Cypress Peak

Distance: 15.85km
Elevation: 1,328m
Summit Date: August 28th, 2020
Total Time: 5 hours 57 minutes

Towards the end of August, I was looking for a scramble with a bit of technical challenge, but not too far from home. After doing some research online, I discovered a mountain, called Cypress peak, outside of Squamish. It had made many people’s top scrambling lists in BC and so I figured it would be a great choice. I sent out a message to a few friends to see if anyone would be interested in joining, but no luck. So on August 28th, I set out on a solo trip.

Coming up the FSR looking back at what I believe is Tricouni Peak

The trail began at the junction of R200 and Roe Creek Forest Service Road. The first ~4km of it followed the deactivated portion of the Roe Creek FSR. Once the road tapered off, there was a small flagged section through the forest. It quickly flowed out onto part of a creek and then continued along an overgrown trail through alpine meadows and brush. During this portion, I was little on edge as it’s definitely bear territory and I was alone. Thankfully the deep bush section was short and I reached the beginning of the first slope upwards in short order.

Looking back at end of the FSR and the tall bush section on the left. Mt Garabaldi was visible off in the distance

The first rocky slope rises up ~400 meters and is straightforward to climb up with an established path. There was one tricky section where I needed to cross the waterfall/creek as it was loose and steep riverbed type terrain, but nothing daunting, just needed to pick the right line.

Once I reached the top of the first slope, it flattened out into a rocky meadow with a nice creek and views of the Black Tusk and of course, Cypress Peak summit. I continued across the meadow and then reached another ~150 meter talus slope before topping out at the foot of a small glacier that hangs at the base of Cypress Peak.

From the top of the first slope, looking back
The summit is in sight on the right-hand side. The route continues up the talus slope on the right.

I recommend sticking to the right of the glacier and avoiding direct travel on it as there were sizeable crevasses and tunnels under the glacier. There are cairns placed at regular intervals, so keep your eye out for them. Beyond the glacier there’s not much to say besides more talus slopes.

At the foot of the glacier after the second talus slope. I was not expecting this and had not seen anything about it online. It was a very pleasant surprise.
A hidden crevasse that I was quite close to walking into. You can’t quite see here, but it was around 6 feet deep and was mostly hollow under all the rocks you see pictured here.

At around 1850 meters, I reached the final ridge line to Cypress Peak and continued to follow the cairns towards the summit. From this vantage there were superb views of Garabaldi, Mt. Cayley, Brandywine Mountain, Mt. Brew, Ice Cap peak and countless others.

Views of what I believe were Mt. Cayley, Brandywine and Mt. Brew
More views from the final summit ridgeline

Somewhere around 1920 meters I hit a cliff band that I could choose to scramble up or could hike down to the glacier on the west flank of Cypress Peak. The cliff had solid holds, but does have a fair bit of exposure. If you prefer a less exposed route, hiking down the glacier and following the cliff band around until it mellows out is my recommendation. I chose to climb up the cliff on the route up and take the less exposed route for the down climb.

Looking up at the summit block. It’s further away than it appears. The cliff band is just visible where the rock starts to darken.
The cliff band and crux of the route. This was option 1 and decided to look around for other routes.
Option 2 was down-climbing to this glacier and seeing if there was some easier terrain to climb up.
Option 3. The one I took. Slightly less exposed than Option 1 and just a few meters of downclimbing towards climbers right of the first cliff to reach it.

After the cliff band there was a moderately steep talus slope, but the hardest part was out of the way. Once I reached the summit, I found there was enough room for a small group and superb views of Tricouni Peak, the Tantalus range and more. The route down was straight forward, albeit a bit slow with all of the loose rock.

My view from the top of the cliff band
The final push to the summit. Lots of large and loose boulders, I had to watch my footing. Nothing too scary beyond this point.

From the summit I headed straight east towards the glacier and found more gentle terrain down. I took the glacier back up to where the cliff band started and the followed my old line all the way back down to the car.

Tricouni Peak just a short distance away
Mount Fee, Mount Cayley, Poweder Mountain and many others visible from the top
A paranoram looking westwards at Icecap Peak and some others I’m not too familiar with

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *