Knight Peak

October 19, 2021


Chilliwack, BC

Knight Peak is one of the easier summits in the otherwise, rugged Cheam Range not far from Chilliwack. The standard route is nothing fancier than a “plod” via the south slopes. There’s even a trail that facilitates the access to the alpine even though the quality of this trail kind of sucks. This peak is usually done together with “Baby Munday North” and “Stewart Peak” in summer time as suggested in Matt Gunn’s scrambles book, but Knight Peak itself can also be a good winter objective for those capable of winter mountaineering. I always thought I’d eventually do this peak in winter or spring but in the end I opted for this so-called “shoulder season” conditions when there’s already snow to enhance the scenery but not enough to warrant the use of snowshoes. A few months earlier I had visited this area for a climb of the true summit of Baby Munday Peak. The access road (Airplane Creek FSR) was as bad as advertised by everyone else, but I thought there’s a decent chance that my Tacoma could make all the way to the trail-head.

The Tuesday of this week had the only sunny weather in a while but the conditions were a bit uncertain. Ben and Elise were also planning to head out and we eventually settled on Knight Peak with the possible extension towards Stewart Peak. I was hoping for more than just Knight Peak but I did not want to sell the trip that way because I was not 100% sure about the conditions on the harder neighbours with the fresh snow. To compensate the various uncertain factors we agreed to wake up early. By 5:30 am I had picked up Ben and Elise from Abbotsford and within an hour we were already on the forestry roads. The Foley Creek FSR was worse than I remembered. Asides the zillions of pot-holes there were also numerous large and deep water puddles such that my truck was pushing bow waves across. The Airplane FSR was pretty much like what I remembered from two months ago, with the exception that this time I was the driver. I did scrape the rear bumper while driving across the crux ditch but otherwise it did not impose any problem to my truck. However, the going was very slow and the entire FSR driving had taken us over an hour.

Knight Peak and Stewart Peak standard routes. GPX DL

At the trail-head we could finally see our objectives and the surroundings and we made the final decision to abandon snowshoes. The amount of snow in the alpine eventually turned out to be more than we thought, but leaving the snowshoes behind was overall a good call. We parked the truck just when it’s bright enough to not need head-lamps. I opted to wear the trail-runners on the initial few kilometers up the deactivated portion of this road because I knew how bushy it would become and how wet the bushes were. We indeed got thoroughly socked just from hiking this stretch. After crossing Airplane Creek I ditched the shoes and swapped for my second pair of footwear, the Trango Tech mountaineering boots. For the next 600 m elevation we would be facing a very steep grunt straight up into the treeline zone. The trail was more of a “route” that even contained a few spots of scrambling but since there was a trail overall we would not complain. The bushwhacking in this area would suck a big time, otherwise. The views opened up nicely at the treeline and upon reaching the trail junction we picked the left branch that aimed towards Knight Peak.

One of the openings on the initial FSR plod
The typical trail conditions on the deactivated FSR..
As you can see, the trail was bushy and very wet…
Elise crossing Airplane Creek on a nicely placed log..
The steep and relentless grunt
Baby Munday Peak from the treeline where we took the first break

Immediately after the trail junction we started to encounter fresh snow but the depth was thin. The thin snow covered the heather making some slippery conditions. Above 1850 m elevation we started a section of undulating traverse into and across a few gullies to cut into the broad valley that eventually would lead us towards Knight/Baby Munday col. We did not plod all the way to the col and instead, we veered left to get onto the broad SE slopes of Knight Peak.

Elise plodding up into the alpine
We were on continuous snow at this point
Elise with Slesse Mountain behind
Mt. Laughington in the foreground. Oddly enough I haven’t done it yet..
Knight Peak with the SE Slopes on the right side
Evidence of melt-freeze and rain events in the last few days
The typical terrain while traversing onto the SE slopes of Knight Peak

The snow depth had increased and the snow condition was mostly supportive, but we still would post-hole on wherever it’s thin or close to rocks. The final ascent to the summit ridge of Knight Peak involved fair amount of post-holing. To reach the true summit we had to traverse a short stretch along the ridge with some huge drop-off to the north side.

Elise plodding up on Knight Peak’s lower slopes
Ben plodding ahead. As you can see the route was very easy.
Looking back at the three summits of Baby Munday Peak
Ben high up on Knight Peak
Summit Panorama from Knight Peak. Click to view large size.
Elise arriving at the summit of Knight Peak
Welch Peak looms behind Baby Munday Peak
This is looking 2000 m down into Fraser Valley and Harrison Lake
Elise with Stewart Peak behind, our next objective
Ben on the summit of Knight Peak
This is just a lower extension of Knight Peak
Elise’s turn to stand on the very summit of Knight Peak
Lady Peak and Cheam Peak
Me on the summit of Knight Peak with Jones Lake below
Our group shot on the summit of Knight Peak

It’s at this point that we decided to extend the trip towards “Baby Munday North” and Stewart Peak so after about half an hour on the summit we started the descent. We took advantage of continuous snow patches wherever we could, and linked up several short glissades. In short time we were halfway down the SE slopes of Knight Peak. Instead of descending all the way into the gully between Knight Peak and Baby Munday Peak we opted to side-hill across some snow and loose rocks to Knight/Baby Munday col. From there we would aim for the col between the north and central summits of Baby Munday Peak and that eventually would give us the passage towards Stewart Peak.

Me posing on another pinnacle on the ridge
Time to plunge down onto the SE slopes
Elise glissading. It’s that time of a year again!
Down to Knight/Baby Munday col, looking ahead..