The West Lion along with its cousin 300 m to the east are famous landmarks that define the skyline from Vancouver. Because of its visibility and location close to a large urban centre, the West Lion is a popular objective for all manner of inexperienced outdoor people. The normal access is from Lions Bay via the Paul Binkert trail or from the Cypress Bowl ski area via the Howe Sound Crest trail. The climb starts from platform just southwest of the summit pinnacle and involves lowering yourself off a fixed rope into a gap, then traversing along an exposed rock ledge (class 3-4) onto easier ground. Scrambling up to the summit is exposed but easy (class 2-3 through bushes and short rock steps on a cleared trail).
Climbing next to the fixed rope is 4th class if you prefer to ignore the "aid climbing" into or out of the gap.
Name Notes: Named around 1889 by British Columbia Supreme Court Justice John Hamilton Gray (1814 St George, Bermuda - 1889 Victoria), after their resemblance to the lion statues in Trafalgar Square sculpted by Sir Edward Landseer. Before Gray's popular suggestion, the Skxwumish (Squamish) people called them Chee-Chee-Yoh-Hee ("The Twins" or "The Sisters"), after their transformation legend, while lonely loggers and prospectors called them "Sheba's Breasts" or "The Paps". Gray was a pre-Confederation Premier of New Brunswick and a father of Confederation. In 1872, as a consolation for not being named speaker of the House of Commons, he was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and moved west. In 1878 he ruled that the provincial Chinese Tax Act was unconstitutional as its purpose was to "drive the Chinese from the country, thus interfering at once with the authority reserved to the Dominion Parliament as to the regulation of the trade and commerce, the rights of aliens, and the treaties of the empire." Gray was constantly in debt: Chief Justice Begbie famously delayed a creditor's application for Gray's arrest over an unpaid judgment by an hour, thus allowing Gray to sail away on a holiday. Gray died in Victoria, and is buried in the Ross Bay Cemetery: the only 1867 father of Confederation buried west of Ontario.