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Coliseum Mountain

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Coliseum is one of the peaks visible from Metro Vancouver, it sits on the North Shore between Seymour and Grouse mountains, a little further back behind Lynn Peak. With our three kids we made an attempt to summit it on a hot summer Sunday of June 25, 2017. However, due to an extraordinary amount of snow in the mountains it was still winter up there. We came close to the summit, within 200 meters, but we had to turn back because we ran out of time.

We started the hike at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve at 7 a.m.

After two kilometers the trail brings us to Lynn Headwaters Regional Park’s trailhead where we register as hikers.

The trail then follows Lynn Creek. There are remnants of the old mill equipment on the way.

Some flowers.

Bridges over small streams.

After four kilometers from the trailhead the trail moves away from the creek and starts gaining elevation at a gentle incline.

Trail quality gradually deteriorates, bridges disappear.

At the end of the main trail there are Norvan Falls, and most people turn around here.

A short rest.

The trail becomes steep, rugged, and officially still closed for the winter due to snow above.

Time to change from sneakers into mountaineering boots.

More creekbed crossings on the way.

Snow patches start at 750m elevation making our travel considerably slower right away.

Trail surface disappears under easily collapsing thin snow bridges.

It is difficult to follow proper trail as markings are hard to find.

Avalanche field between Coliseum and Needles.

More creek crossings. Water level is low enough to easily cross by stepping on rocks.

The trail is hard to see, but it’s there.

We put on crampons to negotiate the steep snow covered ridge.

Some scrambling sections. We have to take off ice crampons.

Summit is within sight, but we are out of time.

This is how close we got to the summit of Coliseum – it was only 200 meters away, but were past our turnaround time and had to hurry back to make it to the car and out of the park before the gate closed at 9 p.m.

Our boys are heroes!

On the way back down.

Filling up the filter bottle.

Steep slopes covered with hard snow.

Usually, descent would be 1.5-2 times faster than ascent, but not on this steep and rugged trail lavishly covered with tree fall, debris, creeks and collapsing snow bridges.

Crossing the creeks on the way back became much harder due to higher water level from melting snow in the afternoon.

We were back at the car by 9 p.m. tired after 14 hours of hiking. Lesson learned – wait for the snow to melt if you want to achieve the summit and enjoy the hike. The best time to do this hike is in August or September, or at least when the trail is officially open for the summer hiking season.

We did Crown mountain hike a year ago with a normal 8-9 hours turnaround time, including at least half an hour on the summit, which led us to believe that we could do Coliseum hike within 8-9 return time, as it is considered less technical than Crown mountain. Winter conditions made Coliseum more challenging than Crown mountain trail.

We will certainly come back another time, when the snow melts, to bag both Coliseum and Mount Burwell peaks.

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