Gwendoline Peak

June 9, 2022


Maple Ridge, BC

Not to be confused with the majestic Gwendoline Mountain in the Purcells that I climbed in 2015, this “Gwendoline Peak” is a rather dumpster-dive in the Fraser Valley. The name is not even officially-assigned and the only attraction is the ~400 m prominence. The summit is entirely forested offering no view whatsoever and on top of that, one has to hike over 10 km on mostly FSRs just to get in. The entire area is fenced off by Malcolm Knapp Research Forest such that motorized access, bikes or even dogs are strictly prohibited. I don’t think they even appreciate us to hike in the zone but at least it’s allowed. The FSRs in the vicinity are actively maintained so it’s somehow frustrating having to walk 20+ km on those roads but I don’t think there’s a better way to do this peak.

Matt made the suggestion on Thursday and I checked the weather forecast and it was calling for 20+ mm of rain. I also needed to be back home in time for work and I was still exhausted from the all-nighter push we just did on Rhododendron Mtn. on Tuesday. But then I checked the detailed forecast and the rain was not supposed to come until noon, so I reached out to Holly and to my surprise she actually wanted to come. The three of us together had a shit ton of time constraints but we managed to make it work in the end by agreeing to all drive out separately to meet at the trail-head at 6:30 am. The weather forecast of course downgraded at the last minute so now the entire hike was subjected to rain, but whatever. The drive to Malcolm Knapp Research Forest was the shortest for me so I had about half an hour’s extra sleep. I ended up showing up 10 minutes late and the others were concerned.

“Gwendoline Peak” via Gwendoline Lake trail. GPX DL

Matt said there’s at least some trails to take at the beginning of the hike so we did about 2 km of that, adding probably 1 km extra distance into the already-long plod. We then had no choice but to plod onto the road and then it was at least 2 hours’ plodding to the base of the peak. There’s very little worth documenting asides that the rain came even earlier than expected. To attain the summit Matt led us sasquatching straight up through the steep forest, which in my opinion definitely saved some time. We ended up attaining the summit while staying inside the mature forest. The true summit seemed to be wrongly labelled on the maps and was the more southern one among the few contenders.

Me and my truck arriving at the parking lot.
Matt led us onto some singletrack trails at the beginning
Road’s closed? For what…
We plodded past a smaller lake that’s not Gwendoline Lake
Matt led us into the forest taking short-cut as usual
Holly following up
Matt sasquatching across a field of pick-up-sticks
Holly down-scrambling onto a high spur road that wasn’t even shown on my maps
Me and Holly scrambling upwards and onward
Matt following me taking a scrambler’s route for more fun
Holly scrambling the only hands-on section
Matt and Holly reaching the true summit without realizing this was actually the top
We then took a long break at the map’s “summit” which was clearly a bit lower
Our group shot on the summit of “Gwendoline Peak”

We decided to thrash down through the cut-block onto the highest spur road to finish a loop descent. This short stretch of thrashing was not very fun – level 3/4 and wet. If I were to do it again I would just retrace our ascent track instead. We made a few more short-cuts down the switchbacks and then spontaneously decided to hike down to Gwendoline Lake. Holly and I then spontaneously decided to jump in for a swim. We were already socked from the rain and the bushwhacking so it really didn’t matter that much. We then power-walked the whole way back in increasingly heavy rain and this trip turned out to become one of the rainiest hikes I’ve ever done. Our round trip time was about 5 hours taking in account of everything.

The bushwhacking through the secondary growth to get back onto the roads
We couldn’t even see each other being only 2 meters apart
Finally back onto the road and it was already started to rain steadily
Passing another little tarn…
Taking more short-cuts on the descent
Matt went in to test this floating dock.
Holly taking a dip in Gwendoline Lake
Another photo of Holly swimming… I went in afterwards as well…
Power-walking the 10+ km FSR on the way home…
Massive graders went past us multiple times. Why we couldn’t even bike this?
The forest was kind of cool though.