Speeding over treetops at Mount Washington again an option

Guide Taz finishing the Runway - the final segment of the Eagle’s Flight ZipTour at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Scott Stanfield photoGuide Taz finishing the Runway - the final segment of the Eagle’s Flight ZipTour at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. Scott Stanfield photo
Eagle’s Flight ZipTour has opened at Mt. Washington. Photo suppliedEagle’s Flight ZipTour has opened at Mt. Washington. Photo supplied
Ziplining offers panoramic views from the top of the mountain. Photo suppliedZiplining offers panoramic views from the top of the mountain. Photo supplied
A pair of mountain bikers race underneath zipliners at Mt. Washington. Dave Silver photoA pair of mountain bikers race underneath zipliners at Mt. Washington. Dave Silver photo

Visibility was not ideal, and it was cold enough to cancel the first portion of the Eagle’s Flight ZipTour, June 6 at Mount Washington Alpine Resort.

Nevertheless, I was able to enjoy the fastest and longest rides of the four-line tour.

Was it worth the trip up the mountain? You bet it was.

Led by a pair of friendly guides, my group of four started at the Training Line, where we learned how to use the braking system to slow or maintain speed. We were then transported to the Hawk Chairlift, which took us to the bottom of the West Basin where the Holy Hawk line awaited us.

It’s only 15 metres off the ground, but the Holy Hawk is the fastest of the four lines with a 24 per cent grade. Luckily, by the time I was buckled in, the visibility had cleared to provide views of Strathcona Park to the south.

As I sped over treetops towards the platform, the wind caused me to swing to the left and to the right, which enabled 360 degrees of views, which in turn added to the fun.

It was a rush. Apparently, speeds can reach 100 km/h on the Holy Hawk.

Next up was Runway, the final and longest span at .72 kilometres, which allowed sufficient time to build up some serious speed en route to the roof of the Alpine Lodge. It might have been faster than Holy Hawk.

When it was over, we walked back to the lodge and took off our gear. As doing so, it started to snow sideways.

Had the weather been friendlier, we would have taken the Eagle Quad Chairlift to the peak of Mount Washington. A clear day features views of Campbell River and Quadra Island to the north, and Mount Albert Edward to the south. The first zipline is The Abyss, a half-kilometre cable with a vertical drop of 92 metres. The second, Cascade, is the second shortest span at 1,653 feet and a 14 per cent grade.

An added bonus to the day saw seeing a Vancouver Island marmot sitting on a mound of earth between Holy Hawk and Runway. He looked our way for several moments, then scattered out of sight as we descended the platform.

READ: Mount Washington opens on time, COVID-19 protocols in place

ZipTours are open weekends June 5-24, and daily June 25-Sept. 6. Tickets are $129 for adults. Youth 13-18 years, and seniors (65-plus) are $119. Children 10-12 years are $99.

For more information, visit www.mountwashington.ca

Scott Stanfield writes for the Comox Valley Record. For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

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