Boris on Cheam and Lady Peaks:
“Ida, Kevin, and I hiked the incredible Cheam (2112 m) and Lady (2178 m) Peaks in the Cheam range between Chilliwack and Hope. The weather was sunny and quite warm for late September, especially at this alpine altitude. The Cheam trail was moderately busy, with about a dozen others along the trail to Cheam, although Kevin and I were the only ones going up Lady and only Kevin made it the last ten minutes to the very top of Lady.
After climbing up a logging road in awful condition, the Jeep scraping bottom a few times (cars don’t have sufficient ground clearance to go up here), the actual trail to Cheam was in great condition. On the other hand, the trail up Lady was pretty much non-existent, with a few cairns giving guidance in some portions. Due to the need to scramble up rubble that constantly slides under one’s feet and causes frequent rockfalls, the best path is not consistent over time so additional markings would likely not be suitable in any case. We got a recommendation to go up along the ridge, though that resulted in bushwhacking which we could have avoided. The best route seems to be somewhat further from the ridge and closer to the snow banks. Scrambling and grabbing at heather is unavoidable. Reaching the part of the ridge that is on the order of a 100 m from the peak itself, the route becomes quite exposed as it’s nearly a vertical drop on the other side for most of the 2 km down to the valley floor.
The views from both peaks are absolutely stunning. Here’s a link to a public album on Facebook of the photos I took (excuse the poor cellphone camera quality).
Borislav at the Lions:
“Cindy, Keshia, Kevin, Peter, and I hiked the Binkert Lions Trail from Lions Bay. The weather was sunny and quite warm for September, with the only downside being the lack of a breeze. It was fairly busy, and we saw at least a couple dozen others along the trail and perhaps a dozen going up the peak itself.
The trail was in mostly good condition, except for a couple of rockslides in the creek crossing areas, and sometimes inconsistent markers in the wooded section where most of the elevation gain is. I did not go up the West Lion itself, but Keshia and Kevin did and did not mention any issues with the scrambling way up. The fixed rope at the drop just before the peak seems to have been replaced by a much stronger one compared to the one from my previous trip here a couple of years ago.
A number of hikers had taken the Howe Sound Crest trail, and the trip times they gave were comparable to those for the Binkert trail, despite the longer distance, perhaps due to the lower elevation gain. The optimal way to experience the Lions may be to start with Howe Sound Crest and go down Binkert afterwards.”
Steve at Nicomen Lake:
“The Nicomen Lake trail has 2 potential purposes, and a nice hike is not one of them. At 17+ km each way on a featureless trail I can only recommend walking this trail if you are a) really into fishing and want a guaranteed catch of many fish or b) as the exit point for the Heather Trail so that you don’t have to backtrack (instead of hiking 23 km back the way you came you could have left a car at Cayuse Flats).
Were it not for the excellent conversationalists that joined my callout (Jangwon and Darren), this trail would have been even more tedious. The lake itself is nice, and the camping area on its edge – brilliant – but this is no Wedgemount, or even Garibaldi. We did hike to the ridge in the morning which was worth it, but if you were hiking the Heather Trail this is how you would approach your final campsite anyways.
This was a slog as evidenced by 6 sore feet and matching legs. The trail is groomed, Garibaldi style, so at no point is it “steep”, just really really long and uphill the whole way there (leaving was far more enjoyable but still long!).”
Steve on Williams Ridge:
“I’ll try any trail in 103 Hikes once. Some more than once, but probably not this one. Although it wasn’t as painfully steep as the book suggests, the payoff was not worth the 1400m climb to the knoll and knee-knackering descent. However, the trip has other assets that made it a worthwhile day out. The forecast had called for rain but it did not. Wild blueberries were abundant. And the cloud did break enough for us to see what views were there, at first I thought all we’d see was grey nothingness. I was also lucky enough to hike with 4 people I’ve had the pleasure of hiking with before over the years (Do, Grace, Kevin, and Robert) and that gave us a chance to catch up and sharing the experience together is always a nice byproduct of these trips. I think MAYBE if you were doing the peak proper, and on a Summer day, and in damn good shape this trail would be worth doing using Matt Gunn’s Scrambles book, but why this particular hike had endured all 6 editions of 103 hikes (yes, back to 1973!), while others more worthy had come and gone, I cannot explain. The only GPS waypoint we needed was the trailhead, nothing beyond that presented a problem.”
Evgeny on the Semaphore Lakes peaks circuit:
“When I made a call out, Vlad (one of my companions on this adventure) proposed to make an extra detour to bag also Handcar Mountain if the time would allow. So the plan was settled to climb Face Mountain, then proceed along the ridge to Faceless Mountain, then optionally to make a detour to Handcar Mountain, which is a bit on the side and about 1.4 km straight to the southwest of Faceless, and get back to the ridge between Faceless and Caboose Mountains, then continue to Caboose, Tender, and Locomotive Mountains before descending to the lakes and getting back to the car.
Due to the long driving to the place in the early morning, three of us started hiking at 8:13 am and reached Semaphore Lakes at 9:00 am. From the lakes we headed to Face Mountain crossing a creek in the process. Scrambling Face was fun and in the morning it was warm and sunny to provide some spectacular views on the Train Glacier and the Locomotive Mountain. Route finding is rather straight forward if you are following the book description or a guy who’s been there before. 🙂 At 11:45 we’ve gotten to the top of Face and enjoyed a food break with some amazing views of the surrounding area.
The weather deteriorated a bit and as we started scrambling along the ridge towards Faceless Mountain. It became really cold at some point and we had to put jackets on to prevent freezing. We left Faceless summit rather fast and two of us headed to Handcar Mountain and one stayed to rest on the ridge. Me and Vlad went initially over the ridge between Faceless and Handcar. It was a lot of scrambling but, at the end, we had to descent all the way down the valley. It was a scree fest. Vlad was blazing through it and I was lagging behind. Nevertheless, we summitted Handcar. The weather improved and the sun showed up once again. Vlad went ahead to provide Colin, who stayed on the ridge, company while I was catching up. Amazingly phones worked in the area and Colin managed to call me to ask what’s taking us so long.
After I finally ascended to the ridge and joined the group the remaining 3 peaks were easy with small elevation changes. We summitted Locomotive, the last summit of the group, at 6:20 pm. After a short break there we descended back to the lakes trying to use snow for fast boot-skiing and butt-sliding. We’ve got to the lakes right before the sunset. When it became very dark we already were withing 10 min hike from the car.
At 8:45 pm we were back at the parking spot. The hike itself took us about 12 hours 30 minutes from car to car.
A more detailed report and images can be found on Live Trails.