Hikes that get you close to icefields or glaciers? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Default Hikes that get you close to icefields or glaciers?

hey, after spending a couple of weeks hiking around banff and jasper and having been up snowbird pass via berg lake i realized i really enjoy glaciers up close. we hiked parker ridge and got a view of saskatchewan glacier and got a view of athabasca from wilcox pass.. and that was ok but paled compared to the experience on mount robson.

what else could we do that would rank up there with robson?

by any chance are there any trails to get up and get a view of the columbia icefield or wapta icefield without requiring glacier travel or mountaineering experience?

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 10:43 AM
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I haven't actually been to Snowbird Pass (it's on this year's itinerary), so I won't claim to say how these compare.
But here are your good Rocky Mountain chances to visit glaciers.

You can, of course, walk to the toe of the Athabasca.
Also in your DWYT book:
Trip 47 - Saskatchewan Glacier can take you right up to the glacier (you have to walk a ways up gravel flats to it).
Trip 49 - Stanley Glacier. Walk to the end of the trail, then along a loose path right to the glacier.
Trip 31 - Bow Hut. Dayhikable, but better as an overnight stay at the hut to give you a chance to walk around. It's right on the edge of the Wapta Icefield. A little scrambley.
Trip 72 - Yoho Valley to the Yoho Glacier (it has receded a lot since the trail was put in, so you have to walk a good ways. This would be better to do as a couple-day Iceline trip where you could dawdle along the Iceline, walking up to the glacier bits, and spend a day dayhiking from Twin Falls up to the Yoho Glacier. Then you can go up to Kiwetinok Pass as well.
Trip 13 - The Iceline allows you to walk right up to small remnants of the Emerald Glacier.

There are plenty of other routes to glaciers that require scrambling, if you're up for that.

Good views:
Plain of Six Glaciers
The Rockwall, especially Tumbling Pass

Kananaskis:
Rae Glacier - bring a crazy carpet
Old Goat Glacier
French Glacier
Haig Glacier - very long dayhike, or better to dayhike from a basecamp at Turbine Canyon.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Rachelo

I haven't actually been to Snowbird Pass (it's on this year's itinerary), so I won't claim to say how these compare.
But here are your good Rocky Mountain chances to visit glaciers.

You can, of course, walk to the toe of the Athabasca.
Also in your DWYT book:
Trip 47 - Saskatchewan Glacier can take you right up to the glacier (you have to walk a ways up gravel flats to it).
Trip 49 - Stanley Glacier. Walk to the end of the trail, then along a loose path right to the glacier.
Trip 31 - Bow Hut. Dayhikable, but better as an overnight stay at the hut to give you a chance to walk around. It's right on the edge of the Wapta Icefield. A little scrambley.
Trip 72 - Yoho Valley to the Yoho Glacier (it has receded a lot since the trail was put in, so you have to walk a good ways. This would be better to do as a couple-day Iceline trip where you could dawdle along the Iceline, walking up to the glacier bits, and spend a day dayhiking from Twin Falls up to the Yoho Glacier. Then you can go up to Kiwetinok Pass as well.
Trip 13 - The Iceline allows you to walk right up to small remnants of the Emerald Glacier.

There are plenty of other routes to glaciers that require scrambling, if you're up for that.

Good views:
Plain of Six Glaciers
The Rockwall, especially Tumbling Pass

Kananaskis:
Rae Glacier - bring a crazy carpet
Old Goat Glacier
French Glacier
Haig Glacier - very long dayhike, or better to dayhike from a basecamp at Turbine Canyon.

Thanks, we'll definitely be checking out iceline and plain of six glaciers on our next trip but unfortunately none of those seem like they would come close to the experience you get on snowbird pass where you walk alongside a massive glacer from almost top to bottom and then finish the hike overlooking an icefield. I was hoping there was a hike that could you high on the side of one of the glaciers (Saskatchewan, Athabasca, etc) but all it seems you can do is walk to the tip of the tongues which is not all that interesting. It would be nice to get up high enough to get a good view of the expanse of the Columbia or Wapta icefields when they're not completely covered in snow.

Haig Glacier looks interesting, after posting I found this on Kristi Glacier near McBride in BC, looks cool:
http://www.caffinara.ca/2009/07/back...i-glacier.html

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 12:10 PM
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In the summer, the Saskatchewan Glacier will become almost snow free, allowing easy walking on crampons for kilometers up the glacier without having to rope up. Later in the season you might be able to gain enough height to see the expanse of the Columbia Icefields and look back down the Saskatchewan Glacier.

