Paton Peak

GPS recording available here: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/recording/activity-7531934614-e6be4c2

Note: stats include the bike ride (~26km + 500m elevation gain) and all 4 peaks
Elevation Gain: 2,946m
Distance: 44.91km
Total Time: 14 hours 2 minutes
Date: September 21st, 2021

Paton Peak is a small ~1020m peak located just east of the more well known Coliseum Mountain. I was not even aware of its existence until the day that Steven and I set out to grab the more well known objective of Cathedral Mountain. Steven had reached out on the weekend about taking advantage of a weather window on the Tuesday. His original suggestion was for Mount Ratney and Bardean, but those depended heavily on being in dry condition and the weekend of rain did not bode well for that. Steven then proposed Cathedral Mountain and I was on board right away. I had read about Cathedral in the past and it’s often considered the prize of the north shore. It requires a very long approach by bike and then foot as well as travel through protected water sheds. For those reasons, it was done in secrecy for many years with obscured trip reports detailing the route beta. These days, attitudes appear to have relaxed given that only experienced hikers/scramblers are likely to make it all the way to the summit.

Our goal was to tag Coliseum Mountain and Mount Burwell on the way as you practically have to cross their summits to reach Cathedral Mountain anyways. Paton Peak was an unknown to me at the time, but when Steven mentioned it part through the approach we opted to add it on as well.

The plan was to meet in Lynn Valley for 5:30am with the aim to be on our bikes and heading down the Seymour Valley Trail by 5:45am. I arrived around 2 minutes before 5:30am and Steven drove in not much longer after that. We setup our bikes in the dark and after donning some head lamps began pedaling over to the trail. Initially, we got a bit lost at a roundabout with trespassing signs and gates blocking our passage. It took us a minute of looking confused and then a friendly gate operator came out and pointed us towards the actual trail. While it’s called Seymour Valley Trail, it’s really a dedicated bike road, with smooth pavement and I think we were both thankful for that.

Parked at an all day spot that Steven’s friend Matt suggested for us
Starting down the dark road

About one hour of moderate up hill pedaling later we arrived at the spur road up to Paton Creek and half-biked half-walked the rest of the way to the trail head. There I locked our bikes up and then got out our hiking gear. It was at this point I realized I had forgotten most of my food at home in the fridge. I was in for a long day with minimal food and this was not the start I wanted. Thankfully, when I told this to Steven he mentioned having some back up food and so I knew I’d be able to make it then. After that dilemma was settled, Steven began the lead up the trail. The route was composed of typical north shore terrain with steep, rooted foot paths and numerous slippery sections. More than once we hit some 3rd class forest terrain, but with the help of tree roots it was quite straight forward.

We paused on the trail to figure out the gear shifter on Steven’s bike before continuing on
Locking the bikes up at the trail head. It’s light out now
Steven leading the way through the typical terrain up to Paton Peak
A look at Runner Peak and Seymour Peak through a break in the trees
One of the many sections with batman ropes
Another one. The wide-angle makes it look more vertical than it actually was
Myself coming up one of the many forest steps
More rooted terrain

By around 8am, we crested over a ridge and arrived at the junction to Coliseum Mountain and Paton Peak. On the way up we had discussed grabbing Paton Peak as the last objective of the day, but by mistake we took the trail to Paton Peak when we reached the junction. We were already halfway down the ~200m trail when we realized the mistake and so just continued on to the summit.

Cresting the ridge now
Looking towards Burnaby
The summit of Paton Peak
Coliseum, Burwell and Cathedral all visible
Nice views of Seymour Lake

When we reached the summit I was actually very surprised by the views. An hour earlier I didn’t know this peak existed and now here I was with panoramic views of Coliseum, Burwell, Cathedral and so many others. We decided to take a longer break on the summit to grab some food and snap photos. Once we felt rested enough, it’s time to continue on to Coliseum Mountain.

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