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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2020, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Howse River is for me one of these areas that really define Icefields corridor, and to large extend Canadian Rockies as well. Wild, desolate with towering peaks and of huge historic importance. Over the years I've explored the area in detail (and climbed peak or two), but I still try to come back at least once every year. Usually April timeframe, but this year I missed it because of COVID and closure of National Parks. So I went in December, under Chinook arch and enjoyed the area as much as I always do. There was set of ski tracks that went in direction of summer trail, perhaps all the way to Glacier Lake but I dropped to flats instead and just wondered around. Lots of ice channels and once I realized ice is solid enough and won't give under my weight had lots of fun "skating" across. Wolf tracks in the mud. Went to the point where you must climb in the woods and intercept old trail (with "2.3 km to Glacier Lake" sign) and turned back. I probably could have made it to Glacier Lake, but days are very short now --unlike spring-- and I really wanted to drive back in daylight as working term for Icefields Parkway was ice -- rarely went above 50kph on 90 speed limit. Photo story:


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[View north from bridge over North Saskatchewan River, 1.1 km from parking (parking lot was plowed). Check out all the ice. Mt. Amery distance center]


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[That immortal Adirondacks viewpoint. If there was ever a spot where man-made objects blend in perfectly, this is it. For you BC guys that might be non-familiar, this is only 2.3 km from parking on very undemanding trail and worth the effort 10x. Do it if you ever pass by]


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[Pano from ridge above the flats, ~100m south of Red Chairs. Survey Peak dead center, Mt. Amery distance right, pointy peak extreme left is Mt. Erasmus and behind just right of it is Mt. Forbes -- highest in Banff NP]




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[Mt. Murchison from Howse Flats. Decommissioned Howse Pass trail actually travels on far side, starting from Mistaya Parking -- where Parks have now removed "Howse Pass" sign as well]


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[View back to Saskatchewan River Crossing area as I was lazily meandering from one side of the flats to the other]


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[Close look at Survey Peak, an easy scramble doable year round (if you are going to trust Nugara snowshoe guide; I did it in summer, see here for details. Glacier Lake summer trail travels across that woody hump in midground]


Glacier Lake was probably very serene and peaceful & would be excellent overnight as temps are quite high for December. I really hope I can keep coming here, it is almost too beautiful.
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Last edited by zeljkok; 12-05-2020 at 01:34 AM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2020, 10:19 AM
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The photo with the red chairs would sell well. I hope to get to the Rockies near year for some good photos. I assume you are driving with snow tires. I use all-weather tires year round. Not as good as snow tires but better than regular tires. I once drove 70 kph on an icy road but as long as it's straight otherwise I usually go 50 kph especially on curves and corners.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-05-2020, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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no winter tires, all season only (and very old car). Just go slowly. Graders were passing by but still tricky, probably worst at Bow summit & Peyto lake turnoff (which is closed because of COVID btw).


Red chair photo is not good enough on pixel level for sale; corners are too soft & mountain ridges on horizon are not sharp enough. You can't see it on display like this. It needed couple of exposures with different focus & blending in post-processing to make it commercial. I have several from this spot from before (and yes, they do sell) so I didn't bother.



Hope you visit Rockies next summer; with your love for photography you'd have tons of fun!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-07-2020, 09:25 PM
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Very nice, enjoyed your write-up of Survey Peak as well.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 12-07-2020, 11:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Martin. This is one area I'd recommend for 'summer trip to the Rockies from the Coast'. Trailhead is by Saskatchewan River Crossing, where you have gas, convenience store and restaurant. There is official Parks Canada back-country campground at Glacier lake (~10 km from parking), and there is loads to explore beyond including Lyell Icefield, Arctomys etc.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 12-16-2020, 12:13 PM
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Thanks for a great report( including Survey Peak) of an area I havenít explored yet. Definitely on my to-do list for 2021!
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 12-17-2020, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks mtn.mom. Sask. River Crossing is ~5.5 hrs from where you live, so you could easily drive in & hike to Glacier Lake campground on first day. Works great for a May long 3 day backpack btw, this area gets dry quite early.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 12-17-2020, 07:31 PM
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zeljkok,
Absolutely stunning! Thanks for the photo tour.
I join mtn.mom in putting it on my lengthening list of places to explore.

Does Parks Canada place the red Adirondack chairs at selected viewpoints?
I've seen them elsewhere. Two by two, they look so friendly and companionable.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 12-17-2020, 09:36 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdBrook View Post
Does Parks Canada place the red Adirondack chairs at selected viewpoints?

Yes, it started awhile ago & they multiply like mushrooms. Here are some


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[Lake Minnewanka - vandals tore off that fish on top of right chair in the meantime]


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[Yoho Lake by back-country campground; this must be great to lounge after dinner]


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[Two Jack Lake near Banff]


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[Tunnel Mtn above Banff]


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[Johnson Lake; for several years 2 chairs used to be here right on this ridge (look at the view!), but this year Parks have taken them off, not sure why]


Finally this is in Canmore, outside national park, placed by some locals probably from nearby horse ranch. I come here to read LOL
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 12-18-2020, 01:12 AM
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zeljkok,
Thanks! It's a bit strange to see them in the backcountry, though Yoho Lake could be just a short day trip with picnic.
I recall seeing some chairs on the hill overlooking Radium Hot Springs.

ETA: hah - I like the summit surprise on Survey Peak on your summer outing!
Extraordinarily beautiful area.

Last edited by ColdBrook; 12-18-2020 at 01:19 AM. Reason: Read summer TR to Survey Peak.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 12-18-2020, 11:24 AM
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Love these photos! What a gorgeous area.

Last edited by tabby; 12-18-2020 at 11:41 AM.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 12-29-2020, 05:55 PM
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This is very appealing for next summer!
Hopefully all your wonderful pictures don’t result in too much crowding !
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 12-29-2020, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Stu


Re crowding, this is something I am aware off & could probably write a thesis about. Interesting enough, latest trend developing are "VIP online clubs" -- password authenticated logins into personal websites, so the author chooses who can see trip reports/photos. This is masked behind care for environment, but in essence just attempt to grab attention and appear cool and trendy. Real issue is much larger and very difficult to address properly. But this is different topic


As for Howse it is far enough it will never get as crowded as accessible front-country areas (like Lake Louise). Most will just have energy to walk first few km only anyways, so area is still safe at least for now.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 12-30-2020, 03:11 PM
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Oh man, when the Rockies shine, they shine so bright.

I haven't been back to Howse Pass since 1987 when I was doing survey work for the BC forest service re-establishment of the original trail. The project was never finished but made good progress then largely abandoned ... sad. one of Canada's historic gems

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post #15 of (permalink) Old 12-31-2020, 03:39 PM
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In September I did a 6 day B.C. motorcycle trip loop from Vancouver dodging the wildfire smoke mostly. My goal the Icefields highway. I went across the bottom to Cranbrook and up through Yoho and straight up to Jasper. Awesome weather and this trip through the spine of the Rockies was amazing. As someone who never stops being amazed by mountain ranges this was pretty much a spiritual experience. I was humbled by Mother Nature in all her majesty. The headwaters of the Saskatchewan river which flows pretty much all the way to Hudsons bay, an old trading route. I was so inspired that I wanted to go straight back down again from Jasper. But I decided to go back via the Yellowhead and saw Robson with no clouds, first time after several trips from Edmonton.
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