Not ready for climbing: Grouse Grind still an icy winter wonderland (PHOTOS)

May 20 2017, 5:31 pm

Don’t think about hiking the Grouse Grind in North Vancouver this Victoria Day long weekend.

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Metro Vancouver Regional District is warning outdoor recreational enthusiasts that conditions on the trail, specifically the upper third of the hike, are unsafe after an unusually cold and snowy winter and spring.

The trail remains closed until further notice.

Ice and snow on the Grouse Grind trail, taken on Wednesday, May 17. (Metro Vancouver Regional District)

Earlier snowfall in the season is compounded by a fresh 32-cm layer of snow that fell on Monday and Tuesday, which is highly abnormal at this time of year. The trail is still covered with a layer of snow and ice, creating a slippery surface on the steep terrain.

In late-April, a pair of hikers on the trail had to be rescued at the 3/4th mark.

And for those who are hiking alternate trails in the local mountains, beware of varying extreme conditions. While it may be summer-like near a base of the trail, there is still ample snow on higher elevations, creating avalanche dangers and hidden cornices. Be prepared and dress appropriately.

As well, warmer temperatures will accelerate snow melt, which could lead to rapidly rising creeks and rivers.

Over 100,000 people climb the Grouse Grind each year, and the average completion time over the 2.9-km ascent, with an elevation gain of 853 metres (equivalent to 2,830 stair steps), is 90 minutes.

The Grouse Grind usually opens to the public in the spring, and last year the grind opened to the public as early as May 2:

  • 2016 – May 2
  • 2015 – May 8
  • 2014 – May 17
  • 2013 – May 11
  • 2012 – May 19
  • 2011 – June 11

Taking advantage of the thick snowpack, Grouse Mountain will remain open for skiing and snowboarding throughout the long weekend, until Monday.

Ice and snow on the Grouse Grind trail, taken on Wednesday, May 17. (Metro Vancouver Regional District)

Ice and snow on the Grouse Grind trail, taken on Wednesday, May 17. (Metro Vancouver Regional District)

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