Difference between revisions of "History of the Roe-Brew Trail"

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(Road: waterbars removed, 2wd to the top)
(Road: further de4x4ification)
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|6.9 || || ||  || straight || In the past, waterbars started here.
|6.9 || || ||  || straight || In the past, waterbars started here.
|- align="center"
|- align="center"
|8.3 || 485303E 5539815N || 900m || R200 branch || Right || take the branch that switchbacks to the right.  If the main road starts to go downhill you missed the junction.  Follow the branch steeply uphill to the trailhead, which is just above the first switchback, about 1km up R-200.  Beyond this point water bars get steeper, deeper and more difficult.  A lot of clearance and a short wheelbase are needed to make much progress up the road beyond this point.
|8.3 || 485303E 5539815N || 900m || R200 branch || Right || take the branch that switchbacks to the right.  If the main road starts to go downhill you missed the junction.  Follow the branch steeply uphill to the trailhead, which is just above the first switchback, about 1km up R-200.
|- align="center"
|- align="center"
|9.0 || || 1000m || Branch || Straight || A new branch road on the left switchbacks and continues north.  Keep on straight ahead south.  This new branch road was built in November 2007.
|9.0 || || 1000m || Branch || Straight || A new branch road on the left switchbacks and continues north.  Keep on straight ahead south.  This new branch road was built in November 2007.

Revision as of 13:03, 26 November 2007

Avalanche Hazard

While this route is much safer than any of the other access routes to the Brew Hut, avalanches can still pose a threat under unstable conditions. The avalanche hazard along this route is similar to the avalanche hazard along the marked route to the Elfin Lakes hut in Garibaldi Park. The route crosses several open south facing rockslides between 1150m and 1300m elevation. These slopes are steep enough to avalanche under the right conditions. Since the slopes are at low elevation and sheltered from the wind, only rare circumstances would create avalanche hazard. The slopes are south facing so they frequently see pinwheeling and small wet loose snow avalanches, but these types of slides are generally not very dangerous here because of the small size of the slopes. The CAA below treeline avalanche hazard rating is applicable to these slopes.

None of the slopes are very large, with a maximum height of about 50m and thus they are not capable of generating avalanches larger than size 2. The first of the slopes at 1150m is difficult to avoid, but the remaining ones can be easily bypassed in the forest on the downhill side.

Route description

This route is presently only suitable for winter travel. Shoulder high blueberry bushes, devils club, bogs, alder, and a small lake are some of the additional obstacles that will be encountered in summer. For GPS waypoints see the brew waypoints page.


Chance Creek FSR and Roe Creek FSR are used for access to snowcat skiing in winter. This means that you may not have to break trail on these roads, and skiing down the roads is a lot easier too if the snow conditions are poor. The snowcat compaction also makes it possible to skate the short uphill sections below the Roe Creek bridge when coming down from the hut. Expect to see some snowcat and/or snowmobile traffic on the main road, but not on the R200 branch. So far the drivers have all proven to be quite courteous.

Note that the snowcats do not go up the first part of the Roe Creek Mainline, but go up another road and the rejoin the mainline at the spur with the the yellow gate. Also, they may or may not be going up Roe Creek at any particular time, so don't rely on following the snowcat tracks to navigate the road system to Roe Creek.

UTM and elevations given in the table below are zone 10U and based on the WGS84 Datum. All distances are from highway 99. Eventually all junctions will be marked with orange trail marker diamonds to indicate which branch goes to the brew lake. Presently, the only junction that has such a marker is the start of the R200 branch where is leaves the roe creek mainline.

