This turned out to be one heck of an epic hike!!!
At 4am we headed off to Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park. We saw that the gate was closed from 10pm-8am and figured we’d be back well before 10pm and it just so happened the gate was open, so we went in and parked in the day parking area (it’s just before the boat launch). It was still dark, but it was starting to get light. We started off on our hike at 6.05am. We went over the footbridge over the Chilliwack River. It was a flattish trail along the river and then we started to switchback up. We went over rooty trail, pebbly trail, under logs, over logs, swampy/muddy bits of the trail, there were two stream crossings where you walked over planks or a log. There were sections of devils club, some of the trail was overgrown. It was STEEP. After 8.5kms we were at Radium Lake.
The trail to Radium Lake
At Radium lake they have a few bear caches and they’re putting in pit toilets. We took a 15 min break at Radium Lake and then headed up to the col between Mount Webb and Macdonald Peak (took us about 1 and 1/4 hour to get there). We reached a scree and made our way up. Last time we were here, there was snow! There was a lot of sand I kept slipping on, so I stuck to stepping on rocks as much as I could.
The trail past Radium Lake up to the Col between Mount Webb and Macdonald Peak:
We got to the col at 10.30am. Last year it had taken us 6 hours, this time it took us 4 1/2 hours! We took a 15 minute break at the col and then headed up Mount Webb. It wasn’t an easy hike up. Lots of slippery stones and loose sand. Had to use my hands to lift myself up in sections. I never felt like I was in danger as there was no exposure. It took 45 mins to get to the top of Mount Webb.
Mount Webb, views around and on our way up!
Top of Mount Webb!! It was spectacular up there. Just stunning.
It took just as long to get down as it did up, cause of all the slippery parts
So, off we went to Macdonald Peak. There was a trail in the first part and then some cairns to follow. Shawn just went straight up to the right of a permanent snowfield. I followed the cairns up to the ridge. I believe it is possible to just scramble straight up to Macdonald Peak, but we went around the back of Macdonald Peak. We boulder hopped there. Then we scrambled up.
On the way to Macdonald Peak
This bit (photo below) did not appeal to me, so I scrambled down and tried to find away around this. Except I ended up at a spot where I had to cross loose sand, and it was exposed. What went through my mind was – an image of me slipping and then trying to grasp at the sand to stop myself as I slid down and off the cliff. So, I went back and climbed up the same spot Shawn had gone up. Shawn was there to give me a hand.
We made it to Macdonald Peak at 3pm. So it had taken us 9 hours. I was so tired when we got to the top, I could barely chew my food. It crossed my mind to just lie down there and sleep. I knew that if I actually went to sleep, I would probably not wake up until the next day. There were views in all directions. I thought the view from Mount Webb was pretty darn amazing, but the views from Macdonald Peak were even better. We hung out until 3.45pm and then started heading down. We noticed a way down that completely avoided scrambling (went around it) , there were even cairns and for me it was much easier (wish I’d seen this route on the way up)
Heading back down
We were at the col at around 5pm. Headed down as quickly as we could. Shawn picked a handful of blueberries for me which were along the bounder field on the way down. For anyone wondering: there was lots of water on this hike (from the trailhead to the boulder field before the col) We had to hike in the dark with our headlamps for the last hour and half (the sun went down at 7.20pm and we walked in twilight for another half hour or so before we used our lights). We were back at our car at 9.30pm (it would have sucked if we were any later and got locked in there!). I collapsed in a heap into the car! That is the longest hike I’ve ever done. 15 1/2 hours!!!!
31 kms, 2200 meters elevation gain.
Shawn could have probably done Mount Webb, Macdonald Peak and Mount Corriveau (nearby) in significantly less time than it took us to do Mount Webb and Macdonald Peak together. I so appreciate that he stuck with me, gave me a hand when I needed it, told me I was doing great and helped me push my boundaries, when he could have been pushing his. Very thankful!
I’m so sore and waddling around but it was so worth it. What a memorable hike/scramble. Love being up in the mountains.