Mount Thom

February 22, 2018


Chilliwack, BC

Mt. Thom is one of those low-elevation forest bumps in Fraser Valley that barely triggers any interest out of me. I reserved this one to hike with someone who doesn’t do a lot of mountain trips. The reason is simple. Unlike many other forested hills this one actually offers some nice views and the hike is entirely done on a maintained trail. There’s no bushwhacking and the trip is supposed to be a “type 1 fun” kind of outing. There are two ways to reach the summit of Mt. Thom and I picked the longer one from Sylvan Drive with about 300 m of elevation gain.

The forecast for this past Thursday was golden everywhere in SW BC but the spooky avalanche conditions and the low-elevation snow meant some conservative choices had to be taken. I also had to work on Thursday afternoon and that further limited what’s possible. However, the weather was too good to pass so I called Julia W. and she agreed to join me on this short hike.. The drive out of Surrey wasn’t very inspiring with the volume of traffic and a sheet of black ice on all but the major roads. Even with the trusty Tacoma I had to pay extra attention. The traffic improved significantly after passing Langley and then another half an hour later we arrived at the trail-head.

Mt. Thom from Sylvan Drive. GPX DL

I didn’t do a lot of homework about this trail and to my surprise it’s actually very well signed. After about two junctions the trail narrows down to “single-lane traffic” traversing around the north-west side of the hill. There’s compacted snow and ice from the start but the grade was mellow enough that microspikes weren’t required. There’s some up-and-downs though along one of the benches but to us that just means more exercise.

The start of this hike. Nice and wide trail…

This is along the long traverse due NW.

My favourite shot from this trip..

Already good views through the woods.

Still somewhere along that traversing bench.

Onto the north side now. The trail gets wider again.

The sun shinning through the trees.

After a while we had traversed to the north side of the “peak”. We turned right upon hitting another junction and then the trail ascends on the edge of NE Ridge with some views down into Fraser Valley and Cultus Lake here and there. The summit was reached sooner than expected and one advantage of hiking Mt. Thom on a cold weekday morning is that we had the summit to ourselves for about an hour. There’s even a sitting platform which was just perfect.

Hiking up the upper trail.

Almost at the top. Nice to have sunshine even in the forest…

I wasn’t expecting to see Cultus Lake from this viewpoint

The urban area of Chilliwack is huge…

A zoomed-in shot of Sumas Mountain

Another view of Chilliwack and Fraser Valley

Eventually it’s time to descend so that I wouldn’t miss the afternoon work. Hiking down was fast and fun and microspikes were again, not required although a couple steep stretches required some caution.

Time to hike down.. 

The drive back was uneventful except for that Waze app directed me onto some weirdo small roads again that I had absolutely no idea about. After quite a few twists and turns I found myself driving westwards down 16th Ave.. The traffic started to get heavy again once entering the urban areas but I wasn’t late at work.