Km UTM Elevation Type Direction Description
0.0 Turn off from highway 99 Left Turn off from Highway 99 onto Chance Creek FSR about 1km south of the Garibaldi Lake (aka. Black Tusk / Rubble Creek) road. There is a big left hand turn bay on the highway that is hard to miss. Cross the Cheakamus river and the railway tracks, then head left and up a hill past Lake Lucille.
1.6 430m Switchback / Junction Left At the base area for the cat skiing operation is a big switchback, go left. The road is plowed to this point mid winter, so start skiing here if it's snowed in beyond this point.
2.3 500m Spur Road Left minor spur on the right goes to Freeman Lake
2.6 Spur Road Left minor spur on the right goes to ????
3.0 580m Roe Creek FSR / Chance Creek FSR Junction Right The Roe Creek FSR / Chance Creek FSR Junction is just past the top of a fairly long hill. Take the right fork. Chance Creek FSR starts going downhill and turns west after this junction. There are a new set of km markers for the Roe Creek road that start at the junction.
3.1 580m Spur Left keep left on the main road, which is more or less level. A minor spur goes up a hill straight ahead.
3.5 Spur Straight Minor spurs on both sides. The one on the right has a big yellow gate. Stay on the main road straight ahead continuing uphill.
3.6 Spur Right branch road on the left. Keep right up the hill.
4.0 Spur Left / straight ahead minor spur road to the right to access a clearcut. Keep on straight ahead.
4.5 Branch R500 Right Take the lower right fork. This one is likely to cause some confusion since the left fork is newer and in better condition than the mainline. The main road goes right and down a small hill and then starts climbing again after a couple hundred meters.
5.2 Spur Left minor spur road on the right at the top of a hill to service a clearcut. The main road bears gently left and down hill.
5.7 Spur - Roe Creek west side Right Spur road on the left goes to clearcuts on the west side of Roe Creek. Continue right and downhill to the bridge over Roe Creek.
6.0 700m Bridge over Roe Creek
6.1 700m Branch R100 Left Take the left fork up roe creek. The right fork is R-100 and it ends after only 500m. Shallow water bars start at the top of the first hill which may hinder the progress of low clearance vehicles. Most low clearance cars will have difficulty here and a little scraping can probably be expected if you want to get by. Should be no problem for 2wd pickups. There is lots of parking space at the junction
6.7 log sort straight continue straight through a muddy log sort
6.9 straight In the past, waterbars started here.
8.3 485303E 5539815N 900m R200 branch Right take the branch that switchbacks to the right. If the main road starts to go downhill you missed the junction. Follow the branch steeply uphill to the trailhead, which is just above the first switchback, about 1km up R-200.
9.0 1000m Branch Straight A new branch road on the left switchbacks and continues north. Keep on straight ahead south. This new branch road was built in November 2007.
9.2 486050E 5539444N 1040m Switchback Left
9.3 486038E 5539473N 1040m Trailhead Right The trailhead is on the right hand side and is marked with a couple of orange diamonds. To get up the steep bank above the road, go about 20m past the markers to where it's less steep and the cut back to the first trail marker. It is about 3.6km to Brew Lake and 5.6km to the Brew Hut from here.


Km UTM Elevation Description Directions
0.0 486038E 5539473N 1050m Trailhead Climb gradually while traversing right to reach the corner of the clearcut
486147E 5539420N 1050m enter old growth forest Continue traversing right, up a short hill and cross a stream.
486706E 5539497N 1100m base of first rock bluff A rising traverse to the right, staying below the bluffs leads to an open bowl with more rock bluffs on the left side
486858E 5539523N 1150m open bowl Climb up the bottom of the bowl, keeping to the left of center. Markers are a bit sparse here due to lack of trees to hang them on.
486932E 5539637N 1200m top of the bowl the marked route crosses a tiny lake and heads north through the forest
1200m second rock bluff Traverse along the bottom
487075E 5540310N 1250m third rock bluff Traverse along the bottom
487065E 5540459N 1250m talus slope start a steep climb up and right of the talus slope, and continue right across a smaller talus slope. Back in the forest again is another short steep climb followed by a traverse to reach the start of a meadow system.
487076E 5540751N 1310m Start of Meadow System Follow the meadows north
3.6 486851E 5541748N 1430m Brew Lake Head WNW (300 degrees) for about 1km
0486165E 5542366N 15??m Small Lake above Brew Lake Head N (0 degrees) and ascend to a col which is just west of the Brew Hut
5.6 486404E 5542900N 1686m Brew Hut

