Oct. 12, 2019
4,349m total ascent
After having grown up in Chilliwack and hiked all around the area, particularly in the Chilliwack River Valley, I've finally hiked Cheam and it's SE neighbour Lady. Don't know why it took so long to do these two, probably because they are too "popular" and well traversed, and I generally prefer the less frequented trails.
Being a small car only owner, I knew that this hike would involve a long logging road trek in. As soon as we turned off Foley FSR, we were stopped by the first cross ditch. Started hiking just before sunrise, 6:45AM. The kms on the logging road sped by and we soon got a view of our first destination, Lady Peak.
By 9:30 we were at the Cheam trailhead/parking lot, 11.5km of hiking behind us. Short break, then started into the Spoon Valley.
Shortly after passing Spoon Lake, at the point where the Cheam trail veers left, we dropped our packs and headed up a gully towards Lady's NW ridge. Eventually we came across the occasional cairn that let us know we were on the right track, and we started getting great views to the south of the Border Peaks, Slesse, Baker, etc.
A look back at the Spoon Valley:
View towards the summit:
Lots of ptarmigan around (correct me if I've incorrectly ID'ed them):
Upon reaching the ridge we get some great views of Jones Lake:
Some views of the Fraser Valley:
And we get some great views of the Cascades to the North:
Conway and the ridge towards the Lucky Four Mine and Foley, with Knight, Stewart and Welch visible on right:
Knight Peak, again with Stewart and Welch:
The glacier dirrectly below the summit:
On the ridge the snow really varies a lot in depth due to the wind, with some places bare and others 3ft+ deep of powder. We continued along the ridge, with one member of the group opting to stay behind and wait for us, so the photo's from the summit were just taken with my phone. We stuck to the south of any possibile difficult areas, and away from the sheer drops facing Jones Lake.
On our way up:
View down the NE Colouir:
The small bowl just after you pass the notch that leads in to the above colouir was full of light powdery snow, more than 3ft deep. In sections, the rock was covered with thin clear ice.
Scrambling was easy, but a few sections were slightly dicey due to snow/ice buildup. The worst was at the little crux on the final scramble to the summit. We scrambled this on the North side, which had some exposure. I'm not sure if this is the usual route; it's not something I would blink at when dry, but I was cautious during this section due to the light/slippery snow cover.
Once on the summit, we had great view in all directions.
After a few minutes to absorb the view, we made our way back and down to where our backpacks, and lunches were. After having lunch we decided to continue and summit Cheam. We could have maintained a lot more elevation and limbed Cheam from the Lady-Cheam col, but our backpacks were lower so we had to lose quite a bit of elevation, which we were soon gaining again.
On the way up Cheam:
The summit was quickly and easily gained, with great views.
Looking back at Lady and the rest of the Cheam Range:
Stayed on the summit for a while, and then had to start at a quick pace down to get to our car and back to Chilliwack. A long day with a lot of distance covered, but a fantastic trip.