Monday, March 9, 2015

Mount Cheam At The Top

Mount Cheam Peak © Stephen Mullock

Mount Cheam (pronounces She-am) offers one of the best summit views in the area. 

On my way up to the top in 2014, I took the above picture. This is the Cheam peak with some of my fellow hikers are already at the top. Others are still climbing. Humans so small against the immensity of the mountain and the sky. There is a feeling of awe to be found here.

It is quite the trek to get to the top, Mount Cheam stands 6,929 feet or 2112 meters above sea level, not that you start at the bottom, still for most, starting at the upper parking lot it is a steady and steep slough for a couple of hours.  I have written about the climb before but today I thought it might be interesting to have a look around the top.  While I have hiked to the peak a half dozen times I realize that many people might never get up here - so please let me share my experience with you.

Let's start with the vista these people are enjoying. This is the reward for all that work. Below we see the Fraser River and the town of Agassiz.  In the top right corner is Harrison Lake.  

How far can you see?  On a very good day, one without any low pacific clouds you might glimpse Vancouver Island.  That would be a remarkable sight.

Agassiz BC, Fraser Valley © Stephen Mullock

It is a ragged looking peak up close. Some 5,000 years ago, this mountain was torn in half. 

An immense landslide that started right at the peak, careened downward burying an unsuspecting aboriginal village with an estimated population of 5,000 people. The end would have been violent and sudden, forever sealing the inhabitants beneath a stone silence. 

The debris field extended right to the Fraser River changing forever its path to the Salish Sea.

The power of this past event is still evident at the summit - its' rock face still looks ripped apart. That is the view at the top.

© Stephen Mullock

© Stephen Mullock

Mount Cheam is the best known mountain peak in the eastern Fraser Valley large part due to its fine triangular shape, its' legendary status, and positioning.  The sun rises behind the Cheam Ridge. It also marks an intersection where the Fraser Valley very quickly turns into the canyon.

This little bandit it will take food right out of your knapsack given half a chance.

All pictures © Stephen Mullock