Trail Building

Winter/Spring to do list

  • Consider repositioning 1 or 2 markers just below Brew Lake that cross back and forth across the stream. A single crossing point is probably better, especially for the time of the year when the stream is not totally buried.
  • Nov25-26 2006 trip found a couple spots where wet ground conditions resulted in big holes in the snow.
    1. Right above the trailhead - not sure what to do here since there's a lot of seeping water in the ground. Maybe realign the trail along the old roadbed lower down, but this would be a lot of slide alder to hack apart and it would probably grow back quickly. The water in the ground undermined the snow here in March 2007 and caused much of the snow pack to collapse.
    2. muddy pond with the single log across it - cut trees around right side of pond. (complete September 2007)
    3. re-entering forest after first slide alder patch - not sure what to do here either, this one isn't as bad as the other two and it's easy enough to go around (fixed September 2007 by putting logs over the wet spot)
    4. By late winter all these holes filled in and were not a problem.
  • Move trail markers to align with new bridge over the first creek. A trail has been cleared through here (September 2007) but the markers need to be moved downhill from the old alignment to the new one.

Summer to do list

  • Remove the remaining large diameter blowdowns that span the trail. These are all located on the steeper hill before the bridge, and the hill just above the bridge. All the large diameter blowdowns higher up on the trail have been cleared except for one huge one (uprooted tree 1m diameter) that the trail detours around.
  • Regrade a small bump near the very start of the trail that doesn't hold snow very well? Perhaps this is not necessary.
  • Consider putting a small bridge over the creek between the 3rd and 4th talus slopes (just before the huge uprooted tree). This would be a small, easy to build bridges made by simply placing a few logs across the stream.
  • Mark road junctions with orange trail marker diamonds. The R200 junction is already done.
  • Cut back all stumps to ground level. (There are many stumps up to 12 or 18 inches high that could be removed.

How to help out

Periodic workhikes will be posted on the Trip Agenda and Workhikes pages on the wiki. To find out about other ways to help out with the trail, contact Scott Nelson


Previous Roe Creek Adventure

May 1999 Roland Burton, Scott Nelson, Andre Zimmerman, Andre Zimmerman's mom.

Roland's Version

Lifted without permission from VOC bulletin board

After crossing Roe Cr we continued up the main line a ways then took a severely overgrown fork which heads back east a ways. Once into the trees, the veg thins out a bit, and we get into some bluffy country, not real steep, more like steps. Eventually you come out on the ridge to the South of Brew Lake, follow it to the end (West), then swing across to the ridge which the Hut is on

Scott's Version

Bushwacked up large clearcut on east side of roe creek, a couple km upstream from the bridge over roe creek. Road (branch R-200) was heinously overgrown with alder, thrashing through clearcut was not so bad. Old growth forest beyond still held snow (no idea about bushes) and was fairly steep. At the ridgetop, we encountered steps in the ridge at first, and then meadows higher up on the west side of the ridge. We dropped down from a col into the basin W of brew Lake, and the continued up the basin to the hut. Coming down from the col here looked like it might be corniced and/or avalanche prone in winter.

Roe Creek Route Exploration Part 1

November 13-14 2004

Matt Brown, Randy McVeigh, Scott Nelson, Roland Burton, Chris Michalak, Richard So, Kevin Murphy and Danielle Hallet bushwhacked in to the hut from Roe Creek.

Top of Bluff #2
Meadows above Brew Lake

There was some new helicopter logging lower down on the ridge running south from Brew Lake. Many small clearcuts are now present on the slopes above the roe creek road. These appear to have been helicopter logged, as there are no roads through them. There is also a new road going south from the bridge. It climbs a few meters and then runs level along the bottom of a few more new clearcuts. The new spur is probably less than 500m long, but we didn't drive to the end.

We hiked from the cars about 600m uphill from the bridge over roe creek at a pullout (end of 2wd road), and up through some clearcuts trending right (due E) to gain the ridge at about 950m elevation. Just above that, some bluffs got us briedly confused. A few climbed up onto the bluffs, and we determined it would be best to pass them on the east side up a small valley with another set of bluffs on the other side. Beyond the bluffs the terrain was very good, with mellow terrain and easy bushwacking (walking) in mature forest. We found a small open bowl that leads up to a system of benches at about 1200m elevation. On the way up, we scrambled up rocks on the left side of the bowl, but there is an easier route traversing into the bowl and following it up. The benches above the bowl led us NE into the creek that drain brew Lake. Some bluffs need to be avoided along here, we went high over the first one then low past the second one, then along the bottom of a talus slope. Smaller trees predominated, so the bushwhacking was more difficult but not bad. There were a few narrow valleys between outcroppings that would have been nice to follow, but they were filled with water (maybe good in winter). Continuing NE beyond the talus slope, we reached the end of the bench and a steeper climb up a ridge. At 1300m, a short traverse to the right led into the start of a meadow system that connected all the way to Brew Lake.

