Got to the top of West Lion from HWY 99 after a late morning start. Ended up off route on the summit block both climbing and descending, but jugs on the route allowed for relatively easy hand holds. Good amount of exposure
I had a business meeting in Vancouver. So I looked up good hikes near Vancouver. There were so many to choose from, but I ended up picking the West Lion. Good combination of hiking and some exposed scrambling, but not too technical since I had to do the hike alone.
I started early, 530 am, so I could make an afternoon meting. The first hour was so dark that I could hardly see even though I was on the logging road. I had to use my phone to see the trail. After the sun came up, I kept catching snatches of Howe Sound to my right. The sun was just coming up and reddened the foggy mist shrouding Boyer and Bowen islands.
The bit of trail from the Harvey Creek Bridge was the hardest part of the hike. Very steep and every so often being forced to climb over or under a tremendous douglas fir that had fallen across the trail. I had just completed the Grouse Grind the day before and that began looking like a piece of cake.
But the cardiovascular work was rewarded as I came up to the Howe Sound Crest. I finally felt at home with soaring peaks, glaciers, high mountain lakes and the Howe Sound below.
Now the prize was visible. I followed the plentiful markers to the base of the West Lion and traversed the exposed bit to space between the Lions. Then the last section was an exposed scramble to the top. This pitch was exposed, but there are plentiful foot holds and hand holds and with attention there was never a need for ropes or protection.
Since I had started so early, I was on the summit by 830. I felt like I had the whole thing to myself. I ate breakfast, including a few wild blueberries that were near the peak. Took a few photos. I started down about 915.
I had some difficulty with route finding back down the exposed scramble. I went a little too north and found myself coming down in the wrong spot. I scrambled back up and tried again. Still couldn't find the route, so I began to climb around until I finally spotted a marker. From there on back I had no difficulty and made it back to the car at noon.
I picked up a stick to ease the strain of the descent on the joints. It helped out quite a bit.
Wonderful hike. If I make it back to Vancouver, I have my eye on either the East Lion or Black Tusk.
Probably my 5th time up to the top of the West Lion. My preferred route is the Howe Sound Crest trail both ways, and to overnight on the top of Mt Unnecessary. Stunning panoramic view of sunset on the ocean and the sparkling city lights below!
Whent back up and slept on its summit once again, this time alone. Sunset was great but meteor shower ni night was highlight, sunrise was very spectacular aswell, got some nice photos. Climbed East lion in the morning via bush route and continued along Howe Sound Crest trail to Porteau Cove
West Lion is a wicked hike, my first really exposed scramble, returted later in the year and slept on summit, there is a little flat spot right below the peak big enough for a standard 2 person tent. The sunset was one of the nicest I have seen and it was altogether one of my great experiences in the mountains.
7 hrs return with very carefull class 3-4 move near summit.
Been to this area on several occasions at different times of year both via Cypress & Lions Bay. Climbed to the top of the West Lions on a clear July Day.