The trail into Trophy Meadows is the finest trail of our area, but anywhere beyond the end of the trail (Plateau of the Lakes under Trophy 2) is a rough, off-trail adventure. One of the best of these is the traverse over to Cwem Cwem Lake.
We have tried several routes, bt the best one is now partly marked with cairns and flagging tape. From the last tarn at the end of the trail, go to the east end and cross the creek. Descend a track steeply down a gully, following the creek.
The small hanging valley drains down into Silvertip Creek, but hikers will want to maintain some altitude by going left through the trees, following a line of flagging tape. This is not an established trail and it is overgrown and slow-going. It emerges onto a rock slab. Go down the easiest route and look for a reasonable route to the valley floor (aim east). This section is not well-marked and route-finding will be required. Once in the valley bottom, follow the drainage upstream to a small lake and go around the south side.
At the end of the pond, follow the creek upstream, making your own trail. At the upper end, just pick a route to the top of the cascade and emerge at Cwem Cwem Lake. On this hike, we went around the north side and spend some time wading into a sandy shelf while we had a break. From the east end of the lake, climb into a low pass. Cwem Cwem lies behind you.
The pass is rocky. To the north is the broad ridge up to the summit of Trophy 1. To the southeast is the ragged slope of Trophy 3. Hike to the east through the easiest part of the pass and continue on to a viewpoint where you can look over to Trophy 4 and the Upper Plateau of Tarns.
On our previous tour, we turned left up to the top of Trophy 1. On this hike, we returned to the pass, then angled southwest to climb a long narrow ridge which we have named Silvertip Ridge. This turned out to a superb route with incredible views back to the Trophies.
We retraced our route, then descended back to the shores of Cwem Lake, stopping to cool our feet and enjoy the lake once last time. We retraced our route back, a long and slow route. This is an all-day route, about 22 km in total, with many long sections of careful, slow scrambling. But its a perfect area for exploration. We still want to bring my tent and float it over to the island in Cwem Lake. 2014, for sure.