Date: July 24, 2017
Participants: Ed Zenger, Geoff Zenger
Report: Mt. Lindeman is the tallest peak immediately west of Chilliwack Lake, taller than Mt. Webb and Macdonald Peak, and until recently access involved either a long “class 5” bushwack up to Hanging Lake from the south end of Chilliwack Lake or a nearly 3000m day to go via Radium Lake and head up and over Macdonald Peak. Lucky for us mortals, Harry and the Chilliwack Outdoors Club built a wonderful new trail to Mt. Lindeman last year!
The crux of the trip was finding the right place to park. This isn’t because it’s not obvious, but rather that the directions to the trailhead that I found online and was following were simply wrong, and we wasted half an hour in the morning dinging up my car and exploring the wrong logging roads. However, finding the trailhead is in fact easy. Turn off the Chilliwack Lake Road at the signed turnoff for the Slesse Memorial Trail and cross the two small bridges over the Chilliwack River. Reset your odometer as your turn off of Chilliwack Lake Road, and once over the bridges, turn left at the first junction (right heads up Nesakwatch Creek to the Slesse Memorial Trail trailhead). The road parallels the river for close to 5km before turning right and heading up Centre Creek. While driving up Centre Creek FSR, follow the most travelled road, staying low in the valley (i.e. to the right) and avoiding all roads turning off to the left. Park at 10.2km from Chilliwack Lake Road, at a fork in the road. At this point the east ridge of Rexford will be looming large above you. The right hand fork is overgrown and not drivable, and this is the road you will be hiking up to start your hike. The road to the left is the wrong way, and after switching back, goes up past many large waterbars to a recent clearcut. Do not drive up this road. Note that the road to the trailhead is in good shape, with only some minor ditches and could be reached in any 4wd vehicle, such as any little Subaru.
The first few kilometres of the route to Mt. Lindeman follow the overgrown road (the right-hand fork from the 10.2km parking) as it gently ascends beside Centre Creek until about 40 minutes later it reaches the creek coming down from the valley below Mt. Lindeman. At this point you make a hard turn to the left, going past a metal sign reading “Mt. Lindeman trail”, and proceed to hike straight up the mountain for a few hundred metres. This trail is well flagged and in great shape, and after easing up a bit, heads into the valley to the northwest of Mt. Lindeman, reaching some meadows. We had started hiking just past 9:30am, and reached the meadows at around 11:10. At the far end of the meadow the trail disappears when it reaches some large boulders, and we made the mistake of bushwacking through the boggy meadow to our left. As we learned later, it is better to simply go through the large boulders en route to the main boulder gully that can be seen ahead.
Here we took a break and began our route up the main boulder gully (the right hand one) at around 11:30, and reached the main valley above about 40 minutes later. From here the route is obvious to the col between the ascent valley and Upper Hanging Lake, which we reached just before 1 pm and here we sat down to eat lunch. From this point, the goal is to make an ascending traverse across the basin to the steep grassy slopes heading up towards the summit. We shortcutted across the snow to hit the grass and boulders on the far side of the basin, and while the slopes on the other side are steep, it is no problem to ascend them without getting into any 3rd class terrain. The summit was reached at a bit past 2:15pm, for a total ascent time of a bit over 4.5 hours.
Mt. Lindeman might have the best views of any mountain near Vancouver. From the summit there are clear views of Rexford, Slesse, Baker, Shuksan, Williams, Bear, Redoubt, the whole Cheam range, as well as the Pickets, Silvertip group, and usual peaks north of the Fraser Valley.
We hung out on the peak for quite a while to take it all in, and finally departed at around 3. The descent was made very quick by glissading down snowslopes in the upper basins, followed by the excellent trail down to the valley. The final few km down the overgrown road back to the car were sloggy and annoying, but nonetheless we made it to the car at 5:40pm, for a total descent time of a bit over 2.5 hours and a round trip time of 8 hours. Note that we were moving pretty quick due to the late start and I would recommend allowing more than 8 hours for most parties.
I highly recommend Mt. Lindeman. With the trail in its current shape it belongs in the list of top 10 SW BC hikes. A must do!