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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-10-2007, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
Scaling New Heights
 
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I'm heading in to the White Goat Wilderness in a couple of weeks. I have travelled in the White Goat before, over Cataract Pass and down to Pinto Lake on Lynx's Great Divide Trail Route.

This time I would like to tie in a day or two exploring the Valley of the Lakes region.

Any information on the nature of the trail/non-trail/scramble to the east of Cline Pass, and camping opportunities in the valley of the Lakes would be appreciated.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 08-13-2007, 02:21 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
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I only went to the col above Cline Pass, and back down as a half-day hike from Cline Pass. I wouldn't really recommend bringing a big backpack over-top, especially if you are going solo. Even if not solo, it would still be tricky with a big pack on. I remember using my hands to climb through several large boulders.

It's very remote as you know, so be careful!! You won't find anyone back there except perhaps a big herd of mountain sheep. It may be a challenge finding a place to store your food in the Valley of the Lakes - I believe much of that country is at or above treeline.

Glorious country for sure. I'll definitely go back to the Cataract-Cline area again some day.

One other thing - I recommend reaching Cline Pass via Cataract Pass. That route is MUCH more pleasing than approaching it via the soggy valley on the other side of Cline Pass. (Just in case you were considering that.)

If you plan to camp in Banff or Jasper park, make sure you clear your plans with Parks Canada first - I'm not sure whether they currently allow random-camping in the Upper Brazeau on the near side of Cataract Pass.

- Hank
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 08-14-2007, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
Scaling New Heights
 
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Thanks for the info, Hank.

We're a pretty big party - 6, and yes, we are going in over Nigel Pass to Cataract, then on to Cline Pass.

The question was whether to day hike or backpack over the ridge to the east of Cline Pass, and you make it sound like a bit of a scramble, so we'll assess it when we get there.

Either way, we'll head down Cataract Creek to Pinto and then out over Sunset Pass.

Cheers

Caribou
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 12:32 PM
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quote:Originally posted by caribou

Thanks for the info, Hank.

We're a pretty big party - 6, and yes, we are going in over Nigel Pass to Cataract, then on to Cline Pass.

The question was whether to day hike or backpack over the ridge to the east of Cline Pass, and you make it sound like a bit of a scramble, so we'll assess it when we get there.

Either way, we'll head down Cataract Creek to Pinto and then out over Sunset Pass.

Cheers

Caribou
Personally I would recommend the day-hike option into the Valley of the Lakes (if you are determined enough you would be able to bring your packs over that ridge, but seems like extra work and extra injury-risk to me). If you camp not too far from Cline Pass, you will be able to explore lots of neat Valley of the Lakes terrain in a single day from there. It only takes 2 hours or less to the top of the ridge which is the gateway to the Valley of the Lakes.

I recently happened upon a photo I had taken of the upper part of the Valley of the Lakes. Several of the lakes/tarns are ABOVE treeline. It's a fairly wide scraped-rock, glacier-scoured area.

- Hank
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 02:38 PM
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Caribou,
Sounds like a fabulous trip!
Last summer I hiked the Great Divide route from Highway 11, up the Owen Creek valley and over the high passes on either side of Michele Lakes, before dropping down to Pinto Lake and (if you have good weather) I would highly recommend that route as an alternative to the Sunset Pass exit point. The spectacular route is above treeline for much of the distance and travels beside the dramatic rockwall below the Wilson Icefield. It took me about a day and a half from Highway 11 to Pinto Lake. The route description in Lynx's book is quite easy to follow. I have some photos on my trip report at www.trailmagic.blogspot.com

I plan to return to that area to explore more someday...

Happy trails!

----------------------------------------
© BRAD 2007
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 02:56 PM
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Caribou,
I am planning to do the same trip next August when I can take a full week off work, so I can't wait to see your trip report! I was thinking we'd base camp in the upper Cataract Creek area and then do a couple dayhikes from there.

Have a great trip!
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 05:42 PM
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quote:Originally posted by bradv98

Caribou,
Sounds like a fabulous trip!
Last summer I hiked the Great Divide route from Highway 11, up the Owen Creek valley and over the high passes on either side of Michele Lakes, before dropping down to Pinto Lake and (if you have good weather) I would highly recommend that route as an alternative to the Sunset Pass exit point. The spectacular route is above treeline for much of the distance and travels beside the dramatic rockwall below the Wilson Icefield. It took me about a day and a half from Highway 11 to Pinto Lake. The route description in Lynx's book is quite easy to follow. I have some photos on my trip report at www.trailmagic.blogspot.com

I plan to return to that area to explore more someday...

Happy trails!

----------------------------------------
© BRAD 2007
Thanks for the link to your beautiful website, Brad. I just quickly skimmed part of it for now, and I get the feeling that I've heard of you before... Did you make a television special during your epic hike?

- Hank
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 07:37 PM
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quote:Originally posted by DoonOfDusk
Thanks for the link to your beautiful website, Brad. I just quickly skimmed part of it for now, and I get the feeling that I've heard of you before... Did you make a television special during your epic hike?

- Hank
Thanks Hank.
I am in the process of completing my film "Trail Magic" from last summer's 2-month trek on the Great Divide Trail, but it hasn't aired anywhere yet. I'm hoping to screen it at various mountain film festivals next year. You may have already found the sneak preview trailer on my website: www.bradlandproductions.com/gdtfilm.html

cheers,
BRAD
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 08-22-2007, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Well, made it back from the White Goat. Fantastic trip, my friend is the official photographer, so no pictures with this report.

Cataract Pass is a beautiful spot, and would be quite doable as a long day hike over Nigel Pass.

We took your advice, Hank, and camped for 2 days below the pass at 2300m and day hiked Cline Pass and exploring over the pass into the Valley of the Lakes, a tough, but safe scree and rock scramble with no exposure. The valley of the Lakes was far starker than I imagined!

There is no trail for a couple of kilometres downstream on the Cataract before picking up surprisingly good track along Cataract Creek. This valley is notable for having the most grizzly activity of anywhere I have seen in Alberta. The subalpine diggings covered huge areas, and there was lots of fresh poop, but with our large party, we did not see any bears. There are lots of downed trees on the trail, but nothing unmanageable.

Rains picked up before Pinto Lake, and we had a cold and windy night before hiking out over Sunset. Didn't see another soul after the Nigel Pass and before arriving at the Lake.

Brad - great website. I hiked the high route over Owen Creek a couple of years ago in glorious weather. I guess the secret is out now - but in my humble opinion its the best single weekend hike in Alberta, and all on provincial lands the Alberta Government deems unworthy of protection.

Back home and already planning next year's Bighorn/Whitegoat adventure.

Caribou




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post #10 of (permalink) Old 08-23-2007, 05:16 PM
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quote:Originally posted by caribou

I hiked the high route over Owen Creek a couple of years ago in glorious weather. I guess the secret is out now - but in my humble opinion its the best single weekend hike in Alberta, and all on provincial lands the Alberta Government deems unworthy of protection.
It's good to hear that's a worthwhile hike. It's been on my list for quite a while, but I've never gotten to it yet. However, I was surprised and a bit saddened to hear it's part of the GDT in somebody's book. I was hoping that it would avoid that kind of publicity. There's not that many super-spectacular routes left where you can have it all to yourself. But I guess I'm just selfish...

Perhaps the publicity could do it some good, and get some level of protection for it.

What did you see for Wildlife on the Cataract trip, Caribou?

- Hank
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