NOTE: These pictures are in the process of being sorted!
Comments on Scrambling
Walking involves using your feet, scrambling requires feet and hands and rock climbing involves
safety equipment, hands and feet.
This vacation trip involved a fair bit of "scrambling" up the odd mountain peak. Unfortunately
it was all SOLO. I strongly suggest that if you do this you make sure that people
know where you are and when to expect you back and that you always take at least one other person
with you. You should also take enough clothing and food to survive in the mountains. Anything
can happen. In my three weeks I was hiking in 35C heat as well as snow storms!
Here is what I did and the associated pictures.
Daily liking varied from 2km vertical to nearly 30 km with > 1,000m vertical in a day. I
found that I could easily do over 2km of climbing in a day - but it would likely have
slowed me down on the following day.
I did abort some scrambles up mountains because I was getting tired - or more often - because
I was doing this solo and the hiking was getting more dangerous than I was comfortable with.
Boot skiing or glissading can be lots of fun - but I had one bad experience when I was coming
off of a peak and jumped from a cliff on to a large snow pack. Unfortunately the snow was
hard - too hard for my boots, or hands, to get a grip. As a result my "descent" was far
from controlled - it was a straight down the mountain plummet with a relatively soft landing
in scree (boots first of course). The only dammage was a tear on my pants, 3 broken finger
nails and hands that were tingling, from the cold, for nearly a day. That and a brused ego.
Hiking in > 30C temperatures was not fun - esp. with the climbing. I spent the 7 hour
hikes limiting how much water I drank - until I started to carry 3L of water. At the end
of the trip when it was only 2C to 9C I would only drink about 500mL of water in 7 hours;
but carrying a sweater and rain gear was absolutely necessary (not to mention gloves and
possibly a balaclava)!!
Favorite Pictures from this trip
Airplane Flight Pictures
Flowers and Animals on the trails
Peter Lougheed Prov. Park
Waterton Lakes National Park
E.C. Manning Prov. Park
- Bertha Lake hike
- Mt. Carthew and Alderson peaks [camera battery died]
Mt Alderson, (p40), 6-9 hour, easy, 2692m and
Mt Carthew, (p38), 4-6 hour, easy, 2630m
- Red Rock Canyon
- Lineham Mountain (2728m), Rowe Lakes trail
- Bear's Rump, park entrance
Cathedral Prov. Park
Yoho National Park
Banff National Park
Generally a nice park. There were 3 good day hikes. The campsites were generally dusty and only
one (with reservations) had showers (so I had to resort to jumping into lakes). Campsites
generally filled up on weekends.
- Heather meadows, Blackwell Peak (2063m)
- Mt. Frosty (2408m), 3:15 h ascent, 8:30 h round trip
- Skyline Ridge 27 km from Strawberry flats
- Mt. Outram - only 3 hours, about 1/2 of the whole hike
Pictures to sort:
- Saturday, July 13
Left home at 11:30 am, landed at 3pm, picked up rental car, drove 200 km to Peter Lougheed Prov. Park. They
were having record high temperatures in Calgary. Sunrise is around 5:30am and sunset about 9:30 am.
- Sunday, July 14
The weather was hot (> 30C) and partly sunny and I hiked Everest Trail and
Mt. Indefatigable North and South peaks
- Monady, July 15
It was yet another hot day and I tried for two mountains:
Gap Mountain and Ptarmigan Cirque and Mt. Rae
- Tuesday, July 16
I drove 300 km to Waterton National Park and hiked to
Bertha Lake and another 20 min. along Waterton lake.
- Wednesday, July 17
The weather was still quite hot but it was nice to be in a campground where I was shaded from the sun by 7pm.
I hiked to Carthew Lakes and Mt. Carthew and Alderson peaks
- Thursday, July 18
Hiked Red Rock Canyon and
Lineham Mountain (2728m), Rowe Lakes trail and
Bear's Rump at the park entrance.
- Friday, July 19
This day was consumed by a 970 km, 12 hour drive to E.C. Manning Provincal park in British Columbia.
- Saturday, July 20
As I hiked Heather meadows, Blackwell Peak (2063m) ice crunced under my
feet in the early morning. The Heather meadows hike isn't very strenous - but it can go on as long
as you want to go in a day and you can see surrounding snow caped peaks.
- Sunday, July 21
The hike up Mt. Frosty is a good day - but well worth the views. I did not
like coming down via the trail to the Windy Joe peak - it was just too much forest and the hike back
along the road was not fun.
