Lately I've been thinking more about doing minor peaks to get away from people and to do something different. Seeing SWBC Peak Bagger posts on my FB feed every day gives one the feeling that the mountains are crawling with people. Anyways, Mt. Pierce did not disappoint.
When I returned to Canada in 2010 to raise my family, one of the first hikes I did was Lindeman Lake with a toddler in the backpack. I'd never been down the Chilliwack River Valley before then (I'd lived mostly in Vancouver & Burnaby) and on the way back I saw a sign for the Pierce Lakes Trail. I returned on my own to hike that trail having done no research whatsoever. I only knew it lead to at least two lakes with Pierce in the name
I loved the feeling of the unknown, of discovery.
I'd been on that trail twice up to now. First time for MacFarlane, the second for MacFarlane and Crossover West (long day!). Today I was going for Pierce, and again I hadn't done any research. I wrongly presumed there was a decent trail up it similar to MacFarlane. There wasn't.
There is a trail leading east from Upper Pierce Lake but it quickly peters out around the time you get to see a small lake tucked into the east side of the ridge. Here there are two choices: (1) pass the lake on the east side and climb up the steep grassy east slopes of Pierce, and (2) double back and climb over the hump to the west of the lake and continue up Pierce along the apex of its north-south ridge. Here's a view looking north. The hump on the ridge is out of the picture to the left.
Long story short, the grassy slope looks good but is not. It's just a little too steep and a fall could have you tumbling quite a ways. Search out Steven Song's blog and you'll find he didn't like it either. I took option 2 and it was fine. You just need to get past some cliff bands by veggie belays off the krumholz, crawling through the thicket.
Stick to the apex as much as possible and you'll be fine. I saw a few cairns here and there and one flag. Any trail you see should be assumed to be a goat trail.
On the way down I tried to follow what trail I could find but it was a fools errand. I got into some steep terrain rather quickly, first on the west side, and then on the east. I ended up being forced down the gulley to the lake. Again, I highly recommend you stay on the apex.
Anyways, the cool thing about this trip is that the original summit register from 1948 is still there, and there are lots of pages left! Testament to how few visits this peak gets. Makes for interesting reading. Here's the first two pages and the last page (most recent visit was 2018!) ...
Oh yeah, the summit register is in a steel canister (original, I suppose, though it's not even rusted) that cannot be closed anymore. Looks like it's been secured with duct tape and electrical tape in the past. Maybe the next person can bring a replacement, though this one seems to have done the job well enough (I placed it upside down with the steel lid against a rock).