With all my experience near the oceans of the world in the last 8 years, I wanted to start exploring a different type of landscape for my next trip. This obviously takes a lot of different gear, knowledge, and training. My trip up Mt. Seymour was taking my first beginner step in that direction; testing out some gear, some shooting styles, and most importantly my body. I asked a friend that has far more experience in this realm of exploration for a good trip for someone with basic knowledge and gear. If you like hiking and are based out of the Fraser Valley I highly recommend her blog.
The reason we chose Seymour was proximity, skill level, and scenery. A short drive from Vancouver, Mt. Seymour is a much shorter trip than making your way to Whistler or some of the trails near Squamish. The trail head for back country snow shoeing is past Mystery Chairlift at Seymour ski resort and is marked all the way up, you do not need to buy a pass, and parking is free. In the busy season you have to park along the side of the road (Parking lot 5) so the earlier you get there the better. Keep in mind, if you want to stay the night, be sure to leave a note on your vehicle stating the names of people in your group, where you are camping and time of expected return. Be sure that you leave it in a spot that won’t be covered by snow overnight (oops). While I saw some people turning around at some of the steep inclines it is manageable if you are physically fit. While I used micro spikes (they attach to your boots and have metal spikes on the bottom for traction) snow shoes are the most practical gear and can be rented at Mt. Seymour or at MEC.
While we only checked out the “First pump” there are other options for trails that can extend the trip if you so choose. Since it was our first time and we had a late start we headed right for the first peak. There were a few suitable spots for camping, but we wanted somewhere close to the summit that I could travel to and from for pictures, the valley right before the summit seemed perfect for that. While the weather didn’t co-operate over night I cannot complain about the conditions we had, we made it just in time for a beautiful sunset and it stayed clear long enough to watch the moon rise which completely negated our need for any lights while we made dinner and had a few celebratory drinks.
It clouded over quickly at night, so most of my long exposure shots that I had planned when we made it to the site were pointless to attempt. While I tried playing with artificial light for a short while, the clouds were simply too thick for most of the night for me to get anything worthwhile.
I woke up for sunrise the next morning and again there was too many clouds, and some early morning hikers coming down from the summit persuaded me to not bother making one more trip to the top. That suited me just fine. The way down is comparatively much easier, and probably took us half the time as the way up, we saw people sliding down on garbage bags, magic carpets (flexible plastic sleds) or just in snow pants. Since we didn’t prepare for any sledding we managed just fine using our rain pants. Be weary of certain stretches, there was definitely more than one occasion of gaining way too much speed without being able to see what was around the next corner… often it was a tree.
Make sure you check for avalanche warnings and bring lots of water to stay hydrated, other gear lists can be found here.