AB Nor = Alberta Rockies North (Jasper & Willmore) Rocky Pass, Jasper - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-07-2020, 08:48 PM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Default Rocky Pass, Jasper

I hiked up Rocky Pass yesterday, a trip I tried three weeks ago but got turned back by deep snow on the ascent to the pass. The trail to the pass was in terrible shape as well but has improved somewhat since then. The rivers have been running high in the Jasper area so I wasn't sure what to expect when I got to the Cardinal River. I got an early start and was very happy to see that there were no other vehicles at the trailhead and never did see anyone for the entire trip. Even after hiking the Rockies for over four decades, I still get excited when I get to an empty trailhead. The first three kms you follow the Cardinal River Headwaters trail which is an old seismic line which has been decimated by quads and horses. It's a shame, because that trail to the headwaters of the Cardinal was the finest mountain bike trail anywhere in the Rockies. At km 3 you leave that trail and follow a quad track for a short distance until you reach the banks of the Cardinal River, less than one km. The trail drops down to the river which needs to be crossed three times in about 1.5 kms to reach the ascent to the pass. Although the river was running high and fast it was still a fairly easy crossing. The ascent to the pass starts immediately after the third crossing. The trail is no longer a trail as a nearby creek has re-routed onto the trail but the hiking is still easy. There were a couple of snow drifts near the top, but the snow was packed solid and was easy to cross. The pass itself is about four kms long and the trail is in perfect shape, although there is some willow bashing that needs to be done. Where the trail starts its long descent to the Medicine Tent River is where the canyon starts with dozens of beautiful waterfalls in it. The gorge is very deep and stunning in its beauty.
For most of the hiking season, trying to keep your feet dry is futile. When you hit the first standing water you may as well just walk straight through it, because the first five kms is all about water. Maybe, if the summer is dry, by late August or September you may be able to stay dry. Even with all the water and boot sucking mud, this hike is well worth it. I saw lots of grizzly signs on the trail but didn't see one until the drive home.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-07-2020, 09:23 PM
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That looks like one well fed grizzly! Glad it was from the car and not on trail
I know nothing about the area, but it is really fantastic to see your TR on this forum again despite everything. Would you know what peak is this:




Great photos, as always

Last edited by zeljkok; 07-07-2020 at 09:25 PM.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-07-2020, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Zeljkok. That is Mt. Balinhard at 3130 M. I took a telephoto of it
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-07-2020, 11:57 PM
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Thanks for the informative report and enticing pictures! An area on my wish list as we visit a son in Grande Prairie and have added this hike on our ď to doĒ list.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtn.mom View Post
Thanks for the informative report and enticing pictures! An area on my wish list as we visit a son in Grande Prairie and have added this hike on our ď to doĒ list.
The one thing that I didnít mention in my TR is the condition of the road to the trailhead. Itís about 21 Kms to the trailhead from Cadomin and its a pretty rough road, especially the last five Kms. If you have a truck or good SUV youíll be ok, but if you have a smaller car youíll have to drive really slow and make sure that your spare tire is in good shape.
Have a great trip.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-08-2020, 01:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lobo View Post
Thank you Zeljkok. That is Mt. Balinhard at 3130 M. I took a telephoto of it

Thank you. Really crisp shot.


Inspired by your post I looked a bit around & learned Rocky Pass is now normal access to South Boundary. This page in particular got my attention:


https://thejasperlocal.com/cairn-pas...sly-beautiful/


Have you hiked (backpacked) to Cairn Pass? I understand 1st night you'd camp at Medicine Tent & then 2nd day quite mundane valley bottom march in order to get to beauty on top of page above (assuming that is view from Cairn Pass, it doesn't say explicitly)
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 07-09-2020, 04:35 PM
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Your pictures do a great job of showing the beauty of the area, thanks for the report!
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 07-20-2020, 02:30 PM
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Great photos. Difficult access is now very much a good thing.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 07-20-2020, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheIceTitan View Post
Difficult access is now very much a good thing.

Agreed very much & whole Parks policy in respect to back-country trails makes sense. Keep wild and pristine what you can



lobo, maybe you didn't see my question earlier: Have you ever hiked/backpacked to Cairn Pass?
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 07-21-2020, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
Agreed very much & whole Parks policy in respect to back-country trails makes sense. Keep wild and pristine what you can



lobo, maybe you didn't see my question earlier: Have you ever hiked/backpacked to Cairn Pass?
Yes I have hike to Cairn Pass, but itís been a very long time. Itís such a beautiful area. There isnít much to see between Rocky Pass and Cairn Pass, much like the North Boundary, but when you do get views itís worth the trudge through the trees.
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