Do a day hike past the Bow Hut and scramble The Onion to have some pretty awesome views of the Wapta for little effort.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 12:27 PM
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The Caldron Lake Trail has an awesome view of the Peyto Glacier and you can also hike up to the Delta Glacier.

http://summitsearch.org/trip_reports...dron-lake-hike
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by qwimjim

unfortunately none of those seem like they would come close to the experience you get on snowbird pass where you walk alongside a massive glacer from almost top to bottom and then finish the hike overlooking an icefield. I was hoping there was a hike that could you high on the side of one of the glaciers (Saskatchewan, Athabasca, etc) but all it seems you can do is walk to the tip of the tongues which is not all that interesting. It would be nice to get up high enough to get a good view of the expanse of the Columbia or Wapta icefields when they're not completely covered in snow.
There's a reason Snowbird Pass is considered such a spectacular hike - because there isn't much else that compares. Unfortunately, if you come to the Rockies and do the best trip we have to offer first, everything else is going to be lesser...
You can walk up the sides and on top of smaller Kananaskis glaciers, but the icefields ones are simply bigger, with less opportunity. It sounds to me like you need to take up mountaineering so that you can walk right up the Athabasca or Saskatchewan glacier. Or look into a guided trip like this that will get you up there without needing the skills.

But of mentioned, the Bow Hut gets you right up on to the Wapta.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 08:20 PM
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Go check out Old Goat!
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 09:11 PM
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I think you got carried away too much. Snowbird Pass is a unique trail, not a single one similar is to be found anywhere in the Rockies in what it affords unparalleled close-up and above views of Robson Glacier and Reef Icefield. If considered as a day-hike, it's one of the best one in the world on par with Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit.

There are NO maintained trails similar to Snowbird Pass. A few trails in Glacier NP (Roger's Pass) offer good sweeping panorama of glaciers (like Illecillewaet Glacier). In the Rockies, Eric mentioned Caldron Lake http://www.flickr.com/photos/5758379...70497/sizes/l/ but it's a scramble now since a bridge over that creek is gone. Northover Ridge is a good hike for close-up view of a glacier, but it requires some navigation skills and is more a scramble than a hike http://www.flickr.com/photos/5758379...n/photostream/

For many more options you need to get into scrambling and ultimately mountaineering. Mount Niles is a relatively easy scramble that provides a great panorama of Daly Glacier that feeds Takkakaw Falls http://www.panoramio.com/photo_explo...97&tag=glacier
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 02-13-2013, 10:45 PM
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I walked all the way back there in Sept.,and as far as I can see,the Yoho Glacier is gone

You can get up close and personal with a few glaciers out west here....don't know how far out of Alberta you want to go?
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 12:05 AM
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There have been some good recommendations. Relatively unknown/overlooked, is Boundary Peak near the Icefields:

http://www.summitpost.org/boundary-peak/223953

It is not necessary to bivvy (as summitpost link mentions) -- it is a half-day hike/scramble, making it feasible as day trip from Calgary, with long drive. Views of Athabasca glacier are amazing.

Vern has great pictorial on his site:
http://www.explor8ion.com/vern/scrambles/boundary.html
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Engor

I think you got carried away too much. Snowbird Pass is a unique trail, not a single one similar is to be found anywhere in the Rockies in what it affords unparalleled close-up and above views of Robson Glacier and Reef Icefield. If considered as a day-hike, it's one of the best one in the world on par with Lake O'Hara Alpine Circuit.

There are NO maintained trails similar to Snowbird Pass. A few trails in Glacier NP (Roger's Pass) offer good sweeping panorama of glaciers (like Illecillewaet Glacier). In the Rockies, Eric mentioned Caldron Lake http://www.flickr.com/photos/5758379...70497/sizes/l/ but it's a scramble now since a bridge over that creek is gone. Northover Ridge is a good hike for close-up view of a glacier, but it requires some navigation skills and is more a scramble than a hike http://www.flickr.com/photos/5758379...n/photostream/

For many more options you need to get into scrambling and ultimately mountaineering. Mount Niles is a relatively easy scramble that provides a great panorama of Daly Glacier that feeds Takkakaw Falls http://www.panoramio.com/photo_explo...97&tag=glacier
I had looked at Caldron Lake and it looked like a great day hike but then read (like you said) that the bridge is out and it's a scramble now. Would have been great last year but not something I can do with a 4 month old. What are those buildings at the tip of the Petyo Glacier? Its not the ACC Petyo Hut based on GPS coordinates?

Looks like scrambling is the only way to find what I'm looking for, or mountaineering. Won't be this year that's for sure

What trails in Rogers pass do you recommend?

