Bucket List Item – Grouse Grind

So, when I mentioned that the climb up to Lake Agnes was ‘upity’ I was totally wrong.

I was delusional.

I had no idea what a real climb was.

Then I went and did the Grouse Grind:

2.9km pretty much straight up.

My evaluation of difficulty of the three walks mentioned on this page so far:

  • Lake Agnes – cake walk
  • Bluff Knoll – challenging, but doable
  • Grouse Grind – holy freakin’ crapola!

Honestly, I think when the memory is fresh – when you’ve just finished a big climb or walk – it seems really hard, but then fairly quickly, as the challenge is done and the body recovers, the mind goes, “eh, piece of cake, really.”

I bought this t-shirt at the top to commemorate the climb. Since it won’t turn right side up, here’s what it says:

  • Grouse Grind – North Vancouver, Canada
  • Length: 2.9km
  • Elevation Gain: 853 metres, 2,800 feet
  • Base: 274 metres above sea level (900 feet)
  • Summit: 1,127 metres (3,700 feet)
  • Total Stairs: 2,830
  • Average Time: 1.5-2 hours
  • Course Records: Male: 25:01, Female 31:04 (are you kidding me!?)
Grouse Grind Shirt

For some odd reason I can’t turn this photo right side up. Sorry about that.

Some of the photos are blurry, partly because it was so humid, the camera was fogging up. Also because I was shaky.

That happens.



There are makers along the way to let you know how far you’ve climbed. These are by ELEVATION, not by distance. Note that 1/4 of the way is already 1.1km. That’s because the bottom section is really quite flat, relative to the rest of the climb.






And then the jump to 1/2 way, only going another 400 metres or so, but it took us half an hour!





Almost there! It was about 30 minutes per quarter for us. We stopped lots, caught our breath, had a drink. It was challenging. And sticky humid!


I wish this photo had turned out better, it really shows the typical stairs, and the fact that you have to look UP to see where you’re going.


At the top! Just under 2 hours. I didn’t want Mat to get too close, he was way too sweaty 😛 hehehe



Now our new hiking boots are really worn in! 🙂 Good work boots!





If you’re feeling keen, you can buy a timer chip card thing, and clock in and out at the bottom and top of the climb. Very cool.

If I lived in Vancouver, I can totally see myself doing this routinely as part of my exercise training.

But the Grind is an odd climb: it’s renowned for it’s exercise, and the challenge of the climb, and not for the actual beauty of the climb.

So, when I started out, I started out with my usual gusto, and the aim of doing it in 1.5 hours. And Mat says to me, “Hey slow down! I don’t need a heart attack so you can get a check mark!”

Fair enough.

Maybe it doesn’t have the lookouts like Lake Louise, but I would like to encourage anyone who does aim to do the Grouse Grind one day to stop and look around every once in awhile, not just down at your feet: it really is a stunning place.

At the top there are a few little walks and some neat activities. Also, good news, there is food and drink at the top. So get a bite, and go look around the shops. Why not, right?

If you’re a tourist, and you have the time, I think it is worth paying the $39 to be able to see the bears, ride the gondola, the ski lifts, view the wind turbine and learn about the birds of prey. Oh yeah, and a lumberjack show!

We had no idea what we were doing, and were pleasantly surprised by the activities at the top. We paid to ride the ski lift ($6) and the gondola ($10). Mat had never been on either. And you kinda have to buy a gondola ticket, regardless, or it’d be a challenge to get back to your car at the bottom of the mountain 🙂

I also think the walk around the top of the mountain eased the ouch out of our muscles, because neither of us had DOMS the next day at all.

It was a really good day, we were both challenged, had fun, enjoyed being tourists and had a great workout too!

Our friend Jenny also did the climb this summer. Check out her recap here.

Have you ever done the Grind? What was your time?


7 responses to “Bucket List Item – Grouse Grind

  1. 2800 feet elevation is brutal and so are straight up climbs over boulders and tree roots. Lots of dangers to get injured. Then you have to get down again! Congrats on your climb – a lot to be proud about!!

  2. Great job! I’ve yet to make it up this season, but I love love love the grind. Combination of massive effort and the reward of a cold beer at the top.

    I’ll join you in doing it again next time you find yourself on this side of the Pacific. Or, if you’re here in the fall sometime, we could do the Lions hike (no down gondola though).

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