On the way down, Matt and Scott explored some different route options. The first was a prominent notch in the ridge that was passed on the way up at about 1360m. Passing through the notch lead to complicated rocky terrain the was inferior to the ascent route. This route connected back down to the bench between the talus slope and the third bluff through steep forest.

Next, a route around the bottom of the 2nd bluff was attempted. This proved to be a bit difficult, as the open terrain leads one downhill, too far to the east. The terrain was a bit rougher than the route along the top of the bluff, but more exploration is necesary here to find the best route.

We flagged the lower part of out route on the way down, starting just below the open bowl but wandered off the top of the ridge to the west. The flagged route is quite good at the bottom and top, but needs to be reflagged in the middle section. This would best be done when travelling uphill, because the ridge is easier to follow when travelling uphill. The flagged route starts at the top of one of the clearcuts (GPS location marked, will be posted here) and then goes up a narrow valley between two rock outcroppings. After that, the route diverts incorrectly to the west, when it should simply follow the ridge crest due North. The flagged route terminates at the bottom of a rock outcropping below the open bowl. The open bowl is the the climbers right (ESE) from the end of the flagging

Waypoints now available on the Brew waypoints page.

Meeting with Terminal Forest Products

December 17, 2004

The foresters from Terminal Forest Products were glad to meet with us to talk about our trail building aspirations. They are logging in Roe Creek only, and not in Brew Creek were the existing summer trail is. That logging is being done by Western Forest Products. They provided us with 1:10,000 and 1:5000 maps showing all the existing and future roads in roe creek, and indicated where their future logging will be. These maps are for VOC use only, and should not be distributed to others.

Also, they said that branch R-200 (the completely overgrown road from the 1999 adventure) was reactivated a few years ago, so it is no longer choked with alder. This road may provide the best access to the Brew Hut area, because it climbs to about 1200m on the east side of roe creek, and skiing up roads is easy work. A new branch will be extended north from this road in the near future for logging.

Roe Creek Route Exploration Part 2

February 5-6 2005

JP, Karine, Richard, Maciek, Doris, Soren, Scott and Sandra hiked/skied/snowshoed the Brew hut following a similar line to the November 13-14th route. See the Brew waypoints for more detailed information. We started at the first switchback on branch R200 at 1050m, bashed through the clearcut and then traversed east through mature forest to join the previous route at 1150m at the top of the old flagging. From here, we went up the bowl, across a small frozen lake (caution, there are many of these) and traversed the bench crossing below the 2 sets up bluffs. At the talus slope, we climbed part way up it (horrible with hardly any snow on the rocks) and then traversed north on some friendlier terrain to reach the start of the meadows at the same point as on the previous trip. Part of the route was flagged on the way up, and the rest was flagged on the way down, and we made some corrections on the way down as well. We used yellow flagging tape from Canadian Tire, the remains of which were left in the clubroom for future use. The start of the trail (the bottom) is about 30m above the first switchback on R200. We put the start of the trail here to avoid a patch of really horrible alder lower down.

The trail is flagged well enough to allow a party unfamiliar with the route to follow it, with the following difficulties:

  • The section between 1150m and 1200m goes up an open basin with no proper trees in it. We resorted to tying some flags onto the slide alder. A significant snowfall could bury these flags completely. This section also had lots of devils club, which isn't a problem in winter, but it could be nasty in summer.
  • Some of the sections could be very boggy or swampy, which is not a problem in winter but can be in other seasons. Further recon this summer will reveal more.
  • The snowpack was definately less than average (only 1.6m at brew lake, nearly no snow in dense forest at 1300m) so some flags could be buried with a deeper snowpack. This would likely be most problematic higher up near brew lake, since the lower parts of the trail probably don't get enough snow in a normal year to bury the flags, most of which are a least 1.5m off the ground.
  • Some parts of the trail had only young conifers, and the flags could be easily obscured if the trees were covered by snow. We did our best to make the flags as visible as possible. A longer term solution will involve strategically removing branches from trees to make the markers more visible.
  • Flagging ends at Brew Lake, so some navigation is required to get to the Brew Hut, if that is your destination.

