Strung on a Bow - ClubTread Community

User Tag List

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Anywhere but social media
Posts: 4,851
Default Strung on a Bow

I wanted to hike Bow Peak for several years -- ever since I saw great TR on Spirko site. At the end, good things come to those who wait. It leads to views like this:


Unavoidable ford of Bow Lake outlet near the start is key reason why this trip is best done in late summer, when water level is low. Besides skies are clear and you want bluebird conditions for trip like this.

Parking is at west side of Icefields on a gravel pull-off, about 1 km south from Crowfoot Glacier tourist viewpoint. It was easy to identify; one other car was there already (Ontario fishermen as we learned later).


Correct way is to walk down the highway for few minutes from here, but I saw faint trail heading straight down from the parking spot. It led in few minutes to unexpectedly large meadow with Bow Lake some 300 meters in front.


1. Crowfoot Mountain from the entrance to Meadow
2. View back to Dolomite Peak under fresh dusting of snow
3. Crowfoot reflections in still water of Bow Lake.

Ontario fishermen we met here pointed us to faint trail on east side of lake; it led in 10 minutes of delightful hiking to lake outlet and usual ford point. Main trail joins at this point as well. Ford was unexpectedly easy - slightly above the ankle, with far (west) end maybe a bit deeper. Old sandals and hiking poles were helpful.


From here unofficial, but wide and well defined trail parallels Bow river for 15-20 minutes staying fairly level, before it swings right (west) and starts steady ascent towards saddle between Crowfoot and Bow Peaks. There were a couple of easy creek crossings and several fallen trees to walk around, to which my hiking companion referred as "bushwhack". After several years of BC Coast, nothing that doesn't leave your shins bloody and arms scratched as you had a fight with rooster doesn't really qualify as bushwhack!

Within an hour and about 300 vertical after the ford we emerged to treeline:


1. Views back from treeline: Cirque Peak upper right, Bow Lake left
2. Talus slope ahead leading to the Pass. Trail leads to the left, but you can go anywhere really.

Having reached effortlessly such expansive views I could not help drawing parallels with BC Coast where for each hour of alpine you have to spend on average 5-6 hours in the trees. Anyways, within 15 minutes more we arrived to the wide pass with a bonus -- two unexpected beautiful alpine tarns under imposing walls of Crowfoot Mountain.


Giant talus slope leading to Bow peak was on the other side.


You can head up pretty much anywhere from here; this is really one of these situations where "follow your nose" approach works the best. Going up we aimed for the low point of the ridge -- roughly straight line in the center of photo above. This had some easy scrambling hoping over boulders, but otherwise presented no challenge. Then we followed the ridge staying mostly on the crest over the sub-peak to true summit, marked by one of largest cairns I've ever seen. It takes about 1 1/2 hour from the pass to the summit.



1. Near the point where we topped out on the ridge with views to die for
2. False summit with couple of easy scrambling moves ahead
3. Final ridgewalk past the false summit -- mostly "hands in your pocket". True summit visible in upper left.
4. Bird eye view of Bow Lake behind us

Summit cairn had pickle jar tucked in instead of summit register. About 1/2 hour was spent mostly taking photos and identifying sea of peaks all around:


1. Hector Lake deep bellow, with Louise group behind
2. Zoom on Cirque Peak. Much of snow dusting visible in the morning has melted. "Crystal" Ridge (awesome winter snowshoe) lower left
3. White Fang of Mt. Daly. I've yet to do this one
4. Zoom on Hector Peak across the street. I am still intrigued by that ridge leading from Little Hector, although it is obvious it does not connect all the way up
5. Icefields curling under Dolomite and Cirque before turning right past Bow Lake

Going down was much faster. After retracing our steps for some 10 minutes, we plunged down large scree slope which effectively cut our return time in half. This is certainly most recommended way to descend. The pass was already in shadow; I snapped one more quick photo before heading down.


1. View south from the Pass. Mt Temple right, Mt. Ball behind. Recognizable cone-shaped tip of Mt. Assiniboine far left in the distance
2. Crossing of Bow Lake outlet on return

For most people hiking time will be 6-7 hours without breaks. At the end, how do I rate Bow Peak? It is a spectacular trip. But it is not just plain "Cirque Peak" walk-up I thought it might be. Had it been in Kane book, it would probably fall somewhere between easy / moderate category. It is quite similar in nature to Panorama Ridge above Consolation Lakes, or -- for BC Coast readers -- final portion of ascent to Castle Towers above Polemonium Ridge. It is well worth though -- highly recommended late summer trip.
zeljkok is online now  
Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 04:55 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Calgary, , .
Posts: 1,010
Default

Nice shots! It's one of my favorite peaks in Bow Lake area. Glad the weather cooperated.
Engor is offline  
post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 08:59 AM
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: , , .
Posts: 335
Default

I was like you, wanted to do this for a few years and finally did it with same clear sky conditions as you and it was simply outstanding. Thx for sharing your story and photos.
jeffs78 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Anywhere but social media
Posts: 4,851
Default

Thanks Engor and jeffs! Bow is much better trip in my opinion than Cirque across the highway, because it feels more "off the beaten track", with similar rewards in scenery.

