Grouse Mountain can be seen from most of Vancouver, in fact we could see the lights at the top from the road we were staying on in Strathcona. In the winter it is a popular local ski ‘hill’ but has become increasingly popular with day trippers in the summer. In fact the local guy we met whilst zip-lining told us that the mountain now makes more money in the summer than it does in the winter.
There are two ways up the mountain – the easy way and the hard way. The hard way involves taking on the famous ‘Grouse Grind’, a 2.9km trail up the face of the mountain. Now 2.9km is not very far, but with an elevation gain of 853m it is said to be a very tough hike and Stewart decided that I wasn’t fit enough to take it on after Tunnel Mountain in Banff. I am however determined to do it if we end up back in Vancouver to prove him wrong!
So we took the Skyride to the top, where it was pretty chilly but there were plenty of people around in shorts and t-shirts who had clearly just done the grind – a sign that we had made the right choice.
Once at the top of the mountain we followed the footprints to find the two grizzly bears that call Grouse Mountain their home. The bears, Grinder and Cooler, were both found orphaned in 2001, so were taken in and now form part of the attraction. We watched them playing and lazing around in the sun, pleased that we are yet to come across any of these guys this close in the wild – they are huge with incredibly large and scary looking claws.
It was here that we learnt a great way of remembering what to do when encountering a bear:
‘If it’s black, fight back’
‘If it’s brown, lie down’
‘If it’s white, good night’
The main reason we went to Grouse Mountain was to experience the ziplines, which were on the top of my Canadian bucket list. There are five ziplines in total, and we started off on the easy short one and worked our way up to the biggest ones at a height of 70m and length of 460m. These actually took us off Grouse Mountain and over to the neighbouring mountain. By this point though, the weather had turned and we could barely see a few metres in front of us let alone the end of the line! This did mean that we missed out on the view but the clouds brought their own eerie experience.
If the embedded video doesn’t work you can view it on YouTube here.
It was a lot of fun! We learnt from our guides, who were both English, that the ziplines over at Whistler are even longer so will definitely be adding those to our to do list!
Now the only real downside of our day was getting off the mountain! You aren’t meant to walk down the Grouse Grind so that means everyone has to take the skyride back down. Take one of the last sunny days of the green season, add a cable car closed for maintenance leaving just the smaller one in use, and you get a very long wait.