Roe Creek Route Exploration Part 3

April 9th, 2005

Karine, Sandra, Chee and Scott skied up to Brew. We drove to 900m elevation up roe creek FSR, with snow packed down by the snowcat operation, almost making it to the fork for branch 200.

We skied the new route all the way to micro Brew, which was great now that there is actually some snow on the ground. We made corrections and additions to the flagging along the way, and we reached microbrew at 12:30 after 4 hours at a moderate pace were we had lunch.

There was about 60cm of snow around microbrew, and we removed some of it to speed up the spring melting process. Karine found some gravel and took a sample to see if it was appropriate for use in a concrete mixture.

Then we headed down to the lake, which was ok skiing but not great, and out down the trail. We avoided skiing down the worst forested parts of the trail by traversing right and descending a talus slope and picking up the trail again at the bottom. We had no problems netgotiating the flatter sections without skins, and the rocky open bowl at 1150m actually made for a few turns.

Overall, I was quite impressed with how the route skied. Bushes and alder were not am issue, but there were many small trees that should be removed from the route to make for easier skiing, especially in early season conditions. Also, low down branches of larger trees were sometimes problematic, and this summer will probably include a workhike to go in and remove them.

Site visit with George Mulder of Terminal Forest Products

April 22nd, 2005

  • terminal forest logs mostly cedar and cypress, so they have favoured these species in their replanting of the cutblock.
  • they don't care for alder at all. hemlock and douglas fir aren't very valuable either. We have freedom to remove these trees if desireable.
  • young trees can be pruned, but not the top 1/3rd of the tree. They won't be happy if we overprune the young cedar trees in the cutblock.
  • pruning of branches is best done in the fall or winter (when there is less sap flowing) to reduce damage to the trees. I think he is mainly concerned with us pruning the young trees in the clearcut, and not prunning the lower branches off larger trees.
  • In the mature forest, we can do away with any trees smaller than about 6inches diameter as we see fit, regardless of species. Cutting down larger hemlock or douglass fir would be ok too.
  • most wood along the trail is crap, especially higher up, and is not really worth logging unless pulp prices skyrocket
  • there is one moderately attractive stand of cypress, cedar and amebelis fir where the route goes from the clearcut to the forest. The stand is on the downhill side only. If this stand were to be logged, a road extension would be put in more or less along the route of the trail for the first 300m or so. George says that logging this stand is possible in the future under the right market conditions, but likely will not happen anytime soon.
  • George suggested we cut a trail along the alder choked road the extends from the switchback on R200, instead of paralleling it higher up (as flagged). This would affect trees in the clearcut less, but might require a greater long term maintenance effort, as the alder will likely regrow more quickly here than in the cleaarcut above. However, if this old road is reactivated and extended then the new road would become the ski route.

Trail clearing

June 4th, 2005

Tim Blair and Scott Nelson removed much of the deadfall, slide alder and small trees from the route, relocating flags as necesary. There is still some more work to do, mainly clearing slide alder. The route is not a good choice for summer access to Brew Hut, due to very tall (up to Tim's eye level) blueberry bushes in the clearcut at the start. We were able to drive to all the way to the trailhead on R200 at 1050m.

June 11th, 2005

Removed the remaining slide alder on the way to Brew Hut for foundation work.

Scott Nelson 15:06, 6 Jun 2005 (MST)

Permanent Markers

March 18-19, 2006

Scott Nelson, Kerstin Bleitgen, Sebastian Oppel, Rueben Schulz, Christian Veenstra, Evan Morris, Tim Blair, Marko Marjanovic, Marc Rautenhaus, Sasha Podolak, Greta Raymant, Angela Code, Yuri Bylinskii and Artem Bylinskii

With a solid spring snowpack (2m at the trailhead) permanent orange diamond markers were placed up high on the trees where they should remain visible all year. Most of the yellow flagging tape was completely burried on the upper section of the route; only a few ribbons were still visible in the bottom of tree wells. Thanks to everyone who volunteered for this project: Rueben, Christian, Greta, Tim, Aiden, Sebastien, Kerstin, Yuri, Artem, Marko, Marc and Evan. We finished nearly all of the work on Saturday, so Sunday was for skiing the nice powder, climbing mount brew and suntanning in the beautiful weather.

