For a full breakdown of the journey, I have a short video of the whole trip on my YouTube channel. I encourage you to take a peek 😉
Right, so we’re up to another Friday morning.
Mount Fromme is adjacent to Grouse Mountain which I visited a couple of weeks back. There’s been some serious wildfires in the interior of British Columbia and a smokey haze has descended on the Greater Vancouver area. I wasn’t expecting much of a view, but my fingers were firmly crossed.
The trail up Mount Fromme is a 10 km round trip, that begins at the end of a cul-de-sac in the mountainous suburbia of North Vancouver. You will gain 880 metres of elevation on your way up to the summit, which is open for business from July – October. The estimated total time for the trail is 5 hours.
From the end of St Georges Ave you find a parting in the bush. Follow this through until you emerge at a path under power lines. Take a right until you reach a junction on your left, and follow the trail to the left at the junction.
The trail can be difficult to follow as you’re trying to figure out which way to turn at a number of junctions and trail intersections. For the best directions at the beginning of this trail, visit Vancouver Trails for concise directions to keep you on track. After you get past the first twists and turns and doing your best to stay on course, it becomes as simple as following the orange trail markers at regular intervals to have you going in the right direction.
I started at 8 am again, after failing to catch the early bus for another week in a row. This trail is one of the quieter trails in Vancouver, and that was made abundantly clear as soon as I entered the trees.
Spider webs anyone?!?!
Holy shit. I felt like I’d entered the scene in Lord of the Rings where the Frodo gets tangled up in Shelobs lair.
I immediately had spider webs all over me as I blazed a trail through the morning handiwork of all the spiders in the forest. Most were at perfect eye level so it was an extra treat to have my eye ball covered in sticky threads every 10 paces.
Becoming trapped in spider webs aside, I love a hike where you are insulated from all the noise from the outside world. Seeing as most of my hiking has been in North Vancouver, the ever present drone of the city and highways is never too far away. Mount Fromme was wonderful in its stillness, punctuated by the barking squawk of squirrels and birds chirping.
The insect intensity was at around an 8 out of 10 for most of the journey, reaching around 11 at the summit. I good covering of bug spray might have eased the discomfort levels somewhat, but it wasn’t to be today.
After you have picked up the trail again after crossing the Old Grouse Mountain Highway, it’s fairly simple to keep on track. You can devote a lot of attention to swatting at bugs and wiping away spider webs, as the trail markers are highly visible at regular intervals. The elevation gain is rather gradual for the better portion of the trail, increasing steadily once you near the summit.
The time recommended that you allot for this hike is 5 hours. I made fairly good progress and made it to the top in around an hour and a half. It was nice to throw in some stretches of light jogging when the gradient levelled out. I did almost come to grief as I turned up the speed, with a close encounter with a well fed looking spider, right at face level. Luckily my spidey sense was tingling and stopped just in the nick of time. So after mentally marking the spot of this rendez-vous for the trip back down, the hike continued unimpeded.
The sun on this morning was just incredible. The haze of smoke made for a ball of burning red that made the light falling in the forest just look absolutely surreal. I know this photo won’t do it justice, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.
The last leg is fairly steep, as you scramble up rocks and tree roots. Nothing too outrageous, just enough to get your heart rate back up. The trail levels out after and you emerge out of the trees. I surprised a Grouse bird as I was going along, who gave me a thorough eye-balling from the nearest branches, as I was welcomed to the summit with a new intensity of insect activity.
There were a couple of pockets of snow at the top, with a lot of stagnant water from previous melts. This directly attributed to an explosion in mosquito population and me wildly waving my arms.
As anticipated, the view was mostly obscured by smoke. To the south towards Vancouver was screened by trees and smoke. Looking North towards Kennedy Falls, it wasn’t much clearer. You can only just make out the first couple of peaks in the distance. On a clear day there is the potential to look all the way up to Garibaldi, so a bluebird day up here would be magnificent.
It was difficult to stay long at the summit. The insects were going absolutely bananas, and with the view essentially a white out, it was time to get going. After the steep part near the summit, it’s an absolute calf burner if you’re of the mind to jog back down. With the spider webs all destroyed from the journey up, it was a much more pleasant journey back down.
That’s a wrap
The journey down took roughly an hour, as I jogged for the better portion of the return. This put total time on the trail at around 3 and a half hours. I must admit, I was absolutely gassed by the time I made it back to the bus stop, and promptly devoured my homemade chicken wrap in three bites. I put a little of this fatigue down to an enormous flying insect that was curious to see if he would fit inside my ear for about 10 minutes of the trail. I tried to outrun him, which almost saw me with a broken ankle as I was careening down some loose rocks.
Getting to the trail proper can be a little bit difficult with some of the junctions at the beginning, and having the trail description from Vancouver Trails on hand is extremely helpful. The terrain is considered intermediate and below is what you can expect for the majority of the trail.
I hope you all enjoyed the latest instalment of Friday Hikes in Vancouver! As this is published, I wasn’t able to get up the mountains the weekend just gone, but stay tuned as I get the chance for some (hopefully) smoke free adventures this coming Friday.
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Happy hiking everyone.