Saturday 18 October 2014

Hiking Trails - Abbott Ridge Trail

[1) - Nearing Glacier National Park boundary on Highway 1 westbound with Sir Donald range in the background. An introduction to this area was posted earlier on Glacier House with location instructions. The first photo is borrowed from that post.

Mount Abbott: 2454m
Elevation of the trailhead - 1250m
This trail is strenuous
Length: 10km (6.2 mi)
Elevation Gain: 1,040m (3,412 ft) in 5 km (3 mi)
Time: 5 to 6 hours

The best time to hike this trail is July to August as snow remains on the higher elevations in early July.

From the campground:

Cross the Illecilliwaet River on the bridge, 

making your way through the Interpretive Trail at Glacier House.

The Abbott Ridge Trail heads west/right from the middle of the ruins.

The trail switches back and forth through the forest of lush ferns and undergrowth among evergreens and western cedar.

About 1.0 km along the trail a waterfall from Avalanche Creek can be seen on the other side of the valley to the east.

At the 1.3km mark Avalanche Mountain (2861m), Eagle Peak, Uto Peak (2927m) and Mt. Sir Donald (3246m).

At 1.7km the Hermit Range across the highway to the north and Tupper Glacier to the NW.

At 2.5km mark is Marion Lake, really more of a seasonal tarn. This lake is named after Reverend Wm. Spotzwood Green's daughter. Reverend Green and Reverend Swanzy climbed the area in the early 1900s. The water is clear, and the basin gouged out by a glacier in the rock.

At 2.9km the Illecillewaet Glacier becomes visible through the trees.

After Marion Lake Junction at the 3.0km mark there is a longer trail which swings past the Abbott Observatory to ease the legs of the hiker before heading to the top of Abbott Ridge and across.

Or, the hiker may take the short cut to Abbott Ridge (more strenuous than the previous portion of the trail). This is on the north side of the ridge. Be prepared for snow portions on the trail.

Above the treeline on the lower ridge is alpine tundra. When traversing scree slopes be careful not to mis-step and fall resulting in a nasty trip down. This is a treacherous area to the unwary.

At 3.1km is the false summit of Abbott Ridge. Here you leave the trees and ascend through charcoal grey rock to the Abbott Observatory. Although exposed to the elements, there are great views.

In the swing around to the Abbott Observatory at 4.5km. Here the cabin provides an emergency shelter for snow research and avalanche personnel who climb up here once a week during the winter.

After the observatory, follow the trail to the base of the cliffs where the trail switchbacks up to the ridge.

Once on the top of the ridge magnificent views of the surrounding area can be seen. Expect gusty winds.

To the southwest is Mount Bonney (3100m) and its glacier.

At the end of the trail on the top of the ridge where you can see the Illecilliwaet Glacier in the background.

Always check the weather and hiking conditions before you venture out. Be prepared for rain or snow squalls which can occur unexpectedly in the mountains.

Glacier National Park

Photo Credits:

{1} RegNatarajan CC=flickr
All other photos:

kleinmantara CC=nc-sa-flickr.

Friday 17 October 2014

Saskatchewan Crossing

During the 1800s, the Saskatchewan Crossing was used by fur traders making their way into British Columbia. Located at the junction of the Icefields Parkway #93 and the David Thompson Highway in Banff National Park it offers a jumping off place for hikers and backpackers.

The Glacier Lake Trailhead can be located at the parking lot on the west side of the Icefields Parkway 1 km north of the Saskatchewan River Crossing Service Centre. The distance is 8.9km one way with an elevation gain of 210 m, and an elevation loss of 220m. The hiker is looking at 6 hours for a round trip.

Parks Canada provides information on activities available on its website.

Photo Credit: eurotrash CC=nc-sa-flickr.