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post #1 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2017, 01:44 AM Thread Starter
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Default backpacking north molar pass to south molar pass

Hi!
I have a two night, three day trip planned to do molar passes.
I was only able to book one night at fish lakes (Mo18), so going into devon lake for a day hike wasn't feasible and going into random camping area and back out next day was not recommended - please correct me if I'm wrong about this! (of course 3 nights would be the most ideal, but I don't have the opportunity this time around).
The visitor centre suggested I stay at Fish lakes night one, head south along the Pipestone river and stay at Molar Creek (Mo16) night two. I'm having a lot of trouble finding information on this route though. I'm wondering if there's two alternate routes as well. I've read a comment about a ridge walk. And also about a bogged down horse trail, which looking at a map seems to be a possibility.

So I'm really wondering what I can expect from following the pipestone river south to molar creek from fish lakes.

Thanks.

Last edited by Katharyn Hanki; 07-27-2017 at 01:56 AM.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2017, 12:42 PM
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I have done the hike to mo 18 which is an awesome hike. I have heard the trail that continues to mo16 is a bogged down horse trail. Unbridged stream crossings and not very well maintained. This guy on youtube posted his famil trip to the area. Gives you an idea of what to expect.

https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&sourc...jtvfnGP_UlkifA
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 07-27-2017, 02:12 PM
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There is a bench trail from Fish Lakes that follows the west side of Pipestone valley and rejoins the old horse trail about halfway to Molar Creek, and continues down to the mouth of Molar Creek at the Little Pipestone warden cabin. There are no stream crossings on this section, but finding the start just below Fish Lakes (and not descending to the old Pipestone R. trail) may be tricky if it is still faint and unsigned. I have not hiked up Molar Creek, but others have told me it is rough and mostly in the forest. Not a trip I would recommend.

If you have just one night at Fish Lakes, there are at least two options for returning to the trailhead, besides the usual trail. The most scenic but also the more challenging route is to traverse the ridge SW from North Molar Pass and cross open meadows to South Molar Pass, then hike the trail back to the trailhead. The other, easier route, starts from Mosquito Lake on the N Molar Pass trail and heads south over open meadows until it intersects the S. Molar Pass trail at the headwall, just below the pass. Both options provide the chance to explore S. Molar Pass without having to slog down the Pipestone and up Molar Creek. You can find more info on the site linked from my user profile.

However, if by chance you are 'forced' to spend a second night at Fish Lakes, e.g. on a weekday during bad weather when several bookings are likely cancelled, then I would recommend a day trip to Pipestone Summit via the highline trail (the extra hour to Clearwater Pass is an option, or 1.5 hours to Upper Devon Lake). On the third, exit day, you could still add a S. Molar excursion if desired.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2017, 03:15 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Gussmall View Post
I have done the hike to mo 18 which is an awesome hike. I have heard the trail that continues to mo16 is a bogged down horse trail. Unbridged stream crossings and not very well maintained. This guy on youtube posted his famil trip to the area. Gives you an idea of what to expect.

https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&sourc...jtvfnGP_UlkifA
Thanks so much for the information! I think I'll be changing this trip up now...
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2017, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JHector View Post
There is a bench trail from Fish Lakes that follows the west side of Pipestone valley and rejoins the old horse trail about halfway to Molar Creek, and continues down to the mouth of Molar Creek at the Little Pipestone warden cabin. There are no stream crossings on this section, but finding the start just below Fish Lakes (and not descending to the old Pipestone R. trail) may be tricky if it is still faint and unsigned. I have not hiked up Molar Creek, but others have told me it is rough and mostly in the forest. Not a trip I would recommend.

If you have just one night at Fish Lakes, there are at least two options for returning to the trailhead, besides the usual trail. The most scenic but also the more challenging route is to traverse the ridge SW from North Molar Pass and cross open meadows to South Molar Pass, then hike the trail back to the trailhead. The other, easier route, starts from Mosquito Lake on the N Molar Pass trail and heads south over open meadows until it intersects the S. Molar Pass trail at the headwall, just below the pass. Both options provide the chance to explore S. Molar Pass without having to slog down the Pipestone and up Molar Creek. You can find more info on the site linked from my user profile.

However, if by chance you are 'forced' to spend a second night at Fish Lakes, e.g. on a weekday during bad weather when several bookings are likely cancelled, then I would recommend a day trip to Pipestone Summit via the highline trail (the extra hour to Clearwater Pass is an option, or 1.5 hours to Upper Devon Lake). On the third, exit day, you could still add a S. Molar excursion if desired.


