Every summer my wife and I attempt to relive a part of our youth by ascending the now world famous Grouse Grind. It has become a little more well known this year, but more about that later.
We took the day off work and made an effort to slow down and connect with one another. After breakfast, coffee, water, and a long stretch we started our climb. The trail was quite wet throughout because of the previous days' rain, but we've seen it much worse before. Even still we actually beat our time from the previous year by a couple of minutes.
Amazingly, Outside Magazine ran an article listing it as one of the 10 most dangerous hikes in the world. Seriously!?!? Here is what they say:
There are dozens of beautiful hikes around Vancouver, British Columbia. The Grouse Grind isn’t one of them. The short trail gains 2,800 feet in just 1.8 miles, including 2,830 stairs, making it one of the steepest trails anywhere. Which is why mountaineers and fitness freaks use it for training. The problems come when the unprepared take on the Grouse.
Since 1999, three people have died on the trail, and a big percentage of the 80 technical rescues the North Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services performs each year take place on the Grind when winded hikers take a tumble, poop out, or lose their way as night falls. The trail is so grisly it often takes 12 rescuers to get a hiker off the mountain.
Most of us locals just cringed at this reference. It reminded me of the time the Vancouver Whitecaps were playing a NASL playoff game against New York and Jim McKay from ABC referenced the city as the Village of Vancouver. What are you going to do?
The Grouse Grind is dangerous in the same way that climbing the stairs in the Empire State Building is dangerous: if you have a pre-existing health concern (e.g. heart problems), you may not want to go from having not exercised for the past two years to making a go of it!
Anyway, one fitness star (who must have too much time on his hands) recently climbed the Grind 16 times ... on the same day! Maybe the Grind is dangerous in the sense that it will have people return to climb it in an addictive fashion.
In case you have not done the Grind before, this is all you need to know: it is a hike straight up the south side of Grouse Mountain that can take anywhere from 25 minutes (for the uber-fit and ambitious) to A LOT LONGER depending on your fitness. DO pack water and a snack, stretch, and be ready to work hard. DO NOT wear jeans, heels, or bring a purse (bring at least $10 per person for the tram down! … or more if you plan on having food and drink at the top).
And lastly, our Matt Damon sighting from 2011 came full circle. Back then when we saw him at the top of the mountain he was shaved bald for a film role. That movie, Elysium, finally came out this summer and although its gotten some bad reviews, it looks like it is worth watching. We are going to have to take another day off work to see it sometime!
Jeff Ross, MA RCC
Jeff is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and sees clients in Vancouver (Yaletown) and North Vancouver, BC, Canada. He supports individuals with such issues as depression, anxiety, stress management, relationship issues, grief and bereavement, career and educational issues as well as growth and development. In addition he also does couples counselling / marriage counselling.
If you have a comment or question about this post or any other, please feel free to join the discussion or send him a private and confidential email. Let us know what Resonates with you!