The objective today was to explore the original trail up to Cheam Peak that comes up the Fraser Valley facing side, starting from the Bridal Falls FSR. Our goal was to try to reach the summit, though I wasn't sure if we would make it in the time we had due to trail conditions. Turned out that since the trail was unmarked, quite overgrown in places and also partially recontoured we didn't even make it to the ridge. Here's a map with the trail (yellow) and the part we hiked (red border):
Just a brief summary of the trip with photos:
5:23 AM - Started hiking at the bottom of the Bridal Falls FSR.
7:08 AM - Started on the actual Cheam trail (49°10'20.84"N 121°43'54.09"W). Up to the Anderson Valley, the trail varied in "quality"; in some places it was pretty good while in others it was overgrown and difficult to follow. At one point (49°10'21.23"N 121°43'25.84"W) we got confused about the direction of the trail; it seemed (to us) to continue in the direction that it had been going when instead there was a sharp switchback. Needless to say, we wasted a fair bit of time there trying to locate a trail where one didn't exist. Other than that, it was mostly just a matter of following the tree swath and bushwhacking.
10:30 AM - Reached the Anderson Valley. Just before, we saw "Cheam" with an arrow spraypainted onto the rock. There were also some great views of the Fraser Valley just before turning in to Anderson.
The views of Cheam from here were great, but the photos turned out overexposed due to the sun:
Shortly after turning south along the valley, the road became one long Alder thicket, with some devil's club mixed in for good measure. We bushwhacked through (sans machete) for about 40 minutes or so, coming fairly close to the south end of the valley where the road turns (49°10'33.22"N 121°42'50.87"W). By that time we were ready to have lunch and knew there was no way we'd make it to the peak today, so the majority vote was that we should turn around.
12:44 PM - Started heading back down again (after lunch).
2:25 PM - Reached the end of the Cheam trail at Bridal Falls FSR. I ended up doing a good bit of the way down without one of my shoes, as it got badly damaged on one of the slidy sections. It wasn't much of a problem until the gravel FSR.
An interesting hike with some unpleasant sections, but overall quite enjoyable. Lots of bear and deer scat on the trail, but nothing very fresh, and we didn't see much wildlife at all. I had planned on flagging the route on the way down, but managed to lose my roll of flagging tape, probably in the alder.
According to Google Earth, the statistics were (roughly): distance 16km, elevation gain 1170m.