The markers were supplied by Astrographic Industries: Licence plate aluminum with high intensity orange finish. Small marker size 3"x3". Large marker size 4"x4" with a 90 degree fold across one corner, from the center of one side to the center of an adjacent side. We ordered 100 large and 200 small, and received 108 large and 208 small. We used 66 of the large markers and about 120 of the small ones to mark 3.5km of the route. A few more markers may need to be added to make the route easier to follow with a less deep snowpack.

We used aluminum nails at the request of the government and Terminal Forest Products, because they can be cut through safely with a chainsaw if the trees are ever harvested. The aluminum nails were hard to find in Vancouver, but Dunbar lumber had them in stock for $45/kg for 1 inch nails. These nails are meant for nailing gutters onto houses, but they worked fine. I bought 300g, which should be about 600 nails. We used less than half of these nails as bending the soft nails wasn't as big a problem as anticipated. The painted white heads look a little funny though. The markers had to be pre-drilled to accept the nails without any trouble. The pre-drilled holes are slightly smaller than the nails so they are a tight fit, but at least they are easy to get started.

Application for trail permit to the MTSA

It turns out that the forest practices code definition of a "route" has been rescinded, so now we need to apply for a proper trail permit before doing anymore clearing or building bridge structures, etc. Please see the Roe Creek Ski Trail Application page to add any comments to the application.

Trail Clearning Oct 14-15, 2006

Scott Nelson, Eva Wingren, Isak Stoddard, Linda Vrbova, Ben Singleton-Polster, Ben Webber, Andrei Pop, Matthew Carroll, Lisa Cashel, Andre Malan, Daniel Berheide, Christian Champagne, Tristan Bennet, Natalie Taha, Andrew Rutgers and Robin Attas.

MTSA gave us the go ahead to brush out the trail, so a big VOC work party of 16 bulldozed the entire length of the trail (excluding conifers larger than 10cm), added markers and cut high branches off of many trees. Hopefully the trail will be an excellent, easy to follow skiing and snowshoeing experience this coming winter.

Tree Trimming Mar 25, 2007

Christian Veenstra, Scott Webster and Scott Nelson trimmed branches from around the markers so they won't be obscured by heavily snow ladden branches, added some new markers and moved some up to higher positions on the same tree. We also realigned the markers through the clearcut along a straighter path and marked some trees with orange flagging tape for later removal once the snow melts. In all we added about 20 large markers and perhaps 15-20 small ones to the route. We thought we had all the remaining markers from last year, but there were only about 20 of the large ones and we used them all.

Call with Tim Hoskin July 13th, 2007

  • We have conditional authorization from MTSA to proceed with the proposal.
    • Can do anything except cut live conifers > 6" in diameter
    • No protection of the trail until full authorization is approved.
  • Trail should get full approval from the minister in fall 2007. All unauthorized trails in the Squamish Forest District will be done at once in one package.

September 8-9, 2007 trail work

  • Cut standing trees marked with red tape. These were all either less than 6" or already dead.
  • Cleared several of the larger logs across the trail
  • Built bridge over the first creek by adding some more logs to an existing natural log bridge. Nailed some cross pieces down to the stringers so skis can't fall through the bridge.
  • Layed down a few logs and branches over known troublesome wet areas.

Land Use Considerations

Snowcat Skiing

Powder mountain catskiing had their tenure extended by LWBC to include much of roe creek, including slopes on the east side of the creek that are very close to brew hut. These slopes were not included in their previous 1 year exploratory tenure, but were added when the final tenure was approved in May 2004. PMCS seems to be willing to carefully manage use of the area for both user groups, but there have yet to be any conflicts to test how they will actually act.


Commerical logging in Roe Creek is being carried out by Terminal Forest Products. The contact person for the VOC is Scott Nelson.


Alberto Corso of Powder Mountain Catskiing also says that there will be a new mill built by Huckleberry Stone Supply in the near future about 1km uphill from the catskiing base at km1.5 of chance creek FSR. PMC's tenure indicates that they will be using a new road constructed by the mining company to access roe creek, and then the existing road higher up. This new road may offer a more direct access to the upper part of Roe Creek FSR, especially if the road is plowed in winter for vehicle access to the mill.