- Monday, July 22
I hiked about 1/2 way up Mt. Outram. The trail was growing in and is not very
popular. Surprisingly I met two other guys who were going to camp at the top. Then I drove to Vancouver.
- Tuesday, July 23
- Wednesday, July 24
- Thursday, July 25
Hiked Englishman Falls and Little Mountain on Vancouver Island.
Drive 300km to Manning Prov. Park.
- Friday, July 26
The first half of hike along Skyline Ridge was
in fog and low cloud. I rarely even saw mountains around me. But the return
hike was very nice because the clouds lifted.
- Saturday, July 27
Drove to Cathedral Prov. Park, hiked 1/2 way in - then back out and took the Cathedral Lake Lodges
shuttle to the park. Then I did about 30 min. of hiking but all pictures taken that day were lost.
The weather was cold but it was clear and sunny.
- Sunday, July 28
Hiked Lakeview Mtn, Goat Lake hikes. Pictures from the first half of
the hike were lost. The weather was cold and the day was heavily overcast with the mountains
mainly in the clouds.
- Monday, July 29
It was raining lightly, cold and quite windy and the weather forcast was for worse weather so I
left the park and drove to Yoho National Park. I actually missed campgrounds and hikes in the
National parks because they only seem to put signs facing east on the highway!
- Tuesday, July 30
I drove to Emerald Lake and Takakkawa Falls.
I hiked thru 2 brief snow storms on the wonderful hikes to Iceline Hike and Tackawa Falls
The Iceline hike is so much better than hiking the Yoho valley.
- Wednesday, July 31
This was an exceptional day, cold but with great views. Some light snowfall the previous night
made the views that much better. I hiked
Paget Lookout and Paget Peak and
Mt. Burgess Pictures [did not reach summit]
- Thursday, August 1
I hiked into and out of Lake O'Hara and that was a mistake. I didn't know about
the shuttle bus that would have taken me out. The hike in was longer than expected and confusing. Hiking
along the road is much more boring - but it is 1 hour faster. If I had taken the bus back that would have
left me plenty of time to hike around to a place overlooking Lake O'Hara. Get a detailed map before you
hike into this place as the National Parks Guide map is worse than misleading.
- Friday, August 2
I planned to drive to Jasper and hike Mt. Wilcox and Cirque Peak but it was snowing on and off all day.
I hiked Parker Ridge and some misc. places
Peto Lake, Mysta Canyon, Mt. Fairview
I stayed at the Lake Louise hostel and the sauna was great (although not very hot). It is an excellent hostel.
- Saturday, August 3
Yet another cold day, with low clouds and snow. I tried to climb Mt. Fairview but snow made it too slippery
and the view was terrible. Then I waited till lunch and hiked
Mt. St. Piran and the Big Beehive This night I
stayed at the Castle Junction hostel - hoping to hike a mountain or two in that area. The hostel was
nice enough but I found it expensive for what it offered.
- Sunday, August 4
It was yet another cold day with snow and rain in the forcast. The clouds were very low again and
there was not much to see so I hiked as high as I could see at Mt. Borgeau
- Monday, August 5
The plane landed at 5:30am and I was home 4 hours later.
- July 13 .. Aug. 4th - 23 days: 15 days hiking, 2 days flying, 4 days driving (3,000 km)
- Estimated costs: Flight ($680), car rental ($1,000), camping fees ($400), food ($250), photography ($125), National Park pass $40, Backcountry pass $45/yr or $6/day (NP only)
- Camping costs $5/night in backcountry sites, $15 for cabins, $12 -> $18.50 in frontcountry
- Waterton -> Top of World (250+60km) -> Kokanee (350) -> Cathedral (320) -> Manning (120) -> Vancouver (250)
- Fernie Raging Elk
Address: PO Box 160, 892 - 6th Avenue, Fernie, BC V0B 1M0
Phone: (250) 423-6811
Price members: $18
Check-in: 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
- Radium Hot Springs - Mistry River, $21, by Park Gate near Radium
- Cranbrook Purcell House [By Top of World Prov. Park]
Address: 2700 College Way, Cranbrook, BC V1C 5L7
Phone: (250) 489-8282
Toll Free: 1-877-489-2687
Price members: $18.75
Check-in: 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
- Nelson Flying Squirrel ($17), 198 Baker St. [Backpackers Hostel]
- Nelson Dancing Bear Inn [By Kokanee Prov. Park]
Address: 171 Baker Street, Nelson, BC V1L 4H1
Phone: (250) 352-7573
Price members: $17
Check-in: 4:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
- Lake Louise, Alpine Center
Village Road, Lake Louise, Alberta
Members Price: $26
Checkin 3:00 pm, Checkout 10 am
- Castle Mountain
Castle Junction by 1A and #93
Members Price: $18
Checkin 8-10am, 5-10pm, Checkout 8-10am
Places to visit (driving east to west and back)
Golden Ears Prov. Park [1 day?] by Vancouver, only 1500m high
- Mountain Scrambling. From Scrambling in the Canadian Rockies by Allan Kane (3 days)
This is an excellent book for hikers wishing to go beyond just hiking. My experience is that if he has
rated something as easy - then it is just a hike - even if that means 4 hours of going up steep, loose, scree!
