September 23, 2015
Chilliwack / Chilliwack Lake Road, BC
After a few trips along the Sea-to-Sky corridor I figured it’s the time to head east and explore the BC Cascades. Weather was in my favour on Wednesday showing rain anywhere north of Squamish but “a mix of sun and clouds” by Chilliwack and Hope. Having just done the long grind up Mt. Currie two days ago I wasn’t quite sure about my motivation but after talking to Alan Blair (Spectrum) from ClubTread I made a very last minute decision to join his trip. Mt. MacFarlane is one of the more popular objectives by Chilliwack Valley and also one of the only few in this region that don’t require driving on logging roads. It’s a good thing that we didn’t need 4×4 but on the other hand, it meant I had to once again grind all the way up from valley floor through the steep Coastal rainforest… Adding the nearby Mt. Pierce in the bag that’s another day with near 2000 vertical meters of height gain. Oh well…
By 7:30 am I met Al and his buddy from work, Mark, at the MacDonalds by Highway 1 and 264 street junction, and within an hour we’d already started the long and steep hike up Pierce Lake trail. Mark set up an blistering pace right at the start and after trying to keep up with him for about 20 minutes Al decided to take over the lead and slow down the pace. I felt very pleased about that as I was already sweating like hell. There’s not much to say about the trail to the lower Pierce Lake except for a boulder field followed by a section of elevation loss before crossing the creek to its east side. So after 1000 vertical meters of grind we arrived at the lake. Without having to descend to the lakeshore we followed the trail skirting around on the east side high above the water level, crossed a slide path and entered the forest again. The trail from here on degraded dramatically so I ditched sneakers and put my boots on.
There’s a surprise for us not far up on the trail and all I heard was a “Fuck” then Al and Mark started running uphill behind me. I didn’t know what the heck happened so ran together with him… Then I realized we just passed a wasp nest… I was in front and didn’t notice anything but Mark was the unlucky guy and got stung 5 times… Thankfully he wasn’t allergic to that. Higher up there’s a few short scrambling steps to traverse or ascend, and there’s even one fixed rope helping hikers out. In roughly an hour after passing the lower lake we made to the much-prettier upper Pierce Lake, with our first objective on the right side.
We took a necessary break and started the final 200 vertical meters of grind. There’s a trail/path along most of the way except for a few scrambling sections. One step was particularly wet making the slabs slippery. Shortly after we arrived at the top with the pointy Slesse Mountain stealing the show.
We took another long break on the summit but since we still had another peak to ascend we had to get going. Partway down Mt. MacFarlane Mark decided to forgo Mt. Pierce so Al and I speeded up and got down to the upper Pierce Lake in no time. The wet slab was still tricky and “crab-walking” was the key the make it reasonable.
Mt. Pierce didn’t look like an exciting objective, but since I was there already I had to give it a go. It didn’t look terribly long anyway and appeared like a nice little ridge walk.. Or maybe not…