Hiking, scrambling, rock climbing, alpine skiing, rafting, cliff jumping & many more
Hike Stats: return distance 10 km, elevation gain 700 m, starting elevation 1300 m, total time 5 hours 50 minutes (including 1 hour break at the summit)
Metal Dome with an elevation of 2002 m is the highest bump on the South East ridge of the Brandywine mountain, elevation 2,213 m, located about 25 km west of the Whistler resort. Metal Dome is located 2 km east of the Brandywine mountain summit, which we bagged in late October 2018.
Impressed by the scenic panoramic views of Mount Fee, Mount Garibaldi, Black Tusk, Tantalus range etc. from the Brandywine mountain, we decided to revisit this area for more amazing alpine views and bag Metal Dome.
There are two approaches to Metal Dome, one from Brandywine forest service road, the other from Callaghan valley. We picked Brandywine FRS approach, because it was familiar to us after the Brandywine summit hike. This approach was also shown on a recent video trip report from a month ago and it did not look difficult. I felt that it should be easy to find a path to the Metal Dome ridge through the forest, following glades or tracks of previous hikers. Someone hiked to the Metal Dome from the Brandywine Valley, but we thought this might lead us to some really steep terrain, where we would need an ice axe, which would be an unnecessary complication. We did not bring our kids along, because we expected some path finding challenges and bushwhacking in the steep forest.
On a sunny day of June 29, 2020, my husband and I got up at 5 a.m., drove the Brandywine mountain area, and started hiking at 9:00 a.m. The Brandywine FSR was in much rougher shape, than we remembered from 1.5 years ago with a lot of loose and sharp rocks in the washed out bed of the road. The FSR is well maintained up to the main parking lot at 800 m elevation, and after it requires 4×4, high clearance and expert driving skills. It took us 30 minutes to drive 3 km gaining 500 m elevation to the upper FSR fork at 1300 m elevation where we parked 1.5 years ago.
We brought snowshoes for the hike, but since the FRS was now completely snow free, and there was no snow in the forest as far as we could see, we ditched our snowshoes in the car, taking only trail crampons and trekking poles with us for traction.
For 15 minutes we continued hiking up the FSR crossing a few rocky water bars, which our car would not be able to pass.
There are scenic alpine views from the upper part of the Brandywine FSR.
At the end of the FSR we continued hiking along the small creek in the forest and then shortly along the glades we spotted orange trail markers and saw a faint trail. This was a reassuring sign that we were on the right track. We saw cut alders and small trees along the trail as evidence of the trail maintenance. Continuous snow started at 1450 m elevation and I donned my trail crampons.
In an our we were in the alpine on the Metal Dome ridge where we could see out destination Metal Dome as the tallest and far most bump of the ridge.
The ridge had a gentle incline and amazing panoramic views.
We bypassed two smaller bumps on the ridge on the snow to hiker’s left. As we approached the Metal Dome summit, the incline steepened to 20-30 degrees.
The summit block offered too ascending options – on the steep snow on hiker’s right with visible cornices on the right and simple scrambling of the face (Class 2-3 rock). We opted for scrambling on our way up, as snow cornices did not look inviting.
In three hours and twenty minutes of hiking at leisurely pace we finally reached the summit cairn. Metal Dome summit is very wide and flat with the summit cairn constructed at the far right end near snow field.
After spending an hour at the Metal Dome summit eating lunch and making lots of pictures, it was time to go back.
Yury decided to descend on steep snow taking a closer look at cornices, while I opted to scramble down the same path that led me to the summit.
Yury found a safe path on the steep snow and rocks.
The descent was much faster and way more fun than ascent. There was a lot of glissading and bum sliding. In just over two hours we were back to the car.
We saw fresh bear tracks on the snow at the tree line and later saw a black bear crossing the Brandywine FSR in front of our car. We have not met other people on Metal Dome the trail that day. It looks like this area is a bear country.
It was a beautiful day in the mountains, and the view were fantastic.