|Letter to Parks Re: Sigurd Master Plan|
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ArticleId: 3123 Written: 2010.02.27 by: Paul Kubik
Vicki Haberl, Planning Section Head PO Box 220, Brackendale BC, V0N 1H0
22 February 2010
Draft management plan for the Este-tiwilh/Sigurd Creek Conservancy
Dear Ms. Haberl,
My involvement with the Sigurd Creek area began with my first trip to the area around 1981. There was a sketchy mining trail part way up towards Crooked Falls but nothing beyond. It took us all day to get to a point now about three or four kilometers up the seven or eight kilometer trail. Around 1990, myself and a few others in the BC Mountaineering Club began surveying the location of a trail up Sigurd Creek. We began flagging and clearing the trail. I've lost count of the number of days I've put in building the trail but it's close to fifty days. With all the other volunteers from the BCMC and other organizations such as North Shore Hikers, ICBC and ClubTread, I would estimate there is somewhere between 100 and 200 days of volunteer effort building the trail. In addition, I've had probably two or three dozen climbing and skiing trips through Sigurd Creek.
My primary interest with the management plan is to ensure that trail construction continues in an environmentally sound manner. We've put a lot of thought into the routing of the trail so as to avoid fragile areas. Secondly, we would not want to see any curtailment of recreation opportunities such as hiking, backcountry skiing and climbing that may be affected by the establishment of the conservancy and cultural practices of first nations.
As someone with extensive mountaineering experience in the Tantalus and Ashlu areas and based upon my foregoing comments on the building of the trail, I'd like to present what I would see as a 10- or 20-year plan for trail building and maintenance.
Proposal for 10- to 20-year plan
See the accompanying map included as an attachment to the email message.
Trail improvements to the Sigurd Creek trail itself should initially concentrate on improving the trouble spots. These are areas such as the branch to Crooked Falls where many people take the wrong fork, the branch to Sigurd Peak, muddy areas, slide paths and the footbridge.
The original Sigurd Creek trail builders had a trail fork at the footbridge over Sigurd Creek at 3300 feet ASL. This is approximately the 7-kilometer mark of the trail. The left fork was considered the branch to Pelion and Ossa Mountains. The right fork was unfinished but went a short distance beyond the footbridge without crossing Sigurd Creek. It was envisaged at the time that the right fork would extend to the headwaters and possibly to Sigurd Lake.
I went up the right fork last summer and my current thinking as the original trail builder is to abandon the right fork. Extend the left fork from where it currently ends at the 3800 foot glacial outwash plain in the basin north of Pelion and Ossa Mountains. The extension would continue to the small lakes below Ossa's west ridge along a convenient subalpine bench. At the point where west ridge climbers ascend from the bench to the small lakes, extend the trail from there to the Sigurd headwaters and the large lakes in the main basin. The problem with the old right fork is that it traverses a couple of wet meadows and a major rock slide. The wet meadows will suffer considerably from foot traffic and there is no way to circumvent them. The creek is on one side and steep cliffs on the other. The rock slide is fairly challenging to cross and would require blasting to improve it. Past the rock slide are a couple of shallow lakes that in summer are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. The left fork in contrast is a lot freer of the winged pests.
By extending the left fork, we avoid having two parallel trails to maintain. The left fork could be almost level near 3800 feet with perhaps only 100 or 200 feet of elevation loss to drop from the subalpine bench mentioned previously to gain the meadowed area in the upper headwaters of Sigurd Creek.
The extension of the left fork would naturally link up with the proposed trail to Pokosha Creek to make an attractive loop trip to the Ashlu Main road. The proposed trail to Sigurd Lake has not been surveyed but it would likely be best from near the divide with Clowhom River where the trail to Pokosha would cross the divide. Ascending from the divide would avoid steep and loose terrain further east.
We also envisage a couple more branches to the left fork extension. One would cross the Clowhom divide where the largest of the subalpine lakes drains west. The proposed trail segment would connect to roads climbing up from Clowhom River and could be used to travel to Phantom Lake. The second extension would follows the climber's path up the west ridge of Ossa Mountain. On the ridge crest near 6000 feet ASL the proposed route would cross the west ridge, descend into the shallow glaciated basin south of Ossa and climb to near 7000 feet below Pelion. Frome there, it is relatively easy in summer to gain the south ridge of Pelion and to join the existing Tantalus Traverse route. The Tantalus Traverse route is a serious mountaineering route that crosses the Rumbling Glacier between Zenith Mountain and the Jim Haberl hut. However, a more attractive possibility is to traverse the west side of the Tantalus Range to reach the Jim Haberl hut.
The Sigurd Peak Trail
We're suggesting that there is too much phonetic confusion in talking about the Sigurd Creek trail and the Sigurd Peak trail. We proposed last year to the climbing community through the Bivouac web site (www.bivouac.com) that the trail up Sigurd Peak be renamed the Rose Trail after Rose Tatlow, the former publisher of the Squamish Chief newspaper and wife of Hank Tatlow after whom Tatlow Lake is named. We would also like to propose that the unofficially named Sigurd Peak be renamed to Mount Rose, Mount Rose Tatlow or perhaps Station Rose. The latter name first appeared on a map of the Tantalus Range prepared by Neal Carter and published in 1964 in the BC Mountaineering Club newsletter accompanying an article by Howard Rode on the first ascent of Pelion Mountain.
Sincerely, Paul Kubik
P.S. Sigurd Lake drains into Pokosha Creek and not Sigurd Creek. We confirmed this on a ski trip to Sigurd Lake several years ago.
#1385 - 2010.03.02 Andrew Wong - Link to Ministry of Environment website for Sigurd
I added a Sigurd Trail bulletin with the MOE's Sigurd management plan website URL (http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/planning/mgmtplns/este_tiwilh_sigurd_creek_csy/este_sigurd_mp.html).