Little loopy around the Iceline - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Default Little loopy around the Iceline

Waking up in my tent at Lake Louise I felt very tired. Continuous full-day trips over last several days, lack of good night sleep (darn that train!) and proper food took their toll. I felt I needed to sit in my car & drive straight to the Coast. Had that happened, I would have missed this:


Iceline is the classic Rockies Trail. Most people who come to this board would have heard of it, or even hiked at some point. For everyone else -- if you are going to pick 1 Trail in Yoho National Park, pick this one. High alpine traverse with glaciers, lakes and waterfalls on park maintained trail with different loop options available.


After packing up my camp and refueling at Lagans (way too overpriced, but busier than Whyte Avenue after Oilers game) I felt a bit better. It was bluebird day; I should at least get to some lake and snap few photos before heading back. Emerald Lake just past Field came to mind; I remembered nice views of Wapta Mountain from the shoreline. Driving down I glanced towards Yoho Valley -- it's been such a long time since I've been here. Last time it was rather roundabout approach to Isolated peak I led for Calgary based COC. The car kinda steered itself on its own. Let's just take a few photos of the falls first, then drive back


Snapping a few pictures of the falls from tourist spot I felt a bit better. I walked down to Whiskey Jack hostel and glanced upwards


From here it didn't take long to convince myself. Quick check at depleted food bin: Still some Gatorade Powder - good. Energy bar and an apple. Good. Some cheese. Hm. Can of Brunswick sardines. Yuck. Some baby carrots. Ok. Looks like I am going to survive.


Hiking up the switchbacks above Whiskey Jack took forever -- I felt every step. However once I was above treeline, views opened up and I stared taking photos, the tiredness went away -- I was like new. From that point on I enjoyed hiking this delightful trail over series of talus covered benches under the Presidents, past small glacial lakes with ever improving views west towards Glacier Des Poilus and peaks above Little Yoho Valley. Some photos:


I reached the highpoint from where trail dips down towards Little Yoho. I turned up the small talus slope, had lunch break (even these sardines were not bad after all), then retraced my steps. Arriving at Celeste junction I realized I never hiked that trail. It would be a bit longer but I love loops and at that point I felt perfectly ok. Afternoon sun created perfect light conditions for optimal photography:


1. Length of Whaleback Ridge. Not to be confused with Park "Whaleback Trail" which is just highline connector between Twin Falls and Little Yoho Valley. We hiked this on our approach to Isolated Peak, and to this day it remains one of best ridgewalks I've ever done
2. Views back down the Iceline at Celeste Junction
3. Great view of Wapta Peak -- difficult Kane scramble. Think I can see Steven Song somewhere up there

Celeste Trail is rather roundabout -- had it gone directly it would be 1/2 hour hike. Instead it meanders around without hurrying, but I didn't care. Initial descent to rather expansive meadows (even a few mosquitoes here!), then bellow treeline to dried out Celeste Lake and finally unnamed, but very beautiful emerald green tarn near the connector to Little Yoho Valley trail:


Quick plunge down to main Yoho Valley followed with last photo break at Laughing falls. I inspected backcountry campground for possible future trips, but although it is quite nice it is much better in my opinion to continue and overnight at Little Yoho:


Flat 3.5 km walk back to Takakkaw parking lot ended the day. I enjoyed one last view of the Falls and great Burning Sky towards O'Hara group -- indicator of changing weather pattern and breaking down of high pressure ridge I was happy to enjoy for most of the week:


At the end, this particular loop I did on this day can be completed in ~6 hours, but 7-8 is more realistic -- you will need lots of photo breaks. Entire length is at park maintained trails - hands in your pocket stuff. I didn't have gps so I can't give accurate stats, but estimate is around 20 km with 600-700 vertical only.

