Waterton hikes with a baby in backpack carrier? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 08:09 AM Thread Starter
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Default Waterton hikes with a baby in backpack carrier?

Hey everyone, when we had our first baby we took a trip to Banff and did some hiking, we had a great time. Thinking of visiting Waterton for baby #2 but not sure if trails are suitable. Trails we want to do:

Akamina Ridge, Wall & Forum Lakes - 18.3km/985m
Lineham Ridge, Rowe Lakes - 17.2km/1120m
Carthew-Alderson Lakes Trail - 20.1km/651m
Highline Trail (Glacier National Park) - 13.5miles/400’up/2200’down?

As far as distance and elevation are concerned, there's no problem, the weight of the kids is like carrying an overnight pack with tent. It's just more work But I'd like to know what the trails are like, we want to avoid scrambling where hands would be needed for extended periods, sketchy down climbs or scree slopes, fording, etc.. we want to stick to trails. Steep switchbacks are not an issue, though prefer to go up them and take a gradual trail down.

To give you an idea, two years ago with baby #1 we hiked Plain of Six Glaciers w/ beehives. That was great. I did a detour to Devil's Thumb on my own, definitely would not want baby on my back for that gully. We hiked to Conrad Kain hut, that was great too, ladders and such no problem as footing is solid. We hiked the Iceline loop/Stanley Mitchell Hut, very straightforward, that was nice. We hiked to bow hut, this was a little trickier with the big boulder and having to cross a couple of streams. Wouldn't want to get trickier than this. But stuff like the talus fields is not a problem though a proper trail is ideal. And Sentinel Pass, no problem there.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 06:54 PM
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Hey, I have zero experience carrying babies, although I packed a 5 yr old around for a few hours one day...*poor kid. Carthew - Alderson is a great hike. The trail is good and obvious and popular to national park standards. You could do a side trip up Carthew in short time. No scrambling or dangers. Most people start at Cameron Lk and finish in town, which requires some sort of shuttle, but would suit your criteria.

Personally have not done the other hikes, but I seem to think that Akamina Ridge requires some scrambling. Could be wrong. I know many others around here have hiked in Waterton and am a bit surprised you have not had more feedback.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 09:11 PM
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Carthew-Alderson is just fine unless you're worried about tripping over your own feet on flat trail, and then rolling down the hillside (there was an issue a couple years ago or so with someone who thought it an extreme trail and wanted to yell at everyone with a different opinion). You can see the quality of trail here.

Rowe Lakes / Lineham Ridge is similar - proper trail for all of it.

Akamina Ridge is hiking for a lot of the route, but there is a scrambley section to get through on one of the sides (usually people do on ascent), so I'm not sure if that will be within what you want to do carrying the baby. It's not extended scrambling, but it is hands-on for that section. And the descent is still steep, not nicely switchbacked with a proper trail
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 05-08-2015, 11:31 PM
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Wife and I did carthew Anderson and lineham ridge with my youngest on our back ( he was about 2 at the time). Great memories and highly recommended.

Did part of the Highline (hiked to haystack butte then back). just do it!

Also would add Dawson pitamakin if you are in glacier. One of the classic hikes of the park and similar to akamina ridge or carthew alderson in terms of length (slightly harder but you don't have to do the complete loop, can always take the boat then hike to Dawson pass then go back the same way catching the boat again at the end of the day). We tried (but turned back) on Dawson pit on a really hot day also with the kiddie carrier but it was fun to take the boat and play around on the beach.

Re:akamina... If you want, you can avoid any scrambling on akamina ridge by hiking up via the trail at the end of wall lake (i think that is called Bennett pass?) to the high point, them back the same way, rather than descending via forum lake. The scrambling going up or down via four, isn't bad but I wouldn't recommend it with a small child on your back. Going to wall lake or forum lake are also decent destinations with small kids.

Gets to be harder with 2 (in the same boat ourselves). Last year when my son was 3 we did some hikes with both in the mountains... The 3 yr old was able to hike about 8 km return and 1500 ft el. gain while we carried our (then) 1 yr old. It's not a matter of weight after they get to a certain age, once they are 3 it gets boring to be carried for a prolonged period of time. My 2 cents. Good luck!
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 05-09-2015, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Wife and I did carthew Anderson and lineham ridge with my youngest on our back ( he was about 2 at the time). Great memories and highly recommended.