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post #12 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 11:40 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by johngenx

In the summer, the Saskatchewan Glacier will become almost snow free, allowing easy walking on crampons for kilometers up the glacier without having to rope up. Later in the season you might be able to gain enough height to see the expanse of the Columbia Icefields and look back down the Saskatchewan Glacier.

Do a day hike past the Bow Hut and scramble The Onion to have some pretty awesome views of the Wapta for little effort.
Bow Hut/Onion sounds interesting, how is the scramble from Bow Hut to the top of the Onion? On my map it looks to be about 1km, but I don't have topo yet so can't tell what elevation is. Just wondering if it would be feasible to do while my Wife hangs out at Bow Hut


Regarding Saskatchewan Glacier, from what I've found it's about a 7km hike to the toe of the glacier, and then you can go about 5km more on the glacier and it's a short scramble up to Castleguard Meadows. Is there anything tricky about this route/glacier? Risk of rockfall or icefall? Or is it pretty straightforward with crampons? Are there pretty good chances it will still be snow free by Labour Day?

Thanks!
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by qwimjim

I had looked at Caldron Lake and it looked like a great day hike but then read (like you said) that the bridge is out and it's a scramble now. Would have been great last year but not something I can do with a 4 month old. What are those buildings at the tip of the Petyo Glacier? Its not the ACC Petyo Hut based on GPS coordinates?
It's a government glacier monitoring station. I haven't been in the area since the bridge was gone. All I heard is that the traverse along Peyto Creek is fairly nasty now.

Quote:
quote:Looks like scrambling is the only way to find what I'm looking for, or mountaineering. Won't be this year that's for sure
And I forgot to mention another great scramble that is more like a very steep and rough off-trail hike that doesn't involve any hands-on scrambling. Little Hector that's it:

https://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topi...TOPIC_ID=36243

Great close-up view of Hector Glacier and more distant panorama of Wapta Icefield. I recommend doing it in August rather July as I did when the snow is completely gone off the glacier and you can see crevasses.

Quote:
quote:
What trails in Rogers pass do you recommend?
Glacier Crest would be my first choice for a great view of Illecillewaet Glacier, followed by Perley Rock. Both Trails are in Copelands' "Gotta Hike BC" and I believe in a few other guidebooks.
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Engor

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by qwimjim

I had looked at Caldron Lake and it looked like a great day hike but then read (like you said) that the bridge is out and it's a scramble now. Would have been great last year but not something I can do with a 4 month old. What are those buildings at the tip of the Petyo Glacier? Its not the ACC Petyo Hut based on GPS coordinates?
It's a government glacier monitoring station. I haven't been in the area since the bridge was gone. All I heard is that the traverse along Peyto Creek is fairly nasty now.

Quote:
quote:Looks like scrambling is the only way to find what I'm looking for, or mountaineering. Won't be this year that's for sure
And I forgot to mention another great scramble that is more like a very steep and rough off-trail hike that doesn't involve any hands-on scrambling. Little Hector that's it:

https://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topi...TOPIC_ID=36243

Great close-up view of Hector Glacier and more distant panorama of Wapta Icefield. I recommend doing it in August rather July as I did when the snow is completely gone off the glacier and you can see crevasses.

Quote:
quote:
What trails in Rogers pass do you recommend?
Glacier Crest would be my first choice for a great view of Illecillewaet Glacier, followed by Perley Rock. Both Trails are in Copelands' "Gotta Hike BC" and I believe in a few other guidebooks.
Glacier Crest seems pretty straightforward, Perley Rock seems like a difficult hike? In the trip reports I've seen mention of bring an ice axe? Do you know where to buy Gotta Hike BC? I can't seem to find it anywhere except on Amazon for $835
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 02-14-2013, 04:21 PM
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That must be a very unique book for $835. My guess is it's either blessed by the Roman Pope or signed by Oprah

You can find it for close to $20.00 in MEC and I assume in some other outdoor stores (Atmosphere, Campus Village). Actually, I don't think you need the book just for these two trails. You can get the area map with the trail description in Roger's Pass Visitor Centre.

Ice-axe or better yet microspikes can come handy if there is remaining snow on the trail. Once the snow is gone (perhaps late July, ask at the visitor centre) you won't need them. Hope it helps.

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by qwimjim
Glacier Crest seems pretty straightforward, Perley Rock seems like a difficult hike? In the trip reports I've seen mention of bring an ice axe? Do you know where to buy Gotta Hike BC? I can't seem to find it anywhere except on Amazon for $835
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