Thursday, 9 October 2008

Hiking Trails - Whistling Pass Trail - Day 6 of 11

This post belongs to the first series of hikes, which is an 11-day backpacking trip from Kananaskis, along the Continental Divide to Yoho National Park. Today’s post covers the sixth day.

Egypt Lake to Ball Pass Junction
12km – 7 hours – moderate – closest town: Banff, AB
Elevation gain - 45m (150 ft).

Egypt Lake Campground
42.5 miles (68.0) — Egypt Lake Campground. Elevation: 6,545 feet (1,963.5 metres)

[1– Bridge over Pharaoh Creek at Egypt Lake Campground]

[2– wildflowers on Whistling Pass]

[3– Pharaoh Peaks on Whistling Pass Trail]

[4– view to Whistling Pass]

[5 -View from Whistling Pass to snow covered Mt. Ball]

The steep climb up to Whistling Pass reveals the reason behind the name. It is not because of the wind that whips through it, but for the multiple family groups of whistling hoary marmots looking down from their vantage points on huge boulders. They whistle with the passing of each backpacker.

[6– Hoary Marmot by Wikipedia]

[7– Meadow Whistling Pass]

44.6 miles (71.3) — Whistling Pass. Elevation: 7,545 feet (2,263.5 metres)

[8– Scarab Lake below Mt Haiduk]

This is a good place to have lunch overlooking the lake, before going on to Ball Pass Junction.

Three and a half miles and 1,250 feet (375m) of descent from the pass is Ball Pass Junction Campground, a beautiful, quiet, scenic timberline site featuring some picnic tables, so called because it lies at the intersection of two major trails.

48.0 miles (76.8) — Ball Pass Jct. Campground. Elevation: 6,300 feet (1,890 metres)

Banff National Park is finally left for Kootenay National Park at Ball Pass which lies 1.5 miles (2.4 km) and 1,000 feet (300m) above the campground. The view from the pass is dominated by Mount Ball, a distinctive, bulky peak capped with a curving white glacier.

Mount Ball was named by James Hector in 1858. Ball, John (John Ball was Under-secretary of State for the Colonies and was influential in obtaining funding for the Palliser Expedition; first president of the Alpine Club (London)).*


Research: *Peaks of the Canadian Rockies (

Photo Credits: [1][2][3][4][5][7][8]-by brilang-CC=nc-sa-flickr; [6]-by wikipedia.


David Cranmer said...

I wonder if the marmots are welcoming visitors or telling them to get lost?

Tess Kincaid said...

Ahhh...more breathtaking Canadian loveliness!

Charles Gramlich said...

That Marmot looks like a stuffed animal almost.

Those are some impressive peaks.

laughingwolf said...

lovely, but i know better than to be reckless around mountains, what with avalanches in winter and landslides other times...

the small town of 'frank', bc, was totally buried under rock and mud, though i think one person survived

Gary's third pottery blog said...

can you imagine rolling around in snow on a summer day?

Barbara Martin said...

David, I would suspect the latter. They don't know if humans would trap them for food. Grizzlies find them tasty.

Willow, agreed.

Charles, well it's certainly filled itself up for the coming winter hibernation.

Tony, sometimes I wonder about the hiking photos I find where they are walking up or down a scree slope. All it takes is one misstep and down they go to the bottom, or over an edge. Just because there appears to be a well trod path does not mean its safe.

The Frank slide was a situation waiting to happen. For visitors, a mining company decided to begin digging despite warnings from the local aboriginals. One night a goodly portion of the front of Frank Peak came sliding down to cover the town.

Gary, yes, I've done it at the edge of the highway 1A when it was the major road through the Rockies.

sateesh bandi said...

Super Canada !! would love to see them...

Wynn Bexton said...

Aren't we blessed to live in such a rich, beautiful country?

Barbara Martin said...

Sateesh, one day your dreams may come true.

Wynn, we certainly are.