Advice on Pipestone - Dolomite Circuit - ClubTread Community

User Tag List

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of (permalink) Old 06-16-2014, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada.
Posts: 24
Default Advice on Pipestone - Dolomite Circuit

I'm looking at a 4 day hike in late July early august taking off from mosquito creek trailhead, heading through north molar pass, and camping at fish lake on night 1.
Day 2 head through pipestone and into the siffleur river valley and camping at the campground.
Day 3 would head from the river valley through to isabella lake where i can backcountry camp near the cabin, and then day 4 hike out through dolomite.

I've not gone north of pipestone and into the siffleur river valley/isabella lake area, and im really wondering what to expect. some books say its pretty hardcore, lots of bog, lots of river crossing, lots of pain and bushwhacking. Other readings downplay the misery in the river valley and while saying its a bit of a tough hike, dont say its anything brutal.

Wondering what those that have been in their can share? Search seems to not be working currently so I havent been able to check past trip reports without getting a Server error.


Thanks

RONDAL is offline  
Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of (permalink) Old 06-17-2014, 12:43 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,036
Default

The trails aren't that great and you'll do some river crossing and might do some swamp wallowing. I haven't done the loop but I've been to these areas using some of the trails on two of my trips. Check out my trip reports and see how you feel.

http://stevensong.com/recondite-peak
http://stevensong.com/mount-willingdon
StevenSong is offline  
post #3 of (permalink) Old 06-17-2014, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada.
Posts: 24
Default

great reports, much appreciated.
Debating whether i want to wallow through those swamps. Is it just flatland thats wet with no route around on high ground? Or was the swamp wallowing the result of route choice?

i dont mind fording rivers, walking in waist deep water for miles is a different story.
RONDAL is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of (permalink) Old 06-17-2014, 05:57 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,036
Default

To avoid the swamp, the trail is intermittent and faint on the left (approach from Dolomite Pass) side of that flats, and still have to deal with some boggy areas. We discovered that on the way return. But keep in mind we did it in August. In early July I'd expect wetter condition. In any case, bring running shoes for rivers.
StevenSong is offline  
post #5 of (permalink) Old 06-18-2014, 09:40 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
vern.dewit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Posts: 1,166
Default

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by RONDAL

great reports, much appreciated.
Debating whether i want to wallow through those swamps. Is it just flatland thats wet with no route around on high ground? Or was the swamp wallowing the result of route choice?

i dont mind fording rivers, walking in waist deep water for miles is a different story.
LOL - the swamp was route choice, but in July you may not be able to avoid it. In August we still got our feet wet on the west side "trail" around the swamp so in July I would count on it too. Bugs may also be an issue on parts of the trail and so will horse sh_t...

But it's a gorgeous area that's not traveled by too many. The pay off for the suffering is true wilderness.
vern.dewit is offline  
post #6 of (permalink) Old 06-18-2014, 08:36 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: , , .
Posts: 335
Default

Rondal,

I've done the entire circuit. Here is my clubtread trip report. I took a couple extra days to bag a couple peaks along the way since I like doing that. 4 days would be great. Any questions, just let me know. The route is overall, better than I expected. And my opinion after completing the hike, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought from reading the guidebook. I was mostly concerned with the trail. A brief section in the upper Siffleur Valley past the Devon Lakes en route to Isabella Lake, the trail does become faint amongst willows and low brush but it never took me more than a couple min to locate the trail again. The fords were pretty good. The most difficult ford was the first ford of the Dolomite just before you reach Isabella Lake.

A word of advice, when you leave Isabella Lake to begin hiking up the Dolomite creek Valley, stick to the trail around Isabella Lake as best you can, it is boggy and swampy then the trail disappears as you leave the lake and hike across the flats. Make sure you spot the trail before starting to hike up through the trees past the lake. This took me a good 20-30 min to locate the trail but it's worth the time to find it as it is pretty good trail up the valley. It was, once I found it, marked with a cairn. Once on the Dolomite Creek trail, I found the trail up the valley to be pretty well defined in most sections. Sure there was the odd spot where you had to spend a couple min to locate the trail again but it was in my opinion not as bad as I had read from the guidebooks. The trail in the upper valley and alpine was also intermittent but easy to either navigate or refind the trail after a couple min. Once at Katherine Lakes, it's easy all the way out to the hwy via Helen Lake Trail. I think this is one of the best kept secrets in terms of backpacking routes. Good chances you won't see anyone between Fish Lakes and Katherine Lakes.

https://www.clubtread.com/sforum/topi...TOPIC_ID=32328
jeffs78 is offline  
post #7 of (permalink) Old 06-19-2014, 01:19 PM
Scaling New Heights
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 55
Default

I did this ciruit (opposite direction) in late July a couple of years ago, with ascents of Recondite and Willingdon along the way to spice things up a bit.

It's an incredibly scenic trip - especially in late July, when all of the mountain flowers are out and blooming. Unfortunately, at least when I did it, the mosquitos were pretty horrendous as well, particularly near the Fish Lakes. As mentioned already, the trail can be muddy, deeply-rutted by horses, swampy and, in a few cases, intermittent. It's definitely worth doing though.