More photos here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/1167471...eat=directlink

This concludes my ramblings on Alberta section of CT board - at least temporarily. Hope I wasn't too hard on you guys. I'll go back spreading my spam on BC side now
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 12:38 AM
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Another wonderful report with great pictures. Looks like you had a good holiday in the Rockies
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 07:42 AM
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Beautiful Funny how last year it seemed like I was following you,and this year it's the other way around It's hard to go wrong in eye candy land!! Great trip
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 09:07 AM
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Great pics again...gotta get back there soon!

I get how the sardines were not so bad after all...if I end a hike near Whistler, I go to Ingrids' for a giant dill pickle!
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 10:10 PM
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I did the full loop past the ACC hut earlier this summer and it took us 7 hours car to car and was pretty much 20km bang on. It was my first time to the area and I cant wait to get back there!
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-15-2012, 08:04 PM
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Hello Zeljko!

Nice to know that you made it back to 'almost' AB and are enjoying your outings. As always, love the photos.

This one is interesting...did you notice the 'crocodile'?


Regards!

Granticulus
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-15-2012, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
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quote:Originally posted by Granticulus

Hello Zeljko!

Nice to know that you made it back to 'almost' AB and are enjoying your outings. As always, love the photos.

This one is interesting...did you notice the 'crocodile'?


Regards!

Granticulus
haha.. of course! We just shared the lunch (remember these sardines... )

As for making it back 'almost' to AB -- I'm busy with some project here on the coast, but once this is done I am moving back to Canmore. So you'll be seeing me. Btw congrats on Smuts and Northover -- these 2 are more climbs than scrambles!
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-16-2012, 08:48 PM
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quote:Originally posted by zeljkok

We hiked [Whaleback Ridge] on our approach to Isolated Peak, and to this day it remains one of best ridgewalks I've ever done
Agreed. The high meadow between Whaleback and Isolated Peak (which connects to the Mitchell Hut) is also a fantastic spot. The way the Presidents catch the light in the late evening from that spot is something special.

Thanks for the report!
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by zeljkokAs for making it back 'almost' to AB -- I'm busy with some project here on the coast, but once this is done I am moving back to Canmore. So you'll be seeing me. Btw congrats on Smuts and Northover -- these 2 are more climbs than scrambles!
That's good news, Zeljko! I was just in Canmore yesterday with the family and did Grotto Canyon with two of my children and their grandpa...

Canmore is one of my most favourite places on Earth. I often wonder if I lived there, if I'd ever tire of doing the scrambles in the area...naw!

Merci regarding Smuts and Northover. Of the two, I'd consider doing Smuts again first. I was MUCH more comfortable on Smuts and would even consider soloing it in the future. I liked going up much more than the descent off the north side.

Regards,

Granticulus
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 03:11 PM
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I would do Smuts again too. If I return someday, I'd probably climb down the way I went up. I found going around to be longer than anticipated.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 09-17-2012, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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quote:Originally posted by Granticulus

Canmore is one of my most favourite places on Earth. I often wonder if I lived there, if I'd ever tire of doing the scrambles in the area...naw!
Makes 2 of us. Canmore has downsides too -- on average it is 3-4 degrees colder than Calgary, and it also has less sunshine (winter -- sun low). Things are more expensive (but you can do shopping in Calgary). But for location it simply can not be beaten.

Interesting that real-estate has been in steady decline at least for couple of years now. This is true for both tourist and residential properties.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 09-18-2012, 02:25 PM
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I didn't feel Smuts to be that easy, though easier than Northover for sure. There're several factors to be considered.

They're both done on the 4th day of intense peak-bagging trip, so I was low on energy level for both.

Northover was done in a windless, sunny, bluebird day; Smuts was done in a cold, overcast day with strong wind.

I wore climbing shoes on Mt. Northover. On Smuts, I used by stiff winter boots (because I brought crampons due to the concern for snow)... Stiff boots are very awkward on friction moves, and I even backed off the ridge crest and accessed the first chimney much lower.

Went way off-route on Smuts, both up and down...

Well, on 1st try, unless you do extensive preparation for the route, treat them equally serious. On 2nd try, Smuts will be much easier.
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