Well, Saturday was a good day; a good day indeed. Alena, Irena, Mark, and I arrived near the trailhead at about 9:00am, I believe. The Branch 200 FSR is pretty decent for the most part. After the 7.0km mark, 400m after the you've crossed the bridge over High Falls Creek, you'll go left. 2.4km after taking the left, the road becomes pretty rough. I pushed my Suzuki XL7 up it for a while, but lost a U-Bolt for my exhaust pipe in the process; just walk up the last 1.1km.
If you do this hike anytime soon, you'll likely be hiking in the snow after about 400m from the trailhead. We had lost the trail pretty early. Matt Gunn had noted in his book Scrambles in Southwestern British Columbia to stay East of the major creek that is flowing. It's a huge handrail, if you stay near it you'll likely remain on the trail. Our group decided to just start heading in a Northerly direction, and gain elevation. It seemed quicker, but the downside was crappy microterrain; deadfall, creekcrossings, etc.. We encountered very little of the infamous mud that many tell others to be wary of.
The first lake is still under snow. It was great sight to see such a huge open sky, and beautiful snow slopes leading up the final summit of Tricouni. The snow conditions were fantastic; great for kick/plunge stepping, and glissading; definitely bring an ice axe.
The route chosen by our group was to skirt East of a headwall, which was East of a major waterfall, and from there go NorthEast for a notch between two patches of bare rock; the notch was East of a major false summit. At the point of the final summit ridge, we re-joined Matt Gunn's route; that's the skyline ridge as described by him.
The snowfields leading up to this point were steep, but I was quite happy with how relaxed I felt on them. I had a few flashbacks to my time on Mt. MacFarlane, but this time there was no real hesitation. The scrambling section was fun. There definitely are many routes to the top; just a pick a good one! The rock was a bit loose in some areas, but hey it's a scramble. At the top, the views... were utterly SUPERLATIVE! Why BC is a haven for Nature lovin' freaks came back quite lucidly as I surveyed the 360 degree vista. Even with recent mountain hikes, they don't compare to a summit during a Blue Bird Sky day.
I don't how long our group remained at the top, but it was fantastic. I didn't really want to go back down. The glissading was superb. I took full advantage of it; feet first, head first, running start I tried it all, and LOVED IT! Also, a big thanks to Mark for his ingenuity and sharp eyes. Give that man a pair of spare boot laces, some chewed up ATV accessory belt, and a loose exhaust pipe, that's all he needs to become Macgyver.
I am truly thankful that I have the wherewithal to conceptualize plans to be in places like this, let alone actually be there. People of BC, we're blessed. It is my intent to get as many people outside. If we're to care for this planet, let's first know what it is we are trying protect. Join Wanderung, and then join a callout. Get out there, and ugly up some of your gear.