The ford of Dolomite Creek, North of Isabella Lake, is by far the crux of the trip. When I did it, I crossed it late in the day and it was near waist-deep. That wouldn't be an issue at some crossings but here the current is fast and the rocks are fairly large, round and extremely slippery. I bivied nearby as I planned on tackling Recondite the following day and, while I was sitting around, another party attempted to cross and were turned back. Probably you could bushwhack upstream a ways and find an easier crossing point if necessary... but just a warning... if there's heavy snowmelt or rain, getting across could be dicey.
Wardenac is offline  
post #8 of (permalink) Old 06-19-2014, 02:56 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: , , .
Posts: 335
Default

^^^
I second the words above. My experience fording this section of the Dolomite was done at about 5pm or so. It was a hot day and the river flow was quite fast. The rocks as stated are big and slippery. While I crossed, I did slip on a rock but my foot wedged between two rocks and while causing a brief bit of pain, I managed to keep my balance and continued the ford safely. I did read an online account of a man who did lose his entire balance and got carried down stream a bit soaking all his belongings. I don't think it should deter anyone, just be really cautious, that's all. It is a great trip and I'm even thinking of doing it again sometime. It's been 5 years already.
jeffs78 is offline  
post #9 of (permalink) Old 06-19-2014, 08:23 PM
Headed for the Mountains
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Interest: Adventure travel
Posts: 332
Default

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by WardenacThe ford of Dolomite Creek, North of Isabella Lake, is by far the crux of the trip.
How wide is the creek? Thanks,
Trail Talk is offline  
post #10 of (permalink) Old 06-20-2014, 12:30 AM
Scaling New Heights
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 55
Default

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Trail Talk

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by WardenacThe ford of Dolomite Creek, North of Isabella Lake, is by far the crux of the trip.
How wide is the creek? Thanks,
Based off of memory, I'd say that the one crossing is probably around 30 metres in width. About half of it was shallow (ankle to mid-shin) and then the other half was consistently mid-thigh up to just below my waist when I did it. I'm sure that later in the Summer or early in Fall it would be lower than that... maybe down to knee-deep. None of the other fords on Dolomite Creek, the Siffleur River or Pipestone River presented much of a problem. Worst-case scenario: if you come all the way down the Siffleur Valley and water levels are too high to cross, you could bushwhack up the shore for a couple of kilometers on relatively level ground to Isabella Lake and cross there to regain the trail.

Wardenac is offline  
post #11 of (permalink) Old 06-20-2014, 09:16 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
vern.dewit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Posts: 1,166
Default

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Wardenac

I did this ciruit (opposite direction) in late July a couple of years ago, with ascents of Recondite and Willingdon along the way to spice things up a bit.
Hardcore! That must have been a nice trip - solo? I agree that the Dolomite creek crossing is pretty fast and deep. When we did it, it was around knee to just over the knee. Not too bad, especially with poles.
vern.dewit is offline  
post #12 of (permalink) Old 06-20-2014, 11:27 AM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,036
Default

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by vern.dewit

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Wardenac

I did this ciruit (opposite direction) in late July a couple of years ago, with ascents of Recondite and Willingdon along the way to spice things up a bit.
Hardcore! That must have been a nice trip - solo? I agree that the Dolomite creek crossing is pretty fast and deep. When we did it, it was around knee to just over the knee. Not too bad, especially with poles.
Wow, hardcore indeed.
StevenSong is offline  
post #13 of (permalink) Old 06-22-2014, 03:23 PM
Scaling New Heights
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 55
Default

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by vern.dewit

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Wardenac

I did this ciruit (opposite direction) in late July a couple of years ago, with ascents of Recondite and Willingdon along the way to spice things up a bit.
Hardcore! That must have been a nice trip - solo? I agree that the Dolomite creek crossing is pretty fast and deep. When we did it, it was around knee to just over the knee. Not too bad, especially with poles.
Yeah, it was solo. I hiked in from the Helen Lake trailhead and camped just after the Dolomite Creek crossing on day 1, climbed Recondite on day 2, hiked up the Siffleur valley, bagged Willingdon and continued over Pipestone Pass to Fish Lakes on day 3 and hiked out and jogged back up the highway to my car on day 4.

In the summit register on Recondite, I remember reading an entry from some guy from Edmonton who apparently left his car on the Icefields Parkway at 4 or 5 in the morning, made it to the summit around 2 in the afternoon and he planned to hike all the way back out by midnight!

I feel tired just thinking about it...
Wardenac is offline  
post #14 of (permalink) Old 07-28-2015, 06:28 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 1
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RONDAL View Post
I'm looking at a 4 day hike in late July early august taking off from mosquito creek trailhead, heading through north molar pass, and camping at fish lake on night 1.
Day 2 head through pipestone and into the siffleur river valley and camping at the campground.
Day 3 would head from the river valley through to isabella lake where i can backcountry camp near the cabin, and then day 4 hike out through dolomite.

I've not gone north of pipestone and into the siffleur river valley/isabella lake area, and im really wondering what to expect. some books say its pretty hardcore, lots of bog, lots of river crossing, lots of pain and bushwhacking. Other readings downplay the misery in the river valley and while saying its a bit of a tough hike, dont say its anything brutal.

Wondering what those that have been in their can share? Search seems to not be working currently so I havent been able to check past trip reports without getting a Server error.


Thanks
Hey Rondal,

How did this trip end up going for you? I am heading out this long weekend (Fri-Mon) with three friends. Starting from Mosquito and Heading around to Helen, camping at Fish Lakes, Siffleur, and Isabella.

Any advice? Tips? River info? Trail info? Campsite reviews?

Thanks!!

Taylor
TaylorCluett is offline  
post #15 of (permalink) Old 08-04-2015, 01:20 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
gbarron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: , Alberta, Canada.
Posts: 28
Default

I'm in the same boat as Taylor, planning to exit from Devon Lakes via Siffleur R, Dolomite R, Dolomite Pass, and out to Bow Lake.

We plan to leave Norquay on 23 Aug., so would appreciate any updated info.

Thanks!
gbarron is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome
 

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1