I’d like to share another one of my favourite books to for planning and getting excited for climbing (and bagging) Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains; The Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore.
If you live near Vancouver and like hiking, you will really enjoy this book. It is colourful, full of maps and photos and an absolute pleasure to read. I use it to find out about the myriad of possible routes, and for getting an idea about how difficult trails will be. The book includes all the super-famous peaks as well as quite a few that are virtually unknown. The authors have bagged every peak on the North Shore, so they know their way around the area!!
Please note, this book was a birthday present from my brother (thanks George!) And I’m not sponsored in any way. I’m just sharing my opinions because I have really enjoyed using this resource to plan our adventures, and to learn about the history of the area. If you’d like to see what I mean about how gorgeous they are, I wrote an introduction to Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains in my previous post.
The Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore – the basics:
Authors: David Crerar, Harry Crerar and Bill Maurer.
Where to buy it: I had heard about this book for a while, but I’ve not seen it in many shops – just in the shop in MOA (Museum of Anthropology) at UBC and up in the gift shop on top of Grouse Mountain. You can find the list of shops that stock it here, or just buy it online.
Publisher: Rocky Mountain Books, who are committed to protecting old growth forest, so you don’t have to worry about the destruction of the landscape we all love for the production of this guide.
I find the maps in the Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore really helpful for giving you a good idea of the layout of the mountains and how they connect to each other. They do show the contour lines and possible routes (although the authors must be hiking super stars, I don’t think I could ever link so many peaks in a single day!) However I normally need additional maps when I come to actually plan routes. I normally use North Shore Trail Map by Trail Ventures BC along with All Trails.
Information about each peak
The book contains seven sections which divide up and describe a total of 67 peaks. The book lists detailed information so you can decide if you should attempt each peak;
- Elevation gain
- How long it’ll take (they are pretty speedy, so be aware you may need far more time)
- How tough it is/ Is it worth the effort
- Can you bring dogs (or kids!)
- Public transit friendly?
- What’s the mobile phone/cell coverage like?
- Is there shade/water sources
One of the reasons I really enjoy the descriptions is that in addition to telling you about how to bag each mountain, it gives a whole lot of extra information. You can learn about how each mountain got its name, read about the first recorded ascents and even find out about things like hidden whiskey caches to reward your travels!
I have to admit, I didn’t know this was an official thing! Peak bagging is where hikers and climbers try to reach a collection of summits in one geographical area. It turns out every summer people compete to see who can bag the most North Shore peaks. The Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore is a fantastic guide for Peak Baggers. It groups the mountains together to show routes where you can visit several peaks in a single day. It also has lists of the Peak Bagger champions as well as completists (the people who managed to climb all of the mountains on Vancouver’s North Shore.)
Other helpful information
There are really helpful safety tips at the start of the book. In addition to this, there are further warnings around the tougher areas. After reading the section about Haynes Valley, I am totally convinced that we should only visit in the summer time, in perfect conditions (carrying the 10 essentials.) and leaving a comprehensive hike-plan with friends!
I love that the book includes information about the most amazing old growth trees so you can visit them. If you’re interested, take a peek at the BC Tree Hunter blog, which has even more details.
Whiskey and Geocaches:
I had no idea that some of the mountains have hidden whiskey, geocaches as well as books to record who has visited. We’ll do our best to search for some of these this year. I won’t be sharing the locations though, as I don’t want to spoil the fun!
Animals, berries and mushrooms:
The book even describes the local flora and fauna, so you can learn how to forage in the local mountains. You’d need to do further reading though, as the book doesn’t include many photos of these.
You can find a list of the best ‘peak bagging poems’ and even some full poems published in the apendix.
There is so much more that I didn’t even mention; Climbing terminology, history of local climbing clubs, details about geology, suggestions for further reading, advice on hiking etiquette. It’s a very thorough book!
How Advanced is it?
It is worth mentioning that The Glorious Mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore is a pretty advanced in some parts. It won’t spoon feed you and expect that everyone that reads the book will be able to climb every mountain. On the contrary, at some points the authors make it very clear that the hikes they are describing can be quite dangerous.
For example, Unnecessary Mountain is listed as ‘experienced beginner,’ compared to its listing as ‘challenging’ in the 105 hikes book. The mountains that I found toughest last year, Mount Burwell, Crown Mountain and Mount Elsay are all described as ‘intermediate’ level in this book. We haven’t attempted any of the mountains listed as ‘advanced’ or ‘experienced’ yet! I imagine they’ll be really tough. I will keep hiking until I’m strong enough and have enough experience to give them a go. We have to ensure we come back safely from each adventure to feed Monty after all.
Still, even if like me, you are just getting started exploring the glorious mountains near Vancouver, I am sure you will love this book. Or, if you have a friend who lives in the area, this would make a fabulous Christmas or birthday present.
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