One of two small rock towers on the Capilano-Howe Sound divide, the East Lion is the lower and more difficult of the two summits. It is actually located entirely within the Capilano Watershed and access is technically prohibited. This is never enforced. The East Lion is much more rarely climbed than the West Lion.
The predominant jointing of the rock dips south and west. The southwest face is a broad triangular facet with many wide, downsloping ledges along the dip. This is the highest face on the mountain, around 200m and lower-angled. A distinct southeast ridge separates the southwest and southeast faces. It is a dramatic line and goes to mid-5th class face climbing for one pitch. The southeast face sports about three pitches of steeper face climbing on narrow ledges and jointed, clean rock with good finger holds. The dip of the rock is less of a factor than on the southwest face. It may go fairly easily with a series of diagonal traverses back and forth across the face to easier bush below the summit. At its furthest edge a line of bush follows the broad eastern aspect of the peak. This is the line called "The Great Thrash". The bush can be largely avoided by keeping left until about halfway up where it becomes unavoidable. The north face is shorter in height but steep, almost vertical near its top. Its small ledges dip west and a large cornice overhangs it. Finally, there is a narrow and steep west face above the col with the West Lion. It is the shortest face on the mountain.
The Great Thrash is the standard line. More aesthetic lines follow bush-free routes- the slabs on the south face, southeast ridge, west face or north face. The standard approach is from the 1600m ridge SW of the West Lion. Just before the gap, the Howe Sound Crest Trail drops 150m steeply east into the broad bowl south of the Lions. This is best in late spring on consolidated snow. In winter, the bowl is threatened by avalanches and in late summer, boulder-strewn but not unpleasant.
Name Notes: The name "The Lions" is a reference to the appearance these summits had in the light of the setting sun, and their resemblance to the monumental lions common throughout London, notably in Trafalgar Square. As with many peaks, there is also a "traditional" Squamish nation name for The Lions. Their name translates as "the Sisters" and is a reference to two daughters of a legendary chief of that tribe who were converted to mountain peaks to commemorate their great virtue.