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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Default Citadel Peak and Sunshine Larches

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Larch season view from Quartz Hill towards Citadel area along standard Assiniboine trail from Sunshine Meadows taken several years ago. Ever since I longed to return & scramble Citadel Peak. But you have to hit it right -- larches come and go very fast and you have to be lucky for bluebird in already shoulder season. Forecast was calling for late afternoon clearing & I timed my trip accordingly, hoping to get clear Assiniboine views from Citadel Peak -- it didn't materialize as promised clearing came couple of hours late. Yet, larches were in their prime and entire walk from Sunshine Meadows over to Citadel Pass is simply breathtaking. Day was long though, as there is no alternative to walking Sunshine access road due to COVID + they gated road almost 1km before lower terminal which added to overall tally. Scramble was easy, in fact it was just a steep walk on easiest line. Photo story:


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[Great Divide junction -- right for Rock Isle Lake, left for Sunshine Meadows and Mt. Assiniboine]

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[View back hiking Sunshine Meadows -- this ~1.5km has got to be one of most delightful alpine meadows in Rockies]

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[Quartz Hill view -- weather was already closing up; compare this to pic from top of post, taken exactly at same spot]

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[Delightful hiking towards Citadel Pass past Howard Douglas Lake, where I had lunch]

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[Citadel Meadows Pano -- Citadel Peak, and my objective, just right of center. Fatigue Mtn. left]

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[Approximate route taken to Citadel Peak. Going in I sidesloped directly from Citadel Pass; on descent I took direct line down. There are several alternatives but easiest gully to breach rockband -- where red and black lines meet -- is nothing more than steep hiking]

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[Close up of ascent gully. More difficult options are to climber right]

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[Above the gully, looking back to Fatigue Pass area (center left). Assiniboine trail traversing golden meadows below]

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[Pano from Citadel Peak looking north towards Sunshine Meadows. Citadel Lake, that stays hidden from trail ascending Citadel Pass, lower center]

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[Simpson Ridge to the west. Very hard to access now because of all the burn couple of yrs ago]

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[From summit hiked Citadel ridge to south end. This bit of vegetation with unique shape somehow manages to survive harsh conditions]


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[Cheers Assiniboine! Too bad you wouldn't let me see you this time]


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[Looking back up Citadel Peak slopes as I descended to the pass. Going up I came in from the right, above the green forested patch and on return descended directly down]

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[Clearing sky, bit too late, on return from Quartz Hill. Still quite special]

Last couple of hours was with headlamp, with what seemed like never ending descent down Sunshine Road. Total tally, including road walk, came to 34km, ~1500m vertical and 9 hrs. (If you get a bus to Sunshine Village when COVID is over, it will be ~22km return with ~1000m vertical). Usual GPS based map and elevation profile (from Sunshine Village):


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Larches are in their prime right now. Come and get it while it lasts.


Full report with high-res images and GPS Track download link here
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Last edited by zeljkok; 10-06-2020 at 01:13 AM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by zeljkok View Post
[Quartz Hill view -- weather was already closing up; compare this to pic from top of post, taken exactly at same spot]
Did you post-process the first shot darker? Prefer this version since it's lighter therefore the colors are more vibrant.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-22-2020, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Did you post-process the first shot darker? Prefer this version since it's lighter therefore the colors are more vibrant.

1st shot is with SLR, post processed in CS6 several years ago. My post-processing skills have improved in meantime so probably I'd be able to make it better now, if I can still find raw file.


Rest from yesterday with small sensor pocket camera, quickly snapped while hiking with in-camera HDR mode. Long hike so I didn't have time to mess with SLR + too cloudy to bother.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-23-2020, 09:13 PM
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Looks fantastic....hope to be seeing some golden larches and Mountains next week
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-23-2020, 11:15 PM Thread Starter
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Looks fantastic....hope to be seeing some golden larches and Mountains next week

Thx Mr. B. Coast larches are 3-4 weeks after Rockies; hope Frosty is good for you 2nd half of October. Do come to Sunshine though one September if you haven't been already, after buses start running again. It is quite special
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-24-2020, 10:48 AM
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Thx Mr. B. Coast larches are 3-4 weeks after Rockies; hope Frosty is good for you 2nd half of October.
Good to know. I have never been to Manning to see the larches and was planning to hike Frosty with the wife and kids this autumn. May even go mid-week to avoid the crowds.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-24-2020, 11:33 AM
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Wow, perfect weather if you ask me! Great shots!
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-24-2020, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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Good to know. I have never been to Manning to see the larches and was planning to hike Frosty with the wife and kids this autumn. May even go mid-week to avoid the crowds.

Just go. Week of Mon Oct 12, or Mon Oct 19; if you are flex wait for short term sunny forecast. No sense going in rain like you are having right now on the coast.


They are predicting wall to wall sunshine next week over here. Think I'll head to Lake O'Hara; hopefully still some larches left. No buses, 11km (x2) road walk just for the lake
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-24-2020, 10:54 PM
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Gorgeous shots! Wasn’t it a rare and beautiful thing to have it to yourself? My late July hike was like that. At least COVID has been good for something in the Sunshine area- reduced crowds
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-25-2020, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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Did see couple of backpackers sitting on bench near Great Divide, and later single girl coming back from Assiniboine. She said Magog was not too busy. But yes, rest of the day all by myself (which is the way I like it, lol)
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 09-30-2020, 04:21 PM
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Wow very nice colors despite the cloudy day!
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