AB Cen = Alberta Rockies Central (Banff & David Thompson) Castle Mountain to Lake Louise-the hard way - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2016, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Default Castle Mountain to Lake Louise-the hard way

An area that's always intrigued me-having been there before(to Mitella Lake https://forums.clubtread.com/34-albe...creek-bnp.html)-is the region north, beyond Stuart Knob and onward to Pulsatilla Mountain. Having read enough trip reports in the past of scramblers venturing west from Protection Mountain I'd always wondered of the possibility of venturing onto the north ridge after summiting Pulsatilla. Ultimately our goal would be to descend to a col and then beyond to Pulsatilla Pass. However, one can only tell so much from map and Google Earth data so we proceeded, and were prepared, to be turned away. As the title suggests, it wasn't easy but we were successful. This trip report is, for the most part, more concerned with the more challenging/spicy part of the adventure. The photos, maps and screen grab concern itself with that. I don't suspect anyone needs to see yet another photo of Baker Lake.

When we reached the col immediately east of Stuart Knob we walked due north to the base of Pulsatilla's east slope and chose a fine bivy site. The following morning we ascended Pulsatilla and then the fun began. It was absolutely clear the ridge would only go for perhaps 200 metres. After that, it wasn't to be. Our only option then would be to descend via a glacier/snow slope and regain the ridge when we could. The glacial fern line was well below us which made for boot top to knee penetration in many places. Being ever so careful to stay near the edge, and thus avoid typical glacial hazards we were able to descend at a fairly quick rate. We regained the west slope and then trudged up some horrendous scree. We finally reached the summit of the sub peak to the north overlooking the col at 11u 571660 5695290. Now all we had to do is downclimb to reach that point. Downclimbing is one thing, downclimbing with four-day full backpacks is quite another. I wasn't quite sure what the best way was, so I removed my pack and scrambled down to scout out a hopeful route. Once I was convinced it would go, I went back up at which point we both proceeded to downclimb. At no point were we ever in danger of serious exposure; but these things are relative.

Once at the col we could breathe a sigh of relief and descend to Pulsatilla Pass/Pulsatilla Lake area and to our second night at "BA15 Wildflower Creek" campground. The trail descending to the campground was fine at first, but quickly turned into an overgrown willowfest. Combined with fallen timber, blowdown and ugly creek crossings, it's clear Parks Canada has no intention of maintaining this portion of the trail; plus the grizzly crap was plentiful. Since the Baker Creek trail was officially decommissioned I suspect this trail suffered because of its proximity. Regardless, we finally reached our campground at 2300hrs.

The next day we headed due north following the Baker Creek headwaters to Baker Lake and the Hidden Lake campground. Out the fourth day quickly via 7km to the Fish Lakes Parking Lot. A trip not to be forgotten.
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Dru, zeljkok, Trail Talk and 1 others like this.

Last edited by zeljkok; 11-08-2020 at 10:53 PM. Reason: Insert "AB Cen" Prefix
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 03:35 PM
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Awesome stuff Sid! Glad weather held up for your adventure. Pics are great, specially 089.jpg - silhouette against the glacier.
I am guessing 094.jpg shows that tricky downclimb?
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-22-2016, 04:48 PM
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What a great trip report. Absolutely beautiful pics. Really like the way you annotated your GPS traces with commentary. "Horrific Scree" and "Ridge doesn't go" kind of says it all. TR's like this and many from zeljkok give me a bad case of Rocky Mtn envy. Someday, when the relentless coastal rain finally does me in I might pack up my house, my wife, my boots and poles and settle for a time in the Rockies again, at least for a time.

Wonder if you could put up a GPS trace on Google earth of your whole route? It would kind of fun to fly along your path.

thanks for taking the time to do up this TR of such a cool adventure

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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that's correct zeljkok

Last edited by woodenshoes; 07-23-2016 at 07:12 PM.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-23-2016, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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thnx so much for the compliment xj6response

I'm sorry but I hardly ever do the whole GPS thing. I have a device with me, I turn it on usually to confirm a location/elevation for navigation purposes against my paper map and then turn it off. Consequently I suspect I don't have the trace you wish.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-24-2016, 01:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodenshoes View Post
thnx so much for the compliment xj6response

I'm sorry but I hardly ever do the whole GPS thing. I have a device with me, I turn it on usually to confirm a location/elevation for navigation purposes against my paper map and then turn it off. Consequently I suspect I don't have the trace you wish.
no worries, we just look forward to more great pics and TR's from such a great area :-)

still envious!

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 02:08 PM
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Very nice piece of exploration. Looks like a real fun connection.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2016, 11:22 PM
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Cool area, nice pictures good report. nice to see this area. I like the Pano !
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