Route: Snow-covered trail (snowshoes)


TR #: 340

Category: British Columbia/Alberta       Summit Elev: Zupjok (1,835 m / 6,020 ft); Llama (1,914 m / 6,280 ft) 

Partners: Marty and Sue Abegg

Another glorious day snowshoeing on the Coquihalla.

My parents snowshoeing to the summit of Zupjok Peak.


Winter 2018-19 had become the winter of snowshoeing adventures up in BC with my mom. This was partially motivated by the fact that in a few months I would be moving about 1,400 miles further away from my parents (moving to Colorado to start a PhD at CU Boulder!); but then once we had done a couple of snowshoes in BC, we became somewhat obsessed to check out more of what this winter paradise has to offer. On this particular Saturday in early March, my mom and I decided to do another snowshoe on the Coquihala (we had already enjoyed The Flatiron and Zoa earlier that winter). The forecast was for sunny skies and stable snow, so it was bound to be a glorious day. We convinced my dad to join as well. Yay!

The destination for the day was Zupjok Peak, a small summit just above the highway just west of Yak Peak. From the top of Zupjok, one can continue along the undulating ridge for a couple of kilometers to Llama Peak and from there a couple of more kilometers to Alpaca Peak. The out and back round trip all the way to Alpaca is a popular summer hike, and is about 20 km. We made it to the summit of Zupjok in about 2.5 hours, and began romping along the ridge towards Llama. Although sunny, it was bitter cold with a strong wind, and my parents decided to stop shortly after Zupjok at a sheltered spot in the sun and enjoy a relaxing lunch while I continued on and tagged the summit of Llama. I returned to rejoin them for the hike out. We all had a wonderful day.

This route boasts spectacular 360° views of Thar, Nak, and Yak to the east; Bombtram, Great Bear, and Iago to the south; Anderson River group to the west; Vicuna and Guanaco to the north; and the Coquihalla Highway far below.

Interesting fact: The peaks in this area are named after various mountain ruminants such as Thar, Yak, Nak, Vicuna, Guanaco, Alpaca, Llama, Zupjok, Zopkios, and Zoa. A zupjok is the male offspring of a cattle bull and a female yak (nak).

The following page gives a short trip report for wonderful day snowshoeing with my parents high above the Coquihalla. 


gpx file
GPS track.
(GAIA map screenshot)
GPS track.
(Google Earth screenshot)
GPS track.

Round trip TH to Llama, GPS track: 16.1 km / 10.0 mi;  +/- 990 m / 3,250 ft

~6.5 hours (6 hours moving time, 30 minutes stopped time)
TH to Zupjok: 2:24
Zupjok to Llama: 1:06
Llama to TH: 3:00


Parking at the Zopkios Rest Area. Yak Peak above. The two people in the photo aren't my parents, by the way. Just random skiers who had no idea their gearing up routine was soon to be posted online.
Yak Peak. Yak has several rock climbs. I've done the popular Yak-Check route in July 2017. This route was fun and mellow. In the winter, it would be pretty intense.
Starting the snowshoe off the west end of the parking area.
You can see the first objective (Zopjok) from the start of the route.
An avalanche awareness sign near the start of the route.
Hiking up the logging road which makes up the first few kilometers of the day.
The ascent up Zopjok is mostly treed, but the views start to open up in the final 500 feet or so. Across the way are Needle Peak and The Flatiron. Five weekends previous to this trip, my mom and I had a glorious day of snowshoeing to the top of The Flatiron.
Nearing the summit of Zopjok. 
Trees and snowdrift. There were several indications that this is a windy area.
View along the ridge towards Llama Peak and Alpaca Peak from the summit of Zupjok Peak.
Wind-sculpted ridge between Zupjok and Llama.
View along the ridge towards Alpaca Peak from the summit of Llama Peak. My parents had decided to stop shortly after Zupjok, so I just went to the summit of Llama and then turned around. It had taken me 1 hour to get from the summit of Zupjok to Llama, so I figured at this pace it would have taken about 45 more minutes to get to the top of Aplaca.
Anderson River Peaks to the east, as seen from summit of Llama. Steinbok Peak on left with Ibex Peak, Les Cornes, and Chamois Peak behind. I climbed the classic Springbok Arete in August 2016; Springbok Arete is the striking south prow of Les Cornes between Ibex Peak and Chamois Peak; it is a great climb.
Vicuna Peak and Guanaco Peak to the north.
A view back along the ridge towards Zupjok, from the summit of Llama. This area is just such awesome snowshoeing terrain.
An unnamed bump along the ridge between Zupjok and Llama.
Zupjok as seen on my return trip from Llama.
I met back up with my parents where they had stopped on the ridge just after Zupjok. They found a sheltered, sunny spot to have lunch with a view while they waited for me.
Heading back towards Zupjok. The lighting was superb and I took as many photos as my frozen fingers would allow. I couldn't decide on one photo I liked best, so I included a few.
One last look back at the ridge to Llama and Alpaca. Plus a nice shot of my dad snowshoeing.
Heading down. Needle Peak in the distance.
I stayed at my parents' place that night. My cat Mandy lives there (she's as much my parents' cat as mine, of course!) and helped me write my trip report. She never learned to sit like a normal cat.