Mt Macfarlane 26/07/09

Peter on Mt Macfarlane:
“Lucy, Kevin, Luke, Pavel, Sebastian, Irina, Nikita, Katherine, Hurrian, Jeff and I had an outstanding trip summiting Mount Macfarlane on July 28. The morning drive to Chilliwack was not promising, as we went through fog and cloud. However, 5 km past Chilliwack, we emerged into sunny, clear skies that stayed with us the whole day. We set out on the trail shortly after 10am, and set a fast pace as we climbed steadily to Pierce Lake. The trail is well-marked, filled with switch backs, a boulder field, creek crossings and undulating forest. We emerged onto a steep clearing (created by avalanches), thick with bushes and wildflowers. 20 meters below was the large and enticing Pierce Lake, and cool views of the surrounding mountains and Mt Macfarlane. We pushed onwards, navigating some muddy sections through Pierce Meadows, and soon saw the spectacular falls running down the 100m headwall that creates the upper lake. The trail approaches the headwall by running up a cleft in a set of forested cliffs. Well-placed, sturdy ropes and strong roots help the hiker scale this section. We emerged from this cleft and faced a steep gully of loose small-medium sized boulders. Stay to the right of the boulder field and hike along the forested border. Flagging tape can be found intermittently on low-lying bushes. Near the top of the field, avoid the flagged trail that branches left and crosses the boulders (to Mount Pierce?). Stay on the flagged trail that veers right and climbs over a steep shoulder of the forest. We popped out onto a beautiful, slightly-inclined, heather-filled plateau just below the waterfall. The trail stays left of the waterfall, mounts the headwall and greets you with a beautiful alpine lake sitting high in the mountain cirque. The water is cobalt blue, aquamarine and crystal clear: like a tropical paradise. A few perfect camping spots to be had. After a short break, we pushed on up the well-marked, steep trail that follows a ridge to the top of Mt. Macfarlane (minimal exposure, but more difficult if conditions are wet). We reached the summit in 4.5 hours! Spectacular weather and views, and hard to leave. Retracing our steps, we spent more time at the upper lake, carefully descended the steep boulder field, and had an amazing swim in Pierce Lake led by Kevin and Lucy. The day was capped off with a celebratory ‘feeding and watering’ at a local pub. Fantastic hike and fantastic people!”

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