Williams Peak
Williams Peak in the Chilliwack Valley of southwestern British Columbia (BC) has long been on my peak-bagging to-do list.  A moderately difficult ascent route for this beautiful peak is described in Matt Gunn's Scrambles in Southwest British Columbia and shares the same approach as the Williams Ridge hike as described in Jack Bryceland's 103 Hikes in Southwestern British Columbia.  After spending a couple of days in Chilliwack, BC on a recent road trip, I drove up the Chilliwack Lake Road on the morning of 21 August 2014 to climb Williams Peak.  As described by Gunn, I turned off the highway onto a rough road marked by a brown signpost and parked my car about 100 metres into the trees at a makeshift campsite.

Continuing along the rough road from the campsite, I passed a white sign, labeled "Trail",  before reaching a T-junction with a logging road at the edge of a large clear-cut.  Mentioned neither by Gunn nor Bryceland, the unexpected clear-cut confused me greatly, and I wasted a considerable amount of time going back and forth before finally stumbling upon the correct trail (turn left at T-junction and look for an overgrown path on the right with a very easy-to-miss cairn).  After crossing the clear-cut, I began climbing in earnest up the forested slope on a trail that more resembled a vertical skid mark in the dirt.  The 900-metre ascent from the valley floor to the ridge crest is a relentlessly steep grind with only two dilapidated cabins along the way to break up the monotony of the forest.  Hiking along the undulations of Williams Ridge was only marginally more interesting, but at least the angle of ascent is less severe here.  Only near the trail's end at a rocky knoll did I finally break out of the trees and get an unobstructed view of the magnificent pyramidal form of Williams Peak.

From the trail's end, I tried to stay high and minimize elevation loss as I crossed a tedious rocky basin to reach an obvious access ramp on Williams Peak's southwest ridge.  Cairns and bits of flagging helped me to stay on track in the basin.  Contrary to its benign appearance, the access ramp is both steep and loose, and I was happy to get through this nasty section quickly.  At the top of the ramp, I veered over to climber's right before turning up an obvious grassy gully for the final 200 metres of steep but easy hiking to the summit.

My ascent had taken a whopping 7.5 hours, and as I went about my usual summit chores, I was keenly aware of the waning daylight and the likelihood of hiking out in the dark.  I spent about 30 minutes on the summit before commencing my descent down the slippery gully and ramp.  Crossing the basin was less tedious on the way out, but it was nearly sunset by the time I got across and regained the trail.  I continued hiking out along Williams Ridge in growing darkness.  This section seemed interminable, and I cursed every annoying uphill section I had to climb back over.  The final 900-metre plunge back to the valley floor was bone-jarring but relatively quick.  My headlamp and hiking poles really proved their worth here.  Upon returning to my car, I drove back to the highway and headed to Hope, BC to check into a comfortable motel for the night.
Ummm...where IS the trail?? The trail heads steeply up this forested slope.
Must have been a hobbit that lived here; that door is only about 2 feet high! This is the first of two dilapidated log cabins along the trail to the ridge top.
The roof looks a little leaky... Here is the second cabin.
Damn clouds! A break in the trees along Williams Ridge grants this view to the south of Mount Rexford (centre) and Illusion Peaks (far right).
This mountain was the site of a horrific plane crash on 9 December 1956 which claimed 62 lives. Clouds partially obscure Slesse Mountain to the southwest.
Sigh...still a long way to go! Another break in the trees provides a first glimpse at Williams Peak.
Don't bother going all the way to the top of the higher bump at centre...unless you want to! In front of Williams Peak is the rocky knoll (right of centre) which is the end of the hiking trail.
Cue the theme from JAWS... The top of Foley Peak sticks up above the surrounding clouds to the northwest.

Definitely a sexy mountain!

At trail's end is this unobstructed view of Williams Peak.

Look for bits of trail and flagging while side-sloping at far left. The scramble route traverses across the rocky bowl toward a steep ramp (right of centre).
Keep an eye out for cairns marking the route. Despite being only Class 2 hiking, the traverse is quite tedious.
Very steep and very loose here! The access ramp leads to a grassy gully on the south face of Williams Peak.
Almost there... The grassy gully provides a straightforward route to the summit.

What a slog to ascend this sonuvabitch!

Sonny holds up the register on the summit of Williams Peak (2116 metres).  Click here to view a 360-degree panorama video.

This plaque is almost as old as me!! Here is a closer look at the plaque that is bolted to the summit rocks.
Very cool. I should start leaving my dog tags on summits! A rather unique metal tag is attached to the register container.
Thank goodness the summit of Williams Peak wasn't shrouded! Clouds completely obscure the tops Welch Peak and Foley Peak to the northwest.

It's always nice to look down on a lake from a summit.

To the southeast is Chilliwack Lake.

Somewhere over the rainbow... A very faint rainbow appears to the left of the summit.
Always seems steeper going down than up! This is looking down the grassy gully from near the summit.
I hope to bag these two peaks in the future. Welch Peak and Foley Peak finally make an appearance as the clouds roll away.
Glad to put this mountain behind me! Here is a last look at Williams Peak late in the day.
It's gonna get dark soon...<scary music starts> Mists roll over top of Williams Ridge.
Bring lotsa water especially if it's a hot day. Total Distance:  17.5 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  12 hours 23 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  1651 metres

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