Trophy Mountain (CwemCwem Lake Loop)

elevation: 2,575 m.
height gain: 1,225 m.
area: Clearwater,BC
map 82 M/13

Ref:- The Camping Canucks
      - Wells Gray Provincial Park

snow patches at the start

Snow patches from the get-go.
Scramble: RT 5.75; 3.0 up (for loop). This weekend we decided to go backpacking in the mountains. With slower-than-usual snowmelt, we had to choose an objective with a short approach and clear access to the trailhead; Trophy Mountain came to mind due to its easy route through meadows. Additionally, a previous trip report confirmed the trailhead was accessible. Trillions of mosquitoes and black flies greeted us at the trailhead; we got on our way at record speed. There was snow on the trail from the start; luckily, it was consolidated, granting firm footing. The bugs dwindled quickly, which was a blessing as it was too hot to cover up. We hiked the snowy meadows to the foot of West Trophy, where we set up camp for the night. It was now late afternoon; we enjoyed a nice dinner and sunset. It was special to be in the Trophy Basin with the snowbound landscape; the alpine lakes displayed their typical turquoise melt-rings. The peaks were mostly white other than the ridges; it was a privilege to witness such beauty and to have the mountain to ourselves. The following morning, we ascended West Trophy. Clouds were rolling in, but it was still warm. The traverse to Trophy Mountain appeared to be more than a hike, so we decided to split up; Milan and the kids hiked to Long Hill while I continued to the true summit. The traverse was straightforward even with snow, nothing more than easy scrambling; however, I was glad the kids hadn't followed. After an hour, I reached the top; by then, there was lightning and thunder over Dunn Peak and west of me. I called Milan and told him not to wait for me as I suddenly opted to retreat off the mountain via CwemCwem Lake. I boot-skied to the lake; it was quick and fun. Then I made my way across the frozen lake. The following part was the crux of my descent; I had to find a place where I could breach the cliffband and make it to the valley bottom, where snow bridged the raging creek. In hindsight, I should have come down at the head of the drainage. Once at the valley bottom, I hiked along the fast-flowing creek to the ascent gully. The climb was quick. Once reunited, I sat down and took my boots off; I had frozen toes. By the time I put my boots back on, everything was packed up. Our return was pleasant until we reached the forest where the mosquitoes were waiting. I was satisfied with my scramble loop. We finished this fine backcountry visit with a great dinner at the Painted Turtle restaurant.

terrain opens up

Soon after the start of the hike, the terrain opens up.

vast meadows

Vast Trophy Meadows.

pleasant hiking

Pleasant hiking and warm temperature.

upper terrain

Sheila Lake and the upper terrain is snowbound.

trophy peaks

West Trophy and Trophy Mountain to the right.

camp set up

Camp is set up at the foot of West Trophy.



living the life

Living the life!

replenishing water supplies

Replenishing the water supplies the following morning.

heading up trophy 2

Heading up West Trophy.

gully for loop

This major gully leads to the CwemCwem Drainage.


Trophy Peaks' ambassador.

enjoyable ascent

Enjoyable ascent on firm snow.

looking back

Looking back.

upper mountain

Upper mountain.

almost there

Almost there.

looking back

Looking back along the ascent ridge.

western view

Western view towards Long Hill, the lowest of the Trophy Peaks.

cwemcwem lake

CwemCwem Lake.

traverse to trophy

The traverse to Trophy Mountain.

straightforward traverse

Straightforward traverse.

typical terrain

This typical terrain grants easy scrambling.

looking back

Looking back towards West Trophy.

last stretch

Last stretch.

summit cairn

Summit cairn.

raft mountain

Raft Mountain to the south.

cwemcwem lake below

CwemCwem Lake and drainage below.

boot-skiing to lake

Fast descent boot-skiing to CwemCwem Lake.

cwemcwem lake

CwemCwem Lake.

blue margin

The lake's blue margin.

trophy mountain

Trophy Mountain from across the frozen lake.

ascent gully

CwemCwem Drainage and the ascent gully (center) back to the camp at the foot of West Trophy.


Glissade to the valley bottom.

crossing raging creek

Crossing the raging creek where it's still bridged by snow.

climbing gully

Making my way to the ascent gully.

walking along creek

Walking along the melting creek.

sights and sound of raging water

Melting snowpack on the way up the steep gully.

lovely bowl

A lovely bowl preceeds the final climb out of the gully and back to camp.

heading back down

All packed and heading back down.

dunn peak

Majestic Dunn Peak south of us.

trail in the meadows

On the trail in the meadows, a lot of snow disappeared.
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