It did not take long for me to build up a good sweat as I climbed up steep wooden stairs for the first 200 metres of elevation gain. Beyond the stairs, the grade eases only slightly, but I found hiking on a dirt trail to be vastly more enjoyable. At a signed junction, I followed the trail leading to 1st Peak and generally had little trouble reaching the top. A few ladders along the way help with surmounting some steeper sections of rock, but these also created some traffic jams as people waited their turn to ascend or descend. After tagging the summit, I retraced my steps to the signed junction and continued up the trail to 2nd Peak. A few awkward sections along the route to 2nd Peak require some hands-on scrambling, but there are chains in place to provide some security. From the summit of 2nd Peak, I followed flagging and markers northward before descending into an obvious gap. There were fewer people on this part of the mountain, and I actually ended up slightly off-route in the forest here. I had to backtrack a bit before finding the correct (and safer) route up 3rd Peak. In retrospect, I had found the top of 1st Peak to be the most scenic, and consequently, standing atop 3rd Peak, the highest of the three, felt somewhat anticlimactic.
Returning to the gap, I descended a rougher, less-traveled trail which
follows the gully between 2nd Peak and 3rd Peak and which eventually
joins up with the main trail near the top of the stairs. The mostly
uneventful hike back to the trailhead was marred by a painful spill I
took partway down the rough trail which left me with a nasty bruise on my
leg and a broken trekking pole (the cheap pole lasted only two trips for
me). Checking into the superb Hotel Squamish later on helped
alleviate some of my pain and disgust. Sonny stands on the 620-metre summit of Stawamus
Chief Mountain's 1st Peak. 2nd Peak and 3rd (highest) Peak are to
the right. Here is the view of all three peaks of Stawamus Chief
Mountain from the Hotel Squamish.
This is looking up the west face of
1st Peak from the parking lot.
Wooden stairs grant easy access to the
backside of Stawamus Chief Mountain.
Cedar trees provide welcome shade from
the sun for much of the ascent up the backside.
Steel ladders are in place on a
variety of steeper sections throughout the backside of the mountain.
The trees eventually give way to bare
The views open up near the top of 1st
Peak. Behind the figures is Squamish Harbour.
The town of Squamish can be seen over
the cliff edge.
Here is another look at 2nd Peak and
The gully between 1st Peak and 2nd
Peak is dark and quiet.
Getting to the top of 2nd Peak is a
little trickier than 1st Peak.
This is looking back at 1st Peak from
Sonny sits on top of 2nd Peak (650 metres).
The most direct route from 2nd Peak to
3rd Peak (right) roughly follows the mostly forested ridge crest.
(or highline) has been set up across the major gap between 2nd Peak and 3rd Peak.
A "slacker" balances on the slackline.
To the north is the Garibaldi Massif,
an eroded stratovolcano which is comprised of Dalton Dome, Mount
Garibaldi, and Atwell Peak. The tops of all three peaks are
visible in the photo.
Sonny looks up disapprovingly at the
overcast sky while standing on the 695-metre summit of 3rd Peak, the
highest of the three peaks on Stawamus Chief Mountain.
Here is a closer look at 1st Peak and
2nd Peak from the top of 3rd Peak.
This calm pool of water is located
along Olesen Creek which runs beside the stairs on the backside.
Distance: 7.7 kilometres
Round-Trip Time: 5 hours
Net Elevation Gain: 627 metres
Sonny stands on the 620-metre summit of Stawamus Chief Mountain's 1st Peak. 2nd Peak and 3rd (highest) Peak are to the right.
Here is the view of all three peaks of Stawamus Chief Mountain from the Hotel Squamish.