Date: Sept 13, 2014
Participants: Jean-Michel, Julie, Geoff Zenger
Report: Originally intended as an overnight BCMC trip to Stoyoma Mountain and Mount Hewitt Bostock in the northern Coquihalla region, a change of plans and need to be back in Vancouver on Sunday meant that the trip had to be shortened to a day trip. Opting against driving all the way through Merritt for a day trip, we changed our minds in Chilliwack and headed up Conway Peak, the southernmost peak in the Cheam range.
The road up to Jones Lake and then to the trailhead is in decent shape right now, but definitely requires a 4×4 HC vehicle. We arrived at the trailhead at around 10 and started our way up the trail at about a quarter past, making our way up the switchbacks on an old road. The road here is quite overgrown in places, but easy to follow, although we missed the 4th switchback and instead of making the turn right before a creek crossing, we hopped across the creek and continued about 15 minutes right to the end of some even older spur, wasting a good half hour of our time.
Once back across the creek where the switchback should’ve been it was easy to see where the right way to go was, and a few minutes later we entered the old growth forest to follow the old Lucky Four Trail up to Mile High Camp. This trail is in great condition and is very pleasant. Just before 1 o’clock we found ourselves getting hungry and decided to stop at the next knoll, and were happy to find that it was indeed the famed mile high camp! It’d be a great spot to camp with fantastic views all around, although I personally wouldn’t really want to lug an overnight pack all the way up there…
We left the camp at 1:35, and from here the route up Conway is really nice over open heather and rock slopes, and it was easy and fun to make it up to the summit, which we reached at 2:20, 45 minutes after leaving the camp. Total ascent time, 4 hours, including 35 minutes at mile high camp and 30 minutes on the wrong road.
We had lucked out and had amazing fall weather on the summit, warm, sunny, and clear. We dozed off for a while, took group shots, gazed at the huge north faces of Foley and Welch, and identified peaks south of the border for nearly an hour before starting back down.
The descent was quick and uneventful and took under 2.5 hours to complete. Total round trip time was around 7.5 hours. In all, Conway Peak greatly exceeded my expectations and is a really nice hiking peak that doesn’t see the popularity it deserves. Great views, nice trail (minus the bottom bit), close to Vancouver. Recommended!