Jasper NP, Skyline Trail, Alberta, Canada; Report & Pics Sept 20, 2018 13:31:23 GMT -8 MTalpine, kayman, and 1 more like this
Post by bumknees on Sept 20, 2018 13:31:23 GMT -8
Jasper National Park, Skyline Trail, Alberta, Canada, 9-8-18 to 9-15-18
Sat Sep 8, Flew to Calgary, met Dan & Phil, drove to Jasper. Dan had picked up supplies before my arrival.
Sun Sep 9, Drove to the Signal Mt TH so we would know where it was, to meet the taxi tomorrow in the am. Continued to Maligne Lake, to see the starting point of the hike. Went to the visitor center, got the latest weather & info, weather report not good as it called for rain & snow. Drove to the northeast part of Jasper, did a 3 mile hike on the Hochimini Trail through aspens & pines with some Patricia Lake views. Went to Maligne Canyon in the afternoon.
Mon Sep 10, Met taxi at the Signal TH, 7am, headed to Maligne Lake. The driver was an avid outdoorsman and spotted 3 moose along the way. Dropped off at 7:30ish, prepped and got started before 8am. Weather overcast and drizzly. Elevation ~5543 ft. Trail was generally wet with many puddles in the trail. The Skyline Trail starts as a walk in the woods, gradually gaining in elevation. We passed Lorraine Lake & then Mona Lake. We crossed Evelyn Creek & camp, and started to gain more elevation, eventually getting views of the mountains around us. The clouds had lifted to a point that we could easily see what was around us. As we approached Little Shovel Pass, the views became more consistent. We got to Little Shovel Pass in good time, elevation 7347, and continued for our 1st camp, Snow Bowl. The weather looked a bit threatening, so we got to it, arriving in early afternoon, elevation 6868, covering about 7.6 miles. Rained overnight.
Tue Sep 11, Got started a little after 9am, dropped into a really long meadow area. Disappointingly, we saw no wildlife in this area. Continued to Big Shovel Pass, elevation 7609, weather holding but cloudy. We did the short & steep hike up to Watchtower Col, for the views & pics. Saw Bighorn coming down, about a ½ mile ahead, so hustled over to get pics. The 4 of them were resting and grazing, and paid us little attention. A marmot posed for us by the trail, and we continued on to the Curator Trail junction. We dropped about 500 ft to arrive at Curator Camp, elevation 6789, covering ~5.1 miles. Set up camp, took pics etc. Rained & snowed overnight.
Wed Sep 12, Tent had a bit of snow on it, and very wet. It kept looking like it wanted to clear a bit, so got going after 9am. The climb back to the junction was slow, especially for me. As we turned towards the Notch, clouds & fog started to roll in. As we passed Curator Lake, it started to snow, and the uphill steepened. The rocky trail towards the top became hard to discern, so we slowed down. 3 younger folks passed us, also struggling to stay on the trail. We just followed them. The last push to the Notch was on snow covered rocks, with exposure on the left. We couldn’t see but 100-200 ft, so that didn’t matter much. Reached the Notch, elevation 8232, and paused. It was snowing a little harder and more breezy on this side. We could just see the group ahead of us, and could tell they couldn’t find the trail. In a bit, we all got on the trail, but we lost them in the clouds, so we followed their tracks, which were filling fast, with snow & drift. Shortly, we all lost the trail again, as it turned left and we missed it. We wandered about their tracks, eventually looping around and finding the trail farther below. We had a series of long switchbacks to descend into Tekarra Camp’s valley. Light snow continued. Arrived about 4:30pm, elevation 6763, camp wet, plants snowy, trail was just starting to snow up. Snowed most of the night.
Thu Sep 13, Snow covered the tent, cutting off air circulation. The zippers were frozen, and while breaking camp, the tent poles were all frozen together. A lighter to each joint, solved that, but kicking around in 6 inches of snow, made it difficult. We had decided to skip Signal Camp, and walk out, so 8.5 miles of snowy trail today. Tent was wet & heavy with water & ice. Cloudy and still snowing as we left camp. Crossed the creek/river, and headed uphill on the flank of Mount Tekarra. Trail was mostly discernable, but had 4-6 inches of snow in/on it. It became deeper as our elevation increased. We had to pause a few times to find the trail, but mostly could vaguely see it. Got to Signal Mt Road, and started down. The snow depth did not let up till we got about a mile from our ride, as it was melting at this elevation. Finally, after a long slog, we reached the parking lot at Signal Mt Road, elevation 3805, but had to brush 6 inches of snow off Dan’s rental. Covered 8.5 miles today. Turned in our bear spray and fuel to the visitor center. Stayed in Jasper.
Fri Sep 14, Drove through Jasper NP to Banff for lunch, continuing to Calgary.
Sat Sep 15, Early flight home.