When he rated bits as moderate (Indefatigable North peak) I thought nothing of it. Where I differed with
his ratings was when the "moderate" bits were protracted. For example a bit of rock climbing, even if exposed
(ie a drop off under me), I can breeze thru since I've done a bit of technical climbing and free climbing (no
ropes, support or equipment). However, when I am route finding or going up an ever-increasing slope (with
smaller and smaller hand holds) and this goes on for 30 min; then I get very edgy and backed out of several
Things may have been different if I was not doing these solo - or if I had more experience. The only climbs
I backed out of were right at the start of my trip. In hindsight the descent was nowhere near as bad as I
though - in fact it was much easier and faster than the ascent.
I have graded the hikes which I performed. Generally if Mr. Kane said that a scramble took 5 to 7 hours; I found
myself under, or at his lower time (say 4.5 to 5 hours). I was taking many pictures - but when I was hiking I
was going fairly hard - with my pulse around 150 on steady climbs. If I had people with me I would not have
the breath for talking a lot, or eating, while climbing. I'm quite capable of going faster (when cycling I
maintain a pulse of 170 for over an hour); but hot weather and focus must kept. As in cycling, the faster
you go - the less blood goes to your brain and the less alert you tend to be.
- Mount Rae
Oh my gawd! Maybe I just went the wrong way. This one had my heart racing after rouding the corner of
the cirque - you'll see where you need to go - up and up the scree and then up a steep rock incline. I
turned around (perhaps 5 to 10 m from the col) for fear of slipping and not having good grip on the descent.
The descent wasn't as bad as I thought.
Unless you make the col, the views are not inspiring.
- Gap Mountain (p152), 82J11, 4-6 hour, Kananaskis, moderate, 2675m +780m
I backed out of this scramble. This is an EASY moderate scramble. In the book he points out a
section which required a few rock climbing moves (with exposure - a gully under you) but I was not bothered
by that at all. What bothered me was the route finding up a broken ridge. I was very concerned about finding
my way back down. In hindsight it wasn't hard. I could easily have gained the peak.
This scramble is a step above his easy scrambles as you will be using your hands a fair bit - but it may well
be the easiest scramble of his moderate ones. Views were very good. Recommended.
- Indefatigable + North peak (p162), 82J11, 5-7 hour, Kananaskis, easy, 2670m +1000m
This was a good hike that was steep in places. The views were good, the ridge walk was windy and my only
problem was a shortage of water. The only mistake I made was that when I came off of the north peak - I
should have stayed on the ridge and instead I descended a technical section. If I had water I would have
continued to the smaller peak and then descended. Definately recommended.
- Pocaterra (p176), 82J11, Tyrwhitt +3-4 hours => 7-11 hours, Kananaskis, moderate, 2934m
- Mt. Wilcox (p309), 2884m + 900m, 3.5h, Icefields area
- Observation Peak (p298), 82N9, 5-9 hour, Icefields Parkway (Peto Lake), moderate/easy, 3174m
- Cirque (p297), 82N9, 5-8 hour, Icefields Parkway, easy, 2993m +1050m
- xxSunwapta (p312), 83C6, 7-12 hour, Jasper!, 120km N of Louise, easy, 3315m
- Vermillion Pk (p220), 5-7 hour, Castle Jn, moderate, 2622m +1500m
- xxStorm Mtn (p215), 6-11 hour, Castle Jn, moderate, 3161m +1300m
- xxCastle Mtn (p209), 7-11 hour, Castle Jn, easy, ?, +1400m
- xxBosworth (p265), 5-7 hour, Yoho, moderate, 2771m +1200m
- Paget (p266), 4-5 hour, Yoho, easy, 2560m +1000m
This is a must-do for many people. A trail takes you to a view point about half way up. Beyond that the
scree is mostly large rocks, not small scree. The peak always seems beyond reach - but it's not too far.
