Hiking Stawamus Chief South Peak – Squamish, BC

Last week, I decided to head up to Squamish to hike the south peak of the Stawamus Chief. As with the Lions hike, I’m not going to go into how to get to the trail, etc. There are plenty of sites that can give you good info about the trail: Vancouver Trails, Club Tread, Trail Peak, Live Trails.

I wish I had got a better shot of the rock face, I’ll have to do that next time.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Rock Face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a very popular hike in the area, expect to see at least a few people on the trail and on all of the peaks. The south peak is the most popular and the shortest hike as well. Middle and north peaks are less popular but still see their fair share of hikers. The Chief is not only popular with hikers, but is also a huge draw for climbers who come to challenge themselves on the granite face. I found this interesting video while writing this post: Patagonia climbing ambassador Sonnie Trotter climbed the first free ascent of Cobra Crack (5.14). Props, that is something that I’ll never do.

You start your hike in the campground, nice and easy.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Campground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A map and some info before you start the hike.

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also a warning. The trail isn’t long (about 6Km round trip) but it is steep and if you are unprepared you can get into trouble. I saw some yahoo going up in flip flops!
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Warning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trail is very well maintained. Kudos to the crew that come out to maintain this for the rest of us, very much appreciated.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Trail start

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure beats the stair climber at the gym.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Stairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another sign along the route, very easy to follow as long as you pay attention. There are several of these along the way which will guide you to any of the peaks along with some of the other trails available in the area.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Trail sign

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trail is quite steep for most of the route.

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though well maintained, no cake walk and Mr. FlipFlop likely had a fun time in some sections.

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lower part of the hike is in the forest and the shade makes it easier on a hot day. As you get near the summit, you start to see the sun trickle though.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a few ladders on the route, don’t see that on most hiking trails.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Ladder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Ladder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A large overhang looms over the trail.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Overhang

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warning on the trail. As I said before, the area is popular with climbers so do not throw anything over the edge.

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Warning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know you are reaching the summit when the forest gets thin and the rocky soil yields to solid granite.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Near summit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Near summit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A chain and ladder help you navigate the grade.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Chain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Ladder 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon after, you start to get rewarded with some great views.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t get distracted though, one wrong step and you are going over the edge.

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Cliff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now just a scramble to the top.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Scramble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tough life for trees that live on the summit.

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once at the summit, you get a beautiful view of Howe Sound and Squamish.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just like on the Lions hike, this raven took the easy route to the top.

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Squamish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can also see the middle peak with a few hikers enjoying the view.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Middle peak

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some hikers coming down from the middle peak.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Middle peak climb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ventured to the cliff edge, though didn’t spend much time there.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Cliff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along with my trusty Nikon I brought up my tripod and f-stop Guru backpack. It’s a great pack for a day hike with photo gear.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Gear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon after I arrived, I was joined by a chipmunk.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Chipmunk buddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We became good buddies after I gave him a couple pumpkin seeds from my trail mix.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Chipmunk buddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Got any more???

Stawamus Chief - 2012-09-13 - Chipmunk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Chipmunk buddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few more views from the top. Can anyone tell me the name of the mountain in the background? Please post in the comments. UPDATE: It is Mount Garibaldi (thanks Jesse).
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me wrecking a perfectly good shot.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : View & Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A good spot for lunch.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : View & Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a map of my route to the summit tracked using Runkeeper on the iPhone.
Stawamus Chief Hike - Map KML : Google Maps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While at the top, I also shot a complete panorama which resulted in a 100 megapixel image. If you want to see the full size image check my previous post.
Stawamus Chief Panorama : Sept 13, 2012 : 2048 pixels

 

 

 

 

 

On my way down, I stopped along the creek to take a few photos. I tried some shots with a polarizing filter and a neutral density filter to get longer exposures.

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Creek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Creek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, on my way home I topped in at Shannon Falls which is only a few minutes from the Chief. First, an HDR image of the falls, I was hoping it would turn out a little different.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Shannon Falls HDR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just a regular shot, but taken with a polarizing filter to get a longer exposure.
Stawamus Chief - South Peak - Squamish BC - 2012-09-13 : Shannon Falls