Grouse Mountain has it all wrong: the real Peak of Vancouver is undoubtedly Crown Mountain. It’s been a long time coming but it was worth the wait: Crown is a spectacular hike/scramble with incredible views all around. It even has a stunning view of my favourite North Shore peak, Goat Mountain.
I knew the descent from Crown Pass was going to be steep but I didn’t expect it to be so muddy and slippery; the roots and chains were very welcome. It was much easier going back up the way and the chains weren't really needed.
Then came the real ascent – and it was steep, but great fun. Despite their reputation, I had no issues traversing the downsloping slabs though I could see that they might be tricky when wet. The route up to the summit is obvious and lines up with Matt Gunn’s description pretty well. It’s funny to think that when he wrote that book, the full price of admission to Grouse was (a whopping) $23 whereas now that is the half-price admission fee! Yikes!
I was expecting to bottle out at some point on this hike as I'm not a fan of exposure. While I didn't get to the very summit - which was continually occupied the time we were there - I found the exposure to be quite manageable and quite enjoyed exploring the summit area for photo ops.
On the descent I took the alternative route around the so-called bull’s-eye rock which I thought was i) longer, ii) still required one or two careful steps and iii) not really any safer than descending off the bull’s eye step.
Everyone knows that the official stats on this hike never take into account the descent into and re-ascent from the pass. Our GPS track showed that we climbed nearly 900 m in total. It was interesting to see that Crown Pass is almost at the same elevation as the Grouse chalet – the descent into Crown Pass wipes out all of the climb from the chalet, but over a much shorter distance.
All in all just another fantastic hike to add to the long list of fantastic hikes. Beauty Peak looks like a fine trip from Crown too. One more to add to the list.