Photos by Greg Maurer of www.alpenglowpro.com. Photo Workshops, Limited Edition Prints and Panoramas.
Waterfall spray and open alpine with thick heather, musky fragrance, brought by the cool draft of high snowy slopes bath your skin; beauteous tent platforms are perched on the edge of an azure sky, all grant a sweet absolution for your sweat - you have to pay for great rewards. You'd expect no other deliverance from Princess Louisa Inlet, a hidden coastal appendix guarded by precipitous granite walls and tidal rapids.
Skill with a compass, map and a handheld GPS will help you on your way, for the trail becomes sketchy with goat fur on the occasional stunted fir the only marker. Light mountaineering skills for at least one in a party is mandatory for the completion for this rewarding traverse which includes a smattering of glacial travel and a scramble ascent of a 1950 metre summit (technically unnamed but known as 'Sun Peak'). Wait for a crisp September high-pressure weather pattern and you'll be set for a very full four-day or a less hectic weeklong trip.
This is a point-to-point trip, from tide-water to alpine, through remote wilderness with no resources. You will have to arrange for pickup on the Sims Creek/Elaho River side. Be self-sufficient in case the unthinkable happens. Have adequate skills in carrying a multi-day pack that might include light mountaineering gear like an ice axe, crampons and one rope per party. People with more experience might carry less.
Elevation Gain - 2100 metres High Point - 1950 metres Time Needed 4 - 7 Days: multi-day back pack
MapsFederal Topographic 92 - J4, 92-J5 Description - Step by Step for Success
Travel to the small coastal village of Egmont on the Sechelt Peninsula via Horseshoe Bay and Highway 101. Bus transport may arranged in Vancouver.Take a water taxi or charter a flight to the head of Princess Louisa Inlet and camp at the provincial campsite at Chatterbox Falls.
Follow the obvious trail out of the campsite. The trail quickly gains elevation and deviously finds a way through granite bluffs and old growth forest. This is somewhat like Vancouver's Grouse Grind but only longer and more scenic. Take your time. Midway you reach a great waterfall that can provide an excellent shower. Further along a short scramble through a granite bluff will take you higher into the forest. If you tire there are a few places to camp enroute. Near tree-line the trail crosses into a boulder choked gully where one particularly awkward boulder requires either some worming through a hidden tunnel or a climbing move over the front. There is even a rope in place.
Be patient; the alpine is close at hand. Congratulate yourself for climbing 1300 vertical metres with a heavy pack and appreciate the vista. Follow the trail and gain about 30 metres elevation in the next kilometre or so to Loquilts Lake. Spend the night here; you have earned it.
The glacial topography in the area is unique; providing great examples of glacial molding and plucking. Plan to spend a night at the lake. You may want to use Loquilts as a base camp for further exploration for a few days or follow a cairned route north though the headwall to camp on the upper granite apron at the twin alpine tarns less than a kilometre northwest (approximately 200 metres vertical). Lots of rambling in the area should you decide to do either. The youth camp at Malibu Rapids occasionally has a group camping at Loquilts Lake.
From the granite apron follow a sketchy path through steep meadows traversing to an obvious glacial moraine. Follow the moraine until the small glacier (which originates on the east flanks of 1950m ?Sun Peak? on your left) plateaus. Cross here and aim for the rocky outcrops on the north side of the glacier. Head up the snow/minimal ice (depends on the previous year's snow pack) toward the rocks that come off Sun Peak's short north ridge. Drop your pack and scramble to the summit.
Descend the snowy slope to the east, stay right and cross the bouldery glacial terraces north, staying relatively high before you reach heathery ridges. There are no markers here and, at the time of writing, no cairns. The route-finding though is pretty straight forward. On the east side of the heathery ridge there are perfect granite tent platforms. So spend a night or two here and marvel at your position.
Descend off the ridge northeast being careful of steep snow initially and then hard packed steep rocky meadow. Keep right, and then traverse left into gullies aiming for a large tree-line tarn. After a short swim to wash the sweat and fir needles from your back, pick up a steep marked trail that descends into the Sims Creek Valley for an arranged pickup to Squamish and Vancouver.
Egmont Water Taxi 604-898-8454, for a guided excursion.
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Posted By: bheaps
- Mon Jun 18 01:09:38 UTC 2012
QuestionThank you for the details posted on trailpeak, Is there anywhere that I can get detailed route information? Ive got a gps and maps so that will help, but detailed info would be greatANSWERS are in this forum: Princess Louisa -> Sims Creek multi day hike
Posted By: arkitekt
- Sun Jul 11 22:58:24 UTC 2010
UpsideSome of the most rugged terrain around. This is incredible territory to explore and soak in. Mostly high above the treeline, there are incredible panoramic views to be had from most points on the trail. Lots of challenging terrain to push yourself on. CommentDidn't do this from Prinicess Louisa, but as a loop from Sims Creek. We climbed Outrigger Mountain and along it's sister mountains to the west before crossing over the col to the Sun Peaks this trail at the top of the Outrigger Creek watershed. Lots of glacier travel and scrambling to be had but we managed to get out without any serious mountaineering.
Posted By: M-unit
- Fri Feb 24 21:04:09 UTC 2006
UpsideAmazing views, wicked terrain, awesome opportunity to explore. DownsideWhat downside? Water taxis are fun, but my group just kayaked from Sechelt, then had a taxi pick up the boats, and driving on logging roads is always a good time! CommentWe went in June and there was still tons of snow up top, the trail was very sketchy in parts (as in "where the hell is the trail??"), but that just made it way more fun. We had a hard time crossing a creek at the bottom of Sun Peak, and totally lost the trail so we made our own route over the mountain. Good times! I definately recomend this trail to everyone!
Posted By: spotty
- Sun Jul 06 19:15:58 UTC 2003
UpsideSpectaular views. Changing scenery from old growth forests to alpine meadows to snow fields and glacial terrain. Plus there are plenty of lakes, tarns and peaks to go explore. Priness Louisa is beautiful with its many waterfalls including the big one, Chatterbox Falls, that you will be well rewarded for the effort it takes to get there. DownsideArrainging for pick up and drop off at either end. One needs a boat or floatplane; the other needs somebody willing to drive many kilometers over a rough logging road. CommentThis was one of the best through hikes I have ever done. The lack of trail markers or cairns once above the tree line offered so many possiblities for exploration.