Cypress Peak makes for an excellent day trip from Vancouver. With the access road doing a lot of the work for you and in really good condition, you can pretty much access the alpine immediately – even with a 2WD car. The road has been extended and there is some confusion as to where the trail actually begins, but we parked up about 0.5km from the end of the road and walked to the very end of it. At which point it clearly stops and a few ribbons lead a small trail down to a creek, which you then use to descend down to cross the main Roe creek. Once over Roe creek the trail is very clearly marked for the first 0.5km as you push through the bush. You soon emerge to great views back down the valley and it’s from here there aren’t really any more trail markers except for the odd cairn.
Autumn is definitely on the way in to the area as Roe Creek begins to lose some of it’s green colour in the October sun.
You pretty much ascend a bolder field as you climb north, towards the Cypress Peak summit. Follow a creek until you can see a large waterfall and then cross the creek to head up the West side of it. Be careful crossing the creek as there is a lot of loose rock in both of the steep sided banks.
Once past the waterfall (having completed the first section of bolder field) there is a great little ledge for a quick rest, but unfortunately the loose and rocky climb continues (second section) – it’s just obscured from where you are below the waterfall.
The second section leads up to another ridge and once over this, you finally get to appreciate the views of the glacier that lies below the summit. Somewhat deceiving in it’s size… it’s actually massive. And also somewhat keeping the actual summit out of sight as it sits a little further back than in the below picture.
To put it into
A close up of the glacier below Cypress Peak, near Whistler.
We followed along the bottom of the glacier, peering in small ice caves cause by running water moving through the glacier, when we came across this huge whole… Upon closer inspection this ice cave was so big it was somewhat the size of an underground skytrain/tube station: 100m long, 10m wide and 5m high. The thing was a monster. We quickly snuck in to grab a pic and then headed out swiftly…
Once past the glacier, keep following the odd cairn marker making you way to the base of the ridge summit that lies along the north of the glacier. Eventually you come to a shoulder that provides incredible views looking north over glacial lakes and another large glacier, into the other valley.
From this shoulder you turn left and begin your way up the ridge to the summit. A few ribbon trail markers appear again, but keep a careful eye out for them as they’re few and far between. Half way up the ridge it somewhat flattens just before the crux – this would not only make for an excellent camp spot, but provides pretty much 360 views of the West Coast Mountains…
From this point you also get an excellent view of the final ridge scramble up to the summit and the crux that lies just beyond this point. The ridge scramble is excellent, with some exposure and big falls down to the glaciers on either side.
Views of the summit ridge scramble only got better the closer we got, but the amount of snow and ice on the summit was increasing more and more.
As we continued to make our way along the ridge the size of the crux became apparent. A large 20m wall of rock, which at this time of year, was unfortunately already covered in ice to make it worth taking the risk – especially considering we didn’t have ropes or helmets.
We decided to head back to the flat area rather than risk the crux due to all the ice. But definitely going back. Have heard you can also ski off the top of this in the winter so that could be worth the trip too.