Did part of the Highline (hiked to haystack butte then back). just do it!

Also would add Dawson pitamakin if you are in glacier. One of the classic hikes of the park and similar to akamina ridge or carthew alderson in terms of length (slightly harder but you don't have to do the complete loop, can always take the boat then hike to Dawson pass then go back the same way catching the boat again at the end of the day). We tried (but turned back) on Dawson pit on a really hot day also with the kiddie carrier but it was fun to take the boat and play around on the beach.

Re:akamina... If you want, you can avoid any scrambling on akamina ridge by hiking up via the trail at the end of wall lake (i think that is called Bennett pass?) to the high point, them back the same way, rather than descending via forum lake. The scrambling going up or down via four, isn't bad but I wouldn't recommend it with a small child on your back. Going to wall lake or forum lake are also decent destinations with small kids.

Gets to be harder with 2 (in the same boat ourselves). Last year when my son was 3 we did some hikes with both in the mountains... The 3 yr old was able to hike about 8 km return and 1500 ft el. gain while we carried our (then) 1 yr old. It's not a matter of weight after they get to a certain age, once they are 3 it gets boring to be carried for a prolonged period of time. My 2 cents. Good luck!
Thanks! I don't mind some light scrambling going up, I just wouldn't want to go down anything too steep where it would be easy to slip and fall backwards. Not that I've ever slipped and fallen backwards but still.. if it's switchbacks on a trail, no problem. So if we go up via Forum lake do you still think the downhill from Wall lake is too steep?

We were also planning on hiking the Dawson Pass/Pitamakin Loop and using the boat. And also Ptarmigan tunnel with possible Iceberg lake was recommended as the third big highlight of the park?

That's great that your 3 year old could hike 8km/500m, that's actually amazing, that can't be normal? We hope ours will be able to hike half the time and rest in the carrier, she'll actually be 2.5 years old when we do the trip so ideally would not want to carry her the whole time
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 05-09-2015, 12:53 PM
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So if we go up via Forum lake do you still think the downhill from Wall lake is too steep?
I was actually suggesting the opposite (go UP via the trail that goes past Wall lake, then descend the same way).

The normal route for akamina ridge is to hike to forum lake then gain the ridge (start off trail scrambling literally at a sign at forum lake that says 'akamina ridge').

The normal downroute descends at the far end of wall lake via Bennett pass. Downroute is a trail, albeit steep but no scrambling. I was suggesting you could avoid forum ridge altogether by going 'up' the normal downroute and do a there and back to the high point of akamina ridge, no scrambling whatsoever. Going up via forum doesn't sound too hard for you but not generally recommended for hiking with an infant in a child carrier.

That said, once did Akamina (via forum) with another couple several yrs ago and the other couple's wife was 5 mths pregnant and looked like she was lugging a basketball around under her shirt - so all depends on your level of comfort.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 05-11-2015, 08:17 AM Thread Starter
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I was actually suggesting the opposite (go UP via the trail that goes past Wall lake, then descend the same way).

The normal route for akamina ridge is to hike to forum lake then gain the ridge (start off trail scrambling literally at a sign at forum lake that says 'akamina ridge').

The normal downroute descends at the far end of wall lake via Bennett pass. Downroute is a trail, albeit steep but no scrambling. I was suggesting you could avoid forum ridge altogether by going 'up' the normal downroute and do a there and back to the high point of akamina ridge, no scrambling whatsoever. Going up via forum doesn't sound too hard for you but not generally recommended for hiking with an infant in a child carrier.

That said, once did Akamina (via forum) with another couple several yrs ago and the other couple's wife was 5 mths pregnant and looked like she was lugging a basketball around under her shirt - so all depends on your level of comfort.
Thanks, yes that was another option I was thinking about, to completely eliminate the scramble and yes do a there and back from the mellower side. Does this less then experience of the hike? Ie. is the forum lake and gaining the ridge from that side a big part of what makes the hike so highly rated?
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 05-13-2015, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Between Akamina Ridge, Lineham Ridge/Rowe Lakes, and Carthew-Alderson.. which would you guys say should be lowest priority? I'm thinking we'll do two of them as a family, and the third I'll do on my own and my wife will hang back with the kids. But I'd rather she not miss any of the best hikes, they all seem pretty similar in terms of length/elevation so the deciding factor would be views and overall awesomeness thanks!
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