Welch Peak - South Ridge, September 2006
My uncle was wrapping up his trip through Western Canada by spending a few days at Harrison Hot Springs near Hope BC. Not having seen each other for at least five years, I felt obligated to pay him a visit (3hr drive from Seattle) and spent a relaxing Saturday afternoon catching-up and brushing up on my rusty German. Since Onkel Heinz was scheduled for a return flight to Germany the next morning, I hoped to make the most of my whereabouts and scramble up a nearby peak on Sunday. As the Cascades' northern-most sub-range of any significance south of the Fraser River Valley, the Cheam Range has long been an area I've wanted to explore. With Welch Peak being the tallest in the range and also the one that's most commonly climbed, I felt that it was worthy of my consideration. Flipping through the CAG, I noticed Beckey's description of the South Ridge including his comment stating, "This is a recommended route." Hmm... A recommended class 3 - 4 ridge route on a peak I can actually see from the shores of Harrison Lake. Sold!
After almost closing down the pub that night, I wished my uncle well and vowed not to wait another five years before seeing each other again. Reluctantly going our separate ways, my uncle returned to his hotel while I continued a short distance north to the Hicks Lake campground (Sasquatch Provincial Park) and called it a night. Sleeping through the alarm, I awoke a couple hours later than intended, frantically broke down the tent and jumped in the car. Even from my relatively nearby location the drive to the Chilliwack River Road (CRR) turnoff took more time than expected. I turned north onto Foley Creek Road (a reasonably 2wd-passable logging road) after about 17 miles on the CRR and proceeded to the T-junction immediately following the bridge over Foley Creek. Turning right, I continued slowly eventually reaching Foley Lake in about five-and-a-half miles. I parked at a pullout overlooking the west end of the lake, donned my boots and pack and started down a trail I hoped was the Williamson Lake Trail. It was now 10am. (more...)
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