Amazing, thanks for the options. This is really helpful.
I think finally I'm going to wait until I have the opportunity to do a whole three or four nights and make it up to Devon lakes instead. One day.
Thanks again.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 07-30-2017, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Katharyn Hanki View Post
Amazing, thanks for the options. This is really helpful.
I think finally I'm going to wait until I have the opportunity to do a whole three or four nights and make it up to Devon lakes instead. One day.
Thanks again.
You can visit Devon lakes with single overnight; some people even dayhike although it is hardly worth-while. Instead of roundabout approach via Fish Lakes, you go over Quartzite col. It is a scramble but doable. See

https://forums.clubtread.com/130-cana...tzite-col.html
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-02-2017, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Katharyn Hanki View Post
Hi!
I have a two night, three day trip planned to do molar passes.
I was only able to book one night at fish lakes (Mo18), so going into devon lake for a day hike wasn't feasible and going into random camping area and back out next day was not recommended - please correct me if I'm wrong about this! (of course 3 nights would be the most ideal, but I don't have the opportunity this time around).
The visitor centre suggested I stay at Fish lakes night one, head south along the Pipestone river and stay at Molar Creek (Mo16) night two. I'm having a lot of trouble finding information on this route though. I'm wondering if there's two alternate routes as well. I've read a comment about a ridge walk. And also about a bogged down horse trail, which looking at a map seems to be a possibility.

So I'm really wondering what I can expect from following the pipestone river south to molar creek from fish lakes.

Thanks.
I would consider this as it's not been proposed yet. I've done it and with your bookings is very feasible. MO16 photos attached plus a couple maps. FL nite1. MO16 nite 2. The horrid horse conditions may exist but that would be further downstream. From S Molar Pass to MO16 really isn't that bad. Following day out via the scramble route thru the valley by Mt Hector and the Hector Creek drainage. It does mean you don't end up at your car but I've ditched a bike many times and simply pedaled the few km return. Just a thought, plus you're now doing a loop trail; that can't be a bad thing.
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Last edited by woodenshoes; 08-02-2017 at 07:33 AM.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-02-2017, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by woodenshoes View Post
I would consider this as it's not been proposed yet. I've done it and with your bookings is very feasible. MO16 photos attached plus a couple maps. FL nite1. MO16 nite 2. The horrid horse conditions may exist but that would be further downstream. From S Molar Pass to MO16 really isn't that bad. Following day out via the scramble route thru the valley by Mt Hector and the Hector Creek drainage. It does mean you don't end up at your car but I've ditched a bike many times and simply pedaled the few km return. Just a thought, plus you're now doing a loop trail; that can't be a bad thing.

way, way better is then to return via Noseeum Lake. South Molar to Noseeum is delightful with little scrambling and one could also camp wild @ Noseeum. Guaranteed not to see a soul and spend entire time in alpine. It also ends no more than 10mins of hwy walk from Mosquito. Details, including downloadable GPS track here
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-04-2017, 11:31 PM
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way, way better is then to return via Noseeum Lake. South Molar to Noseeum is delightful with little scrambling and one could also camp wild @ Noseeum. Guaranteed not to see a soul and spend entire time in alpine. It also ends no more than 10mins of hwy walk from Mosquito. Details, including downloadable GPS track here
That looks like an awesome over night trip! Do you think there is any chance the parks give a bivy permit for a lake that close to the road?

Not the fastest, but I get to where I am going and enjoy it.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-04-2017, 11:36 PM
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That looks like an awesome over night trip! Do you think there is any chance the parks give a bivy permit for a lake that close to the road?
It is similar situation as with Devon lakes. Just get annual wilderness pass
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 08-05-2017, 12:00 AM
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It is similar situation as with Devon lakes. Just get annual wilderness pass
Hmm, I have one of those. However, when I got it I understood that you still needed to clear any backcountry camping (including bivy's) with them to ensure compliance with regulations. If you are correct then that opens up a whole new world!

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post #12 of (permalink) Old 08-05-2017, 12:24 AM
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This picture is from rocky plateau below the Onion, above ACC Bow Hut. Shows only half of the tents. All illegals.

I don't condone it and I'd not do it myself. But this is whats going on. Noseeum is so seldom visited, no Park Ranger will ever go to hide in the bush waiting for odd backpacker that was late hiking out and had to bivi by the lake; when hordes do it every day on much more accessible location by Bow Hut.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 08:28 PM
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That looks like an awesome over night trip! Do you think there is any chance the parks give a bivy permit for a lake that close to the road?
Nope
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 08:30 PM
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This picture is from rocky plateau below the Onion, above ACC Bow Hut. Shows only half of the tents. All illegals.

I don't condone it and I'd not do it myself. But this is whats going on. Noseeum is so seldom visited, no Park Ranger will ever go to hide in the bush waiting for odd backpacker that was late hiking out and had to bivi by the lake; when hordes do it every day on much more accessible location by Bow Hut.
I saw all these from Little Crowfoot. I'm not 100% sure they are all illegal however
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 08-09-2017, 10:09 PM
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What else could they be? It is not campground and Park Rules state that no back-country bivi permit will be issued in proximity to ACC hut (forgot how much exactly but it is more than 1km and Bow Hut is right there)
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