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West Lion via Binkert Trail

The shorter, but steeper approach to the West Lion

Alpine Climbing Easy

16 km
1.5 km
1.5 km
Low Point
226 m
High Point
1.6 km
West Lion via Binkert Trail Map

This route can be done to the base as a hard hike, or to the very top of the West Lion as a challenging scramble. There are two sections of tricky terrain. Matt Gun's guidebook Scarmbles in SW BC is an excellent source for this write up, and your own adventures.


The route begins at either the lower parking lot just off Highway 99 or higher up at the Binkert Trail Head. Follow the service road up the six switchbacks where the trail evens out, and traverses the flank of Mt Harvey, before dropping down to a bridge. From here is a steep hike not unlike the Grouse Grind, only less well maintained. The trail breaks into more gentle trail in the alpine. The route becomes a little trickier here as it sometimes passes over snowfields or talus fields.

Heading up, and across the mountain there is a low point in the ridge that you can hike up. The ridge itself is rocky, going back and forth between rock and trail before pushing through some trees and arriving at a notch. There is a freyed rope here, and some 5th class scrambling down into the notch. Do not use the rope. It has worn badly, and it will likely rip one of these days. If you came to hike, this is a great spot to stop and watch the scramblers, and take in the view.

If you're scrambling avoid using the rope as it hasn't been replaced in a long time. Luckily the terrain here is not very exposed. This is a good spot to put on a helmet, and observe the route. Be careful as this routes popularity means there are often folks off route, so don't follow other people unless you are certain it is the correct way.

At the base of the notch cross a narrow rock ridge to a slab. A big 1 metre step gains a second slab, so traverse climbers right here to a slab that slopes towards Vancouver. If wet or slippery this section can be quite literally deadly. It is also quite exposed here. This section is 4th class scrambling. If you've rock climbed on Squamish Slab it will feel much more comfortable. In 2020 someone appears to have put up a yellow polypropelene rope. These ropes frey quickly, and are not strong at all. It is basically litter, so feel free to take it down. Do not use it.

At the top of the shallow slab is a rooty climb that is not at all exposed and makes for a bit of relief. It's about 3rd class. Head upwards here to a little gulley. At the top of the gulley traverse right over a very awkward step. This section is much harder on the way back as the footholds are visible from the other side, so try and remember them as you cross. This section is 4th, maybe even 5th class.

On the other side of the traverse the terrain isn't nearly as exposed and follows a root system up to solid easy to scramble rocks. From there it's a quick jaunt to the broad spacious summit.

The descent is the way you came.

This video does a very good job of showing the route, though be warned that helmets are recommended, drone flights are illegal in all provincial parks, and this person makes it look easier than it is for most folks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0YoMauAFYw&t=507s



The ascent involves simple glacier hiking and/or short, straightforward rock scrambles. Equivalent to Alpine F, F+

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The route features some exposed and/or difficult to protect sections.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between June and October

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