FATMAP difficulty grade
Golden Ears peak is an iconic landmark around the Lower Mainland.
The hike to the summit is better described as a moderate scramble/easy mountaineering that involves some route-finding off-trail in the alpine and potentially the use of technical tools depending on conditions.
Because it is a decent distance, many folks will attempt to do it over two days, camping at the tent platforms just beneath the summit.
There is also a campsite at Alder Flats.
A good weather window is ideal, as navigating in clouds can be tricky when there is no trail.
There is also a large snowfield between the campsite and upper ridge sections.
An ice ax, helmet, and crampons are generally used to cross this feature.
The reason is that when the snow is hard-packed earlier in the year, a small slip could very easily lead to a serious injury or worse.
Using an ice ax without training is just as dangerous as crossing a snowfield without gear.
If you don't know how to use an ice ax and the snow is icy, wait until later in the day when it has softened up, then cross using microspikes and trekking poles.
Be cautious, and go slow.
Self-arrest Courses with an ice ax are available from most guiding outfits in the area.
From the parking lot, it's a mostly flat hike along the Canyon Trail.
Eventually, the trail starts climbing into the valley.
Just beyond this is Alder Flats.
It's a small campsite and a decent place to stop.
Campfires are not allowed in the park.
Remember to Leave No Trace to ensure camping remains an option here.
Past Alder flats, the trail gets steep and increasingly rocky.
There are a few short rocky steps higher up as well as some truly beautiful viewpoints.
Eventually, this ridge connects to "Panorama Ridge".
The trees begin to thin, and the trail becomes increasingly bedrock following cairns.
The campsite is about 10-20 minutes beyond the tree line.
There are several ten platforms as well as an emergency shelter.
Camping in the shelter is not permitted.
Fires are also not permitted.
This is a fragile alpine environment.
If you chose to light a fire, remember that that could lead to loss of privileges for the whole community.
Be a steward.
Leave No Trace.
From the campsite, follow the cairns along the ridge towards the nub on the summit ridge.
Head for the knoll on the summit ridge, going right traversing beneath it to the low point on the ridge.
From here, it's a 3rd class climb/scramble for several meters.
A faint trail is visible that winds through the krumholtz trees to the summit.
These trees are quite tough, so watch out for fragile/expensive clothing.
The summit is fairly flat and is one of the best views in Vancouver.
The descent is the same way you came.
Be cautious coming down as the snow slope may get riskier later in the way as it warms up and becomes slushy.
Avoid steep slopes that could avalanche.
Taking your tracks back is recommended.