Stawamus Chief Triple SummitOver two days in early May of 2012, I climbed the trail/scramble to each of the triple summits that make the Stawamus Chief (“The Chief”). It was my first mountain experience in British Columbia since I had decided to move from Toronto to BC to become a mountaineer. Although after being in the Northern Rockies, The Chief is pretty tame in terms of weather and objective risk.
I climbed to the top of summit one with two of my good buddies, Zach and James, over the course of about three-four hours. This was after we had already spent the morning doing some technical climbing at Burgers and Fries in the town of Squamish proper. The previous three days had been driving the 4500km from Toronto, sitting perfectly still for up to eighteen hours a day is definitely not the best way to warm up your muscles for a big hike. Needless to say the hike was exhausting but nothing anyone of average fitness could handle it. At the summit of The Chief a fall could pretty much be the end if you are unlucky enough to lose your footing.
A few days later, I returned to climb solo the remaining two higher summits of The Chief. This was one of the first times I had down anything solo in the mountains of British Columbia, I was deathly afraid of bears and mountain lions (I would later find out the most bears are probably still hibernating). I end up shouting to myself for most of the hike, probably to the amusement of anyone in ear shoot. Unfortunately, the day was heavily overcast and I was unable to see anything from either of the summits. The trails themselves were well groomed, although the summit approach to the second was a little sketchy due to the slick rock and the down scramble for the third summit still needed post-winter grooming. It would have been nightmarish if I wouldn’t have had good mountaineering boots on.
Overall, The Chief trail was a “fun for the family” type of hike. The trail is well marked, there are lots of people and you are never too far for civilization. If you were to set off early and in good physical fitness there is no reason why someone couldn’t do all three summits in a day. Of course, this is weather permitting I wouldn’t want to be on any one of the summits, especially number one, during sever weather. If you are in Vancouver, head to The Chief it will offer you everything that a climber could ever want from multi-pitch trad climbs to groomed trail hikes.