These days any individual aiming to make there way to the top of Grouse mountain might do so by the Grouse gondola or the challenging Grouse Grind. However few realize that Grouse mountain can be reached through a network of trails starting from the base of Mt. Fromme and travelling North East around Grouse. Mt. Fromme, named after J.M. Fromme, 'Father of Lynn Valley, is well known for its diversity in mountain biking trails and is commonly confused for Grouse mountain due to its proximity to the ski area.
We started off mid afternoon from the northern end of St. Mary's avenue in North Vancouver. The trail head starts here and after crossing the Powerline trail, and then the Baden Powell trail quickly starts to gain elevation. The total elevation gain from the trail head to the peak of Fromme is about 720 metres over roughly 5.5 km - a much easier ascent than Grouse grind.
On our way up we encountered dense mist passing through the trees, and common sightings of springboard notched stumps.
After finally reaching the summit we realized our views would be limited as the clouds hugged the North Shore mountains. We took a quick break and enjoyed our custom made sandwiches from Safeway, then proceeded to search for the continuation of our travels.
We were able to locate the trail starting from the North side of the mountain and working its way down into the valley below. Part way down the Mt. Fromme trail connected with the Erik the Red trail. Markings were clear and although a less traveled trail, the path was still clear and easy to navigate. We worked our way past a rocky stream and through a small boulder field that required a bit of navigation. From there we started working our way up a steep hill for another 300 metres on the other side of the valley which although challenging, ultimately took us to Thunderbird ridge.
As we finally crested the top of the trail, we were presented the option to go left back to Grouse mountain complex, or continue right to the end of Thunderbird ridge. Craving a glimpse of the back country, however realizing we were running low on time, we decided to grab a view at the end of the ridge.
The views, although cloudy were quite impressive, looking through layers of back country slopes through to the cities of Burnaby and Coquitlam. To the north of us deep in a valley below was Kennedy lake, barely visible at times due to the passing fog.
Once satisfied with our views, we continued west on the Thunderbird ridge where we ended up on the Alpine trail. With another two and a half km left and our sunlight running short, we made our best effort to work back to the Grouse mountain complex shortly after 9:00pm. We grabbed a protein drink, road the tram down and took a taxi back to the trailhead.
Overall I would do this hike again. Although challenging due to the collective elevation gain, provides a less traveled and unique experience in the Grouse area back country. On a clear day, Little Goat, Dam and Crown mountain's would be in sight, in addition to many other peaks that spot the North Shore mountain range.