Three Iconic Hikes - One Day.... Part II - The Chief
- The Chief - 2,303 ft
- Distance Covered: ~7km
- Elevation Gain: approx. 2,000 ft
- Our Time: 2:06:00
After descending the 15km from Black Tusk we spent a few minutes in the parking lot assessing ourselves and the time. We felt good but knew there was a LONG way to go. We both stretched a bit and I looked over my leg... It was designed for running - not mountain climbing/hiking - it had performed well but had taken a beating.
Nevertheless, spirits were soaring at this point... we were 45 mins ahead of our schedule and feeling good. After a short drive (37km) during which we ate, drank, called our wives and reloaded our packs. We got out of the van at the base of The Chief.
The Chief is a popular climb for the people of Squamish and the whole Sea-to-Sky corridor - therefore it is pretty packed on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The crowds slowed us down a bit, but the Chief is no cake walk. I think I had already begun to look past it because of it's length (only 7km total) - that was a mistake - it is pretty much a vertical climb over odd angled rocks. Adding to the technical nature of the ascent was the fact I could definitely feel the Tusk in my legs. It was steep enough that I was using my hands with regularity, it took a lot of concentration to place my "foot" properly on each rock all the way to the top.
I felt BRUTALLY SLOW but... miraculously, we arrived at the top right on schedule. I thought I'd blown it with my turtle-like pace.
There are three peaks that make up The Chief - they are creatively named: First, Second and Third. Third is the highest, at 710m, and as such was our destination. I believe the view would be better at First or Second since they are at the top of the steep face overlooking Squamish - from the Third peak you are set back a bit.... it is still quite impressive though. The enormous rock slab makes a cool spot to stand and survey the surrounds. We did that for a few minutes then made tracks... we were on a schedule!
I think to enjoy the hike, up and down, and have a lunch on top, you'd want to allow 4-5 hours. We rushed (as much as we could) and it took just over 2 hours.
The way down was much easier... still very technical but a lot less stopping required - comparatively relaxing on the heart rate.
The Chief was by far the shortest, and in retrospect the easiest, but in no way was it easy. At the bottom we found that we had preserved our 45 minute cushion. We still felt pretty fresh and knew we were going for all three peaks.
Highlights: Getting to the top and realizing that it wasn't as slow as I thought. Getting back to the bottom and feeling good enough to go for the triple.
Part way up The Chief:
At the top of The Chief: (If you have very good eyes you can see Black Tusk in the distance off my right shoulder (:05 - :11)
Finished The Chief:
Tomorrow: Part III - The Lions