February 13, 2017
North Shore Mountains, BC
With another high pressure system arriving towards this Family Day long weekend (but not the following week) I tried really hard to swap things around to free myself on Monday, and that allowed me to plan a full-day objective. However, this time the blue skies arrived with some warm air and the freezing level was shooting up to 3000 m in the alpine. Deep in the Coast Mountains the trail-breaking was reported to be brutal so technically I didn’t have too much room to choose objectives. Eventually I figured it might actually be a good time to tick off a local combo that had been on my list for a while. Like many peaks in the North Shore, the Lynn – Needles traverse is best done in winter when snow covers most, if not all of the bush. The trade-off is some steep snow up to 50 degrees but that’s pretty standard for what I’ve been doing. Vlad joined me at the last minute and we were good to go.
I’m not really much of a biker so the most natural way to tag these peaks is a direct traverse along the ridgeline, in and out. That adds considerable amount of elevation loss and regain but still beats walking 20 km along the Seymour Pipeline Road. Regarding the first objective, namely Lynn Peak, there’s some confusion as where the summit actually locates. To safely say I’d summitted this peak my reference is bivouac.com which shows the highest bump just south of Hydraulic Creek as the true summit. To get there we’d traverse up and over all the previous bumps anyway.
This was my first time ever turning off Highway 1 at Lynn Valley Road and I have to comment that it’s a very direct approach to get into Lynn Headwaters Park. The final stretch of this road was closed for vehicle traffics unfortunately so we parked at Evelyn Street. Vlad was very familiar with this place and judging by where we parked he thought it’s better to take the Upper Lynn Loop, but to get there our first business was to cross the suspension bridge over Lynn Canyon. I did not have much idea at all so just followed. The entire stretch of this section was covered by a sheet of ice and adding to the slight incline it’s quite an interesting work-out. After quite a while we branched off following the Lynn Ridge trail into the forest and the condition became bone dry shortly after.
I was not impressed by the quality of this Lynn Ridge trail as it’s very eroded and rocky at places and it almost felt like grunting up a boulder field. But the dry ground did help to make quick work and we got onto the ridge proper in no time. At elevation just under 700 m we encountered patchy snow and the snow soon became continuous. The trail was however, very packed down and at the same time, not very icy so no traction device was needed. The same condition lasted until the “lookout” which is also the “Lynn Peak” labelled on some sources. This lookout indeed provides some good views down at Lower Mainland but we didn’t linger any longer than necessary for obvious reasons.
Upwards and onwards the massive bootpack track stopped abruptly. It seemed like only a lone snowshoeer had gone any further and after post-holing for a short while we also decided to don snowshoes for more flotation. We followed his/her tracks up the next bump “South Lynn Peak” without any problem. There’s no view whatsoever from this heavily vegetated summit so we immediately turned our attention to the “true summit”. A somewhat steep drop followed by more undulating traverse over a few more bumps saw us arriving at the true summit. It’s slightly less vegetated than the south peak but not much better.
By far the best view was actually from the first lookout and there’s no wonder why everybody stopped there. That’s also the end of the official “Lynn Ridge Trail”. Beyond the trail was still marked by flaggings but I don’t think it’s regularly maintained. The true summit of Lynn Peak is nothing glorious by any mean and should not be bothered except for the peak-baggers. For Vlad and myself we still had a long ways to go so and our next objective – The Needles.