You can continue on a nice ridge walk once gaining the peak. The views are wonderful! Highly recommended.
- Mt. Field (p264), 5 hour, Yoho, easy, +1400m
This should be an easy scramble but I didn't think that the view would be esp. good after
having climbed Paget Peak.
- Mt Burgess (p260), 5 hour, +1300m, Yoho
This is easy - although you're plowing up and up a lot of scree. The descent can be fast and many trails
stick to the edge of the gully - where there is some stable rock.
Unless you make the peak, the views are not inspiring.
- Mt. Fairview, (p239), easy, 4.5 hour, 2744m +1000m, Lake Louise
This comes highly recommended and a trail takes you right up. It's easy, it's high and the view is good.
- Mt. St. Piran, (p237), easy, 4 hour, 2649m +900m, Lake Louise
This is a hike. There is a marked trail going up and the views are quite nice. Be careful if
descending this peak on the back side. The back descent has no clear trail and you are aiming
to come out somewhere on the approach to Niblock. I performed my descent on the side, coming down
near the end of the lake. It was a technical descent with many cliff bands that had to be climbed
down. The climbs were not very dangerous (max exposure was a 4m drop); but there were a fair number
of them and it would be very easy for an inexperienced person to pick a bad line which would put them
down the gully (which has a nasty cliff band). It doesn't take a high drop to create serious injuries.
- Niblock (+beehive), (p229), 82N8, 4-9 hour, Lake Louise, 6-9 hour, moderate, 2976m
This is definately a moderate climb - likely on the harder end of moderate. Look at my pictures and
you'll see why. There was snow and although it line is pretty easy to see - it's much more of a climb
than a walk!
- Eiffel, (p244), 82N8, 4-9 hour, Moraine Lake, moderate, 3084m
- Panorama Ridge, (p240), 82N8, 4-6 hour, Moraine Lake, easy, 2800m
- Alderson, (p40), Waterton, 6-9 hour, easy, 2692m +1100m
This is an excellent hike. It's definately easy and a good day will also take you up Carthew Mtn.
- Bertha, (p37), Waterton, 4-7 hour, moderate, 2440m
I don't like his approach and would not suggest this scramble. Instead, go up Alderson and Carthew as you'll
see the lower Bertha peak from them!
- Carthew, (p38), Waterton, 4-6 hour, easy, 2630m +1000m
This is an excellent hike. It's definately easy and a good day can also take you up Alderson Mtn.
Hike above 3 using shuttle to Cameron Lake (info at Prince of Wales Hotel info center)
- Crandell, (p34), Waterton, 4-7 hour, moderate, 2378m
- Peter Lougheed Prov. Park (Alberta) (2 days hiking), 130 km from Calgary
Kananaskis Camping - conditions etc and
Peter Lougheed 2nd www site and
Kananaskis Country - Parks info
- Pickup topo map from Visitor Center $1 (hiking trails)
- Indefatigable Trail - 7.6km, 500m to 2.5km high - DOESN'T go to peak!
- Ptarmigan Cirque - 4.5 km, 230m, Highwood Pass parking lot
- Waterton Lakes NP (2 days hiking) 300km from Calgary
Hiking not well described on web or in pamplets.
- Kokanee Glacier Prov. Park (1.5 days hiking?) 350km from Top of World, 550 km from Calgary
- Only 85km of trails, multiple entrances, looks like the only way into the park is hiking!
- Lots of bears and porcupines (wrap tires in chicken wire to protect them!)
- E.C. Manning Prov. Park (4 days hiking) 120km from Cathedral
- Cascade mountains, Park office for trail information (250) 840-8836
- Camping reservations for one campsite only, Note: Need permits to enter/leave from US and Cdn Customs
- Lots of trivial hiking; some nice alpine & mountain hikes - web page does not list hikes well
- Frosty Mountain - 29 km - 10 hours return, 1200m gain Looks ok
- Skyline 1 - 21km, 775m, 7 hours, nice
- Skyline 2 - 25 km (one way) - 610m, 9 hours, July to mid Sept.
