuary 21st, 2010 – Final map

The final version of the map is ready to view. You can download a high res PDF here.

July 26, 2009 – Hanging Lake

(Scott Nelson and Sandra Nicol) We brought a chainsaw up the hanging lake route as far as the start of the open meadows that begin around 1250m. We cut all the large blowdowns between here and the upper logging road. Also did some considerable work on the worst of the dense patches of brushy young conifers around 1000m. This was my first time walking this route in summer conditions. It was hot and buggy, and there was more devils club than I’ve ever seen before. I guess that is part of the reason why the route skis so well in the winter. Another brushing day will be needed to clear from the shooting range to the logging road, as this section was definitely the worst of the bush (and it sees the least snow). I think this can wait until next summer, as VANOC might be causing all sorts of havoc in there for the Olympics.

June 6, 2009 – meeting with Lindsay Durno and sign scouting

(Scott Nelson). I met with Lindsay Durno, the operations manager at Whistler Olympic Park. He was keen on doing some large map boards for the backcountry trailheads at the Biathlon Range and Beverley Creek Bridge, in the same style as the existing XC trail map boards. He suggested that he would be able to provide the stand structures if I could provide the signs. Trailhead signs like this would put me over the original budget, so I will be applying for some more funding from the federal government trails program. Lindsay gave me the contact info for the contractors that made the existing signs at WOP – Century signs in Squamish for fabrication and Tom Barret Ltd in Whistler for the mapping and design. After the meeting I hiked up the Rainbow-Madeley Trail to check out the junctions where the new trail up beverley creek crosses it. I identified suitable trees for trail signs at these junctions. I continued up the Beverley Creek route to see how bushy it was higher up. It turned out to be really easy going, as it was mostly swamp. Only one section about 50m long, the steep traverse over to the valley floor, needs brushing.

February 1, 2009

(Scott Nelson & Ben Singleton-Polester). We flagging a bypass section through the forest between the biathlon range and the logging road above the XC ski trails. (Note, this section is no longer used)

December 14, 2008

Exploratory ski trip to Hanging Lake

March 15-16, 2008

Exploratory ski trip up to Hanging Lake and down Beverley Creek

2009 Funding

MEC kindly provided $1948 for the Hanging lake and Beverley Creek trails.

National Trail Coalition of Canada (www.ntc-canada.ca) provided $1926.