I was intrigued by option of descending on the other side towards Hector Lake, then angling left back to Icefields. I vaguely remember someone doing that and mentioning bit of (true) bushwhack towards the end, but I am not 100% certain.
zeljkok is online now  
post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 01:06 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Posts: 1,610
Default

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by zeljkok- I was intrigued by option of descending on the other side towards Hector Lake, then angling left back to Icefields. I vaguely remember someone doing that and mentioning bit of (true) bushwhack towards the end, but I am not 100% certain.
If you mean following this back to the start, looking at the satellite image, it looks like this would be about 9-12 kilometers of side-sloping scree and bushwhacking, with elevation loss and gain in several drainage run-outs before hitting the original trail. Doesn't sound all that fun. If you mean just heading back to the highway, it may make more sense to just go down to the Hector Lake back-country site and follow the trail out to the highway from there. Hopefully with a car shuttle waiting at the end.
Marko is offline  
post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-15-2012, 08:19 PM
Off the Beaten Path
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: , , Canada.
Interest: the Lord Jesus, scrambling, Lego
Posts: 782
Default

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by zeljkok
I was intrigued by option of descending on the other side towards Hector Lake, then angling left back to Icefields. I vaguely remember someone doing that and mentioning bit of (true) bushwhack towards the end, but I am not 100% certain.
Hello Zeljko,

If you have a copy of Mike Potter's Ridgewalks in the Canadian Rockies, the description of Bow Peak on page 201 says, "The descent takes the obvious southeast spur to an open knoll. Below, however, there is a price to pay for the glorious alpine experience: a purgatory of bushwhacking on steep slopes with fallen trees. Give thanks upon reaching the shore of Hector Lake, then turn left toward the backcountry campground. An established trail, with another ford of the bow included for good measure, leads to the highway." The accompanying map shows about 1.5km of bushwhacking down the slope.

The COC group I was with years ago did an out-and-back so I cannot verify this report except to say that I've learned to always consult this very good book when considering my outings. I've changed the way I'm going to do Mt Richardson (one day) because of it.

Regards,

Granticulus
Granticulus is offline  
post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-15-2012, 09:36 PM
MJB
Off the Beaten Path
 
MJB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Williams Lake BC
Posts: 963
Default

WOW!!!!
There is something so very special about the Alberta Rockies.
So wonderful..... I must go there.
THanks so much for the images and descriptions.

MJB is offline  
post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-15-2012, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
Summit Master
 
zeljkok's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Anywhere but social media
Posts: 4,851
Default

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Granticulus

If you have a copy of Mike Potter's Ridgewalks in the Canadian Rockies, the description of Bow Peak on page 201 says,
Yes. I have that excellent book (opposed to "Don't Waste your time.." which is not half as good -- but this is separate discussion) -- and was actually reading the lines you mention while sitting by that giant summit cairn. I guess I should have clarified this in my report.

At one time scrambling & touching summit cairn was obsession; now it has shifted towards exploring of less known routes (how to get from A to B ..) and ultimately trips that are most rewarding from aesthetic point of view. For instance last night I was stumbling for 2 hours in dark on Grouse Mtn and barely caught last gondola down at 10 pm, because I found one beautiful trail I didn't know it existed . "Bow Loop" would certainly fall into that category as well
zeljkok is online now  
post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 01:21 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: , AB, .
Posts: 481
Default

I appreciate all the beautiful pictures you posted, thank you.
wildtrekker is offline  
post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 03:00 PM
Off the Beaten Path
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: , , Canada.
Interest: the Lord Jesus, scrambling, Lego
Posts: 782
Default

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by zeljkokAt one time scrambling & touching summit cairn was obsession; now it has shifted towards exploring of less known routes (how to get from A to B ..) and ultimately trips that are most rewarding from aesthetic point of view. For instance last night I was stumbling for 2 hours in dark on Grouse Mtn and barely caught last gondola down at 10 pm, because I found one beautiful trail I didn't know it existed . "Bow Loop" would certainly fall into that category as well
After reading your Devil's Thumb report, I would also include that outing in this category. By the way, I really enjoyed finding out about the easy route. I'd certainly like to visit it one day when I'm back in the Lake Louise area.

Regards
Granticulus is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome
 

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1