- Centennial Trail - 84 km (one way), 3 days
Cathedral Prov. Park (3 days hiking) 350km from Kokanee
- Golden Ears trail - climbs 1500m, aprox 20 km long
Top of the World Prov. Park [1 to 2 days] 24km dirt road, 5km hike into park
- About 30km of gravel road followed by a 16km hike to get into the park!
- Cathedral Lakes Lodge provides transportation to/from the park ($55 out of season) 1-888-CLL-HIKE (1-888-255-4453)
Pickup @ bottom is at 10:00am, 2:00pm, 4:30pm (must be prebooked).
They leave the top at 9:00am, 1:00pm, 3:15pm (booked at the lodge)
- Trails 2 to 28km, including mountain top trips starting at 2km, climbing 500 to 1500m.
Bugaboo Prov. Park (1 day hiking) 22km gravel road entrance
- Kootenay mountains (2.2km to 2.9km high), easy trails, 600m climbs, 3 trails only 6km each
- Summer is 30C daytime and below freezing at night, snow till mid July on alpine trails
- There are 8 trails (one way) from 2 to 7km going upto mountain top
Kettle Valley Railway
- Camp in Kootenay NP (showers!), Backcountry only, some huts, remote, hard hiking.
- Lots of porcupines (wrap car in chicken wire to protect it!)
- Purcell Mountains, granite, peaks > 3km high, Trails - glacier crossing (roped parties only) 13k (760m), 2 other very steep hikes taking 2.5 hours each (700m)
- Perhaps some hiking on sections of it (tressle bridges)
Food & supplies
- Rain jackets, sweaters, long pants x2, long sleved shirts x2
- basic medical pack (asprin, ibuprofin, bandages)
- full pack, day pack, rope (10m), rain bags, hanging bag (?), gloves, hat, balaclava
- toilet supplies, toothpaste & brush, soap, shampoo, comb, bath washcloth, nail file
- cooking stove, pots, knife, spoon, can opener, washing hand towel
- sunblock, sunglasses, bug spray?, compass, vasoline (dry lips)
- iodine for water purification + 2 bottles, crystals to flavour water, tea, powdered milk
To be purchased at arrival
- fast cooking pasta + dried sauce, canned meats/fish, soups, cream of mushroom
- veggies, fruit, chewy bars, pop/water bottles, raman noodles
- fuel for camp stove, lighter
- canned food, pasta, minute rice, egg noodles, kippered fish
- cuscus, raisons, chocolate, GORP, dried veggies & apples, oatmeal (1 cup per light meal), humus (dry), bagels, flat breads, parmesan pesto & rice, salami, jam
Suggestions from Friends
- You really should consider a stop over in Lethbridge, and then a day drive
to Logan Pass in Montana (Glacier National Park). It is by far my favorite
drive in the mountains. Logan Pass is a very
popular narrow highway that literally climbs to the sky. The actual name of
the road is "Going-to-the-sun Road". It is so high that it isn't even open
yet, because they have to continue to plow. And in July, on a very hot day,
when you drive up, there is a lot of snow at the side of the road
(permanent), so you can have snow ball fights in the sun.
The views are amazing. At the top of the pass you can witness weather
fronts as they pass from the West to the East over the continental divide.
At the summit you see a wild transition from the west side to the east side.
Usually it is cloudy as soon as you continue past the summit. The clouds
roll up at you on the other side. Very awesome. The tunnels on the other
side are also exciting.
I usually drive to the east side, then return.
- I love a hike called the iceline. If you wanted a
"warm-up" it is very good. Another good warm up (sort of 50% back
country and 50% front country) is Lake O'hara. But you have to book really early for it.
Hiking Conditions in the Rockies
There were lots of snow storms, heavy snow and late snow depositions. At Peter Lougheed in
Chester Lake the snowpack is:
- 127 cm May 12th (18cm - Pocaterra)
- 4' to 6' deep from May 12th till June 20th!
- July 10 - snow patches still on higher trails - peaks still in snow
- Glacier NP (USA) (1,700,000 visitors/year)
Parks droped from consideration
- Elk Lake - nothing long, some alpine vistas
- Valhalla - backcountry only, no info
- Gladstone - no mountains, short hikes
- Dinosaur Prov. Park - very little hiking, 250km from anything
- West Arm (Harrop) - undeveloped, trails?
- Granby - backcountry only, trails?
- Height of the Rockes - no trails listed, only backcountry
- Kianuko - no trails listed
- Small parks: Stemwinder, Okanagon Falls, Lockhart Creek, Whiteswan Lake, Norbury Lake, Stagleap