Mount Cheam Trail Report

Mike and I set out from my place in Port Coquitlam at 4:40am, and drove all the way past Chilliwack and down some back-roads.

We turned off onto the Chilliwack-Foley Forest Service Road at 6:10am. Now, I did my research on how to get to this hike, and I found very strong recommendations about using a good 4×4 vehicle – but I decided my Subaru Forester would be good enough…. it barely made it! After I finally mastered the technique of getting over the dozens of humps built into the road and stopped scraping my trailer hitch on the ground, my clutch decided to get sticky and it was difficult switching gears! Then after a while, the engine started smelling bad so we had to take a break half-way up. It took us an hour and 16 minutes to get from the road to the parking lot at the top! I want to re-enforce to anyone planning to do it to have a car with MORE clearance than mine for sure. I don’t think I want to try it again with my car…. I’ll find a friend with a truck!

The weather today was extremely questionable, as it was supposed to be cloudy and clear up into the morning. For this reason, I brought a whole bunch of gear in the car and just put together my day-back when I got up there and could analyze the weather conditions. It was drizzling light rain, and really foggy. There was only one other car in the parking lot when we kicked off from the parking lot at 7:34am. Within 15 minutes, we were in the beautiful alpine meadows already!

Now here comes the best part of our trip! A stream had melted out a large tunnel in a huge snow bank…! Although DANGEROUS, so much fun to walk through!

Past there, we hiked straight on up the meadows and saw two tents a bit later on! We reached the summit at 9:12am. Unfortuinately it was complete a white-out and we didn’t get any sort of view. I’ve seen the pictures online and I know I’m missing out on something amazing! On the plus side – it just means I get to come back and do the hike again sometime!

On our way down, we saw two people hiking up to the top – they were from the tents we passed on the way up. They looked a little shocked to see us coming down at 9:30am, haha! The next people we saw were down near the bottom of the valley. Surprisingly, there were 8 people coming up the trail really near each other – might have been one or two separate groups. We had some fun hiking back through the snow tunnel again, and made it back to the car at 10:59am.

The weather cleared up a bit by the time we got back to the parking lot, but it still was foggy around. Don’t think there would have been a view from the top still. There were five cars now, and a group of ATV/dirt bike guys who were taking a break from riding around. Down the road a few minutes, there were a few more vehicles from people who wouldn’t make it up the steepest part toward the end. I saw one guy walking, and the other folks on the trail said they drove up and then switched into their friends car for the end.

I got the technique for going over those big berms down quite good and only really hit my trailer hitch twice and my front bumper two or three times. None of my bits fell off and there was no damage to my vehicle, so I consider it a success! Just a few scrapes on the front bumper (as you can see in a photo below). However, as I said before, I’ll seriously debate going back up in that car. Even with great technique, it still took us a full hour to drive all the way to the bottom – I checked on my GPS, and we drove up a vertical kilometer.

Now for links! First, here’s our Google Maps track:

And then the full photo album (244 photos):

For directions, I printed out the trail report from Club Tread:

The descriptions for driving to the trail head and for the actual trail worked out great – although my GPS tracked it at 11.8 km instead of the 8.5 km from the report. I also, clocked the elevation gain at 905 meters instead of 715m. Strangely contrary to those stats, it recommended 4.5 hours return, and we did it in 3.5 hours.

Paul Romein

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One Response to “Mount Cheam Trail Report”

  1. Janusz Says:

    Hi Paul,
    Very nice informative report. We are heading there this Sat (09/18/2010) weather permitting. I can see you didn’t have a good weather. We go only if there will a good visibility and sunny day. Nice views are main attraction of this trip, so for us there would no point to go there if we couldn’t see it.
    I haven’t been in mountains for a while so I think it is a time to do something about it.

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