Lipalian to Purple Mound
Peakbaggers would call this 2 peak day. I don't care much about summits anymore, but what sticks instead is one of best ridgewalks I've done in quite some time, ending in pristine and simply adorable alpine valley I was not aware existed! All these years I've been rushing into Skoki to see the lakes, but equally beautiful delight was much closer. Although Lipalian Mtn. is now described in A. Kane scrambles guidebook 3rd edition, it is not more than off-trail hike. I took off Temple Road at first ski-out run on right side and walked up to upper terminal of Larch chairlift, then easily trashed up moderately angle talus/boulder slope to alpine glory above. Only non-straightforward spot was on this slope - but I was well aware from Spirko report I needed to angle left to avoid the boulders - worked like a charm. Ridgewalk from Lipalian to Purple Mound (first part of "Pumpkin Traverse") is simply amazing with far reaching 360 views -- don't stop at Lipalian, it's more than worth the effort. But best was yet to come -- from Purple Mound I dropped into "Valley of Dreams" between Unity Peak and Wolverine Ridge I was familiar with from snowshoe trip couple of years ago. Unexpected tarn and larch goodness; almost made me stay overnight without gear. Reason prevailed and I hiked out picking up bits of trail lower down dumping me easily to main Skoki road. Photos tell the story:
[Looking back at top of Larch Chairlift. Will take about an hour to get here from Temple road. Mt. Richardson -- personal favorite Skoki scramble just right of center]
[Only 'challenge' -- stay left aiming for talus slope upper center left and you will bypass most of the boulders]
[Approaching summit of Mt. Lipalian. Protection Mtn ridge upper left]
[Strange creature at Lipalian summit -- how did it get there??]
[Mt. Temple and Valley Of Ten Peaks from Lipalian Summit]
[Looking back from Lipalian summit. Purple Mound is right of center and intervening ridge is simply glorious. Takes ~40-45minutes only]
["Painted Landscape" -- becomes obvious where Purple Mound got its name]
[Unexpected tarn below Mt. Lipalian - would also make for beautiful and solitary overnight spot]
[Looking back to Lipalian from near Purple Mound summit; Mt. Temple center left behind]
[Purple Mound Summit Cairn. There was no register, but there was survey marker nearby. Banff - Louise corridor with many well known peaks on horizon]
[It seems strange creature made it from Lipalian to Purple Mound as well!]
[Delightful Panorama into Skoki, personal favorite BNP area, from Purple Mound. Unity Peak right of center is moderate (class 3) & it is possible to do "Pumpkin Traverse" on foot by continuing on other side towards Redoubt Lake. I dropped easily towards Wolverine Ridge (center-left), then angled right towards Unity Tarn in "Valley of Dreams"]
[Glorious tarn below Unity Peak. Vistas like this is what BNP summer alpine hiking is all about!]
["Unity Tarn" looking back to where I just came from -- Purple Mound left, Lipalian distance right]
This is a stellar trip with huge reward :: effort ratio with only real required skill being comfortable hiking off trail and general sense of direction. ~10.5km (+ 4km Temple Road walk x 2), with ~900m elevation (+300m Temple Road Walk). Took 7 hrs, can be done in less than 6, but why hurry?? Map and Elevation Profile:
Nice find! That tarn looks amazing!
Nothing compares to Rockies!!
Looks like another trip to heaven, a happy place where no one needs to die to get into.
Couple more images:
[Panoramic View South from Lipalian Summit. Long Ridge center left is Protection Mountain I scrambled in 2012 On the other side is delightful alpine meadow that begs for overnight; Pulsatilla Mtn. is relatively straightforward ascent from there. It's a trip I've been thinking about for quite some time now]
[Telephoto of Mt. Ball group from Lipalian Summit]
[Very colorful Purple Mound; extremely simple photo, but I really like the contrasts]
[One more of Unity Tarn; can't quite remember such a peaceful and compact alpine pocket. This would be faster way btw to reach Unity Peak, instead of going over Lipalian / Purple Mound. I've been thinking about doing loop around Redoubt Mtn --more or less Pumpkin Traverse-- and would approach this way]
It was a stellar day indeed. One last note -- this valley is prime griz bear environ. I've seen huge recent bear scat. Make lots of noise if you go.
Alternate report with more photos and downloadable GPS track here
Thanks for posting this wonderful hike.
I really like photo 7, "Painted Landscape." So pure! The colors are amazing -- yellow ochre, teal blue, subtle grays, a bluebird sky.
Photo 3 suggests a well-trod footpath on the ridge.
Perhaps the purple rock with red undertones is argillite (sedimentary)? Possibly a rock containing purple quartz.
(I have a book on geology of CA Rockies, so may get around to looking it up, and the formation.)
Glad to add this hike to a list of "more beautiful, less touristy" hikes, several of which have popped up on the forums the past couple of months. The dance card for September 2021 fills.
Normally, I am looking at trips to places I've never been and probably never will be but....
Two of us climbed Mt Temple back in 1992 via Paradise Valley. It was a very memorable trip and I do believe that is Delta Form to the left of Temple. Nice to see your pictures.
Thank you for kind words as always ColdBrook. Rockies are very beautiful right now. No smoke from wildfires, very crisp air and wildflowers are blooming. Just drove down Icefields coming back from backpack & it was really busy; no out of country tourists, but Canadians that are now using their vacations domestically make up for it.
Go to Skoki when you come in September next year; it is one of best, if not the best, autumn larch season destination.
Indeed, I have been observing the relative paucity of wildfires this year, in Pacific NW of USA and in Canada.
Would be nice to drive under clear skies, no ash coating the car.
I think it's good for folks to be able to enjoy their own country.
Am wondering whether that might be the wave of the future: certain weeks or months, maybe not every year, when it's just for locals.
We are edging toward that in USA, without clearly thinking about it: locals might get "anytime" admission to a state park, whereas out-of-state plates vie for timed-entry slots.
Thank you Ed. Yes, Deltaform is 1 of "10 peaks" above Moraine lake, the only one above magic 11000 feet barrier. This is nice page from Dow Williams:
thanks for sharing your piece of heaven.
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