AB Cen = Alberta Rockies Central (Banff & David Thompson) Pulsatilla and Badger Passes - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2021, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Default Pulsatilla and Badger Passes

After reading zeljkok’s trip report, we could not resist a trip into JO29, where we camped for three nights. Time is a luxury when hiking from a base camp, as we got to spend an entire day at each of Pulsatilla Lake and Badger Pass. The views are big and bold, the landscape is beautiful and the fall colours are gorgeous. We spent hours wandering around the north and then west sides of the lake. The west side is particularly inviting, hidden by the wall of rock is a small pool of water, fed by the waterfall, the pool then makes its way to the lake through a break in the rock, such an idyllic space back there. To top it all off, a couple of loons were on the lake. Prior to hiking back up the pass, we roamed around the mid ramp of the ridge on the west side. After reaching the pass, we hiked up to the high point on the east side for views.

The next day we headed up to Badger Pass, it was very windy at the pass, so we had our lunch break tucked behind the edge of the mountain on the right side, out of the wind. After lunch, it was time to explore the incredible bands of rock on the other side of the pass. Then we spotted a ridge and thought we may hike up to get views. There are small tarns at the bottom of the ridge, among all of this fascinating rock, which would be a great destination in its own right, and a fine place to relax among the rocks. But we headed up to the ridge, which was steeper than anticipated. The views were really magnificent at the top, mountains as far as we could see, and a stunning view of the tarn down below the other side of the ridge. We had very good descent, as we found a channel of huge flat boulders going straight down, which made for better progress.

On day four, we hiked out, the Ranger Cabin is a great place to stop for a lunch break. This is a superb backpacking trip, JO29 is fantastic and very few people are about. Thanks to zeljkok for this one.


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Fall colours toward Pulsatilla Pass


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Pulsatilla Lake and view toward the pass


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Water from pond flowing down into the lake


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View from top of ridge, Badger Pass is just around the bend on the right


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Interesting bands of rock and small tarn at base of ridge


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View of tarn on the other side of the ridge
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2021, 03:50 PM
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This is great, thank you so much for posting this. I am now envious, it was obvious at least full day was needed to properly explore each of the passes.



The lake you have aerial pic off from Bonnet ridge is Badger Lake. At Block Lakes Junction (campground in valley other side of Badger Pass) there is signpost "Badger Lake" pointing up in that direction, but no apparent trail, at least initially - to that valley would be fantastic to explore, there are several lakes lower down as well.



Do you have any shots of Bonnet Glacier from the ridge? How difficult would it be to scramble Mt. Bonnet from the ridge?
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-12-2021, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information, we were not aware that the tarn is known as Badger Lake. We are not great scramblers, the slabs would be really tricky for us, going up under the slabs was difficult for a short bit, as it was small moving rock on slabs underneath, so we took a different route down. The ridge was not high enough to view the glacier. Unfortunately, we don’t have great photos of Bonnet from the ridge.


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We gained the ridge between the slabs on left and shadow line on right.


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Closer view of the ridge.


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Our only shot of Bonnet from the ridge.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-13-2021, 12:09 AM
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Nice shots, thank you. This is great Beta. I looked to some extent all over Internet but could not find such a good view of ascent slopes above Badger Pass as you posted. From the Pass it might appear once you get to the ridge Bonnet would be right there, but apparently still ways to go; I am quite surprised you couldn't still see the glacier. Rest to the summit looks easy enough though. I know now I'll be back; if only Johnson Creek wasn't so long. But it's still shortest way in for JO29.

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-13-2021, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Too bad it did not cross our minds to take pics up toward Bonnet, as we would never consider taking on that ascent, we are aged, but neophyte scramblers, having not spent enough years living close to the Rockies. Therefore, we have no idea if a scramble from that ridge is even possible.


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This is the same shot as yours, without snow on the trail, from Badger Pass side of Bonnet. May be an interesting route up, but far from the high point of Bonnet.


We can certainly attest to the long haul into JO29. On the way in, we had the whole Ink Pot trail to ourselves, as 1A was closed due to whatever incident took place at Johnston Canyon. I had to call Parks so the flag person could hear Parks say the flag person can let us go to Moose Meadows parking. It was another story on the way out from the Ink Pots, with everything open again, so we floored it to get past the mob, and then the last 3 km were rather tortuous.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 09-14-2021, 02:04 AM
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Great shot, so that was a trail; I was not 100% sure from the pass
You might be aged, but you are certainly not unfit. 21+km to JO29 with overnight pack and trail is not always easy. Then this off-trail from Badger Pass to Bonnet Ridge; this is basically class 2 talus scramble. Plus you have a shot of Badger Lake I can not find anywhere else.



I was scrambling a lot in the past when I still believed quality of outdoor time is measured by # of peaks you ascend. I know better now ;=) But Bonnet is such a vantage point from many other areas; today I looked at it & glacier from Baker Lake area. Then it is so remote, like an expedition to get there and through variety of terrain so I'd certainly like to bag it at some point
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