[1-Mt. Robson south face]
On August 2, 2008 I posted a visual hike of the Berg Lake Trail to Berg Lake and the northern face of Mt. Robson. This is a continuation of that post with the trail continuing to Snowbird Pass.
[2- Berg Lake, Berg Glacier and northern face of Mt. Robson]
Snowbird Pass is closed May and June due to caribou calving. A challenging route marked by rock cairns (caution required), which provides spectacular views of the back of Mount Robson. From Berg Lake campsite the trip is 22 km, return. Start north of Rearguard campsite, follow Robson River then travel up to Robson Glacier's moraine. Hike up to an alpine meadow, beyond which is Snowbird Pass.
From Berg Lake campground, follow the main trail northeast. In 100 m, immediately after the Toboggan Creek bridge, the trail to Toboggan Falls forks left and ascends generally northwest. Proceed on the main trail.
[3- Snowbird Pass Trail with Rearguard Mountain on the right]
Pass Rearguard campground at 1 km.
[4- view looking back to Berg Lake past Rearguard campsite]
Beyond Rearguard, the trail leads generally east-northeast onto a gravel flat. Reach a junction at 1.4 km. The trail leading straight passes a ranger station in 100 m then continues generally northeast to Robson Pass campground.
[5- Sign where toe of Robson Glacier was in 1911]
[6- view of Mt. Robson Glacier before long ascent]
For Snowbird Pass, go right and hike along the meltwater stream toward the toe of Robson Glacier.
[7- higher up, glacial pond, looking behind]
At 2.2 km, bear right (southeast) where a cutoff trail to Robson Pass forks left. Ahead, the marginal lake at the glacier’s toe is where the Robson River begins.
[8- toe of Robson Glacier]
[9- Looking back from last photo along trail]
The trail ascends the lateral moraine of Robson Glacier, enabling you to overlook the ice for the next 3 km. Be cautious: the rocks cave in where the ice has melted.
[10- More of Robson Glacier revealed]
[11- Along Robson Glacier]
At 7.4 km, the trail turns away from the glacier and begins a switchbacking climb past a cascade.
[12- Above Robson Glacier]
[13- waterfall on Snowbird Pass Trail]
A steep, eastward ascent follows the left side of a stream. The grade eases in an alpine meadow. Aim for the low point on the ridge ahead. The superior route bends left and stays north of the stream.
[14- alpine meadow]
[16- Crossing the meadow]
[17- Ptarmigan (snowbird) beside Snowbird Pass Trail]
These birds are 14 inches. In winter both adults have white plumage with a black tail and bill and a black eye line. The feet are feathered. In summer the male has dark brown plumage with white wings and a white belly. The female in summer has mottled brown plumage and white wings.
The ptarmigan feeds on seeds, fruits, buds, and insects in the summer but in winter is confined to buds and twigs. Its stomach is adapted to this diet having special bacteria enabling it to digest woody material Another adaptation is the feathered feet which act as snowshoes, allowing the bird to walk on soft snow. The feathers are hollow and filled with air which provide the bird with some insulation. The female will lay 6 - 9, sometimes as many as 16 buff-coloured eggs. The male defends the territory while the female incubates the eggs for around 21 days. The chicks are very quick to leave th enest and fly within ten days.
[18- Snowbird Pass Trail with late blooming wildflowers]
[19- Mt. Robson from Snowbird Pass Trail]
[20- View behind while ascending first of several minor ridges]
Follow cairns up a steep boulder field to crest Snowbird Pass at 10.6 km.
[21- Cairn at the end of meadow]
[22- Trail near top of Snowbird Pass with snow]
[23- Coleman Glacier at the top of Snowbird Pass with large cairn at Jasper National Park, Alberta]
It is not wise to attempt glacier travel unless experienced and with a guide.
[24- Heading back to Mt. Robson]
For more information about hiking and Canada's Parks go to the sidebar under "Conservation and Nature".
Research: BC Parks, A Field Guide to the Birds of North America by Michael Vanner (2006) Paragon Publishing p. 88
Photo Credits: -Wikipedia, -brilang-CC=nc-sa-flickr, -HandsLive CC=flickr, -merehike.
A word from Beau
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