2009-04-03 49 -123

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Fri 3 Apr 2009 in 49,-123:
49.8419982, -123.3250850

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This point is near the peak of Zenith Mountain in the Tantalus Range paralleling the west of the Squamish River in the north centre of the Vancouver graticule. I researched it as part of a project to quantify the inaccessible horror that is my graticule. This one seemed not too bad, being only 7 km from a published road. I knew the terrain was steep, so for the purpose of my project I estimated it as a three hour hike from the road, if the snow wasn't too bad. That seemed worth it for a geohash that was literally almost on the zenith of Zenith mountain: the day's geohash is at N49°50'31.19", W123°19'30.3" and the ridge connecting this mountain to the next one (not quite the summit) is at N49°50'54.3", W123°18'40.0". I thought, "hey, for a 7 km hike, I might as well go and have a look."

[edit] Planning

The best access road to this seemed to be from a the Squamish Valley Road. It branches off the Squamish highway on the east side of the Squamish River at the Skowishin Graveyard Indian Reserve 10 and crosses the river. I hoped there might be a usable road that ran along the east bank of the river, shortening my hike, but even if there wasn't, there was almost sure to be a trail, making my first four kilometres pretty easy going. I searched online for more information on the mountain. Perhaps there was a trail.

I found a mountaineering website describing an expedition that had gone to Zenith Lake, pretty much the same place. It's awesome, giving GPS coordinates of the access trail and lots of detail. (Linked is the Google cached copy, because the website itself is very hard to access). They reported a gate blocking the access road, and had taken a canoe across the river instead. I could either do that, or take my bike the rest of the way past the locked gate. It's only about an hour bike ride if the road surface isn't too bad.

And then I thought I read the website wrong. This was a three day trip for these guys. And they are experienced mountaineers. And were doing it in summer. You'll note that my seven kilometres is the same as they found. They did start in the afternoon of the first day so perhaps could have done it in two days

[edit] Whining

The scary thing is that this is nowhere near the most difficult spot in the graticule. It's probably around the 50th percentile. There are hundreds of mountains in my graticule, no exaggeration. And it's pretty close to 25% water. If I didn't have an appointment on Saturday morning I might have considered the three day trip for this. Someday I'm going to get one of these mountain jobs. Some day.