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Canadian Rockies Question

Discussion area for peaks outside of the USA.
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Canadian Rockies Question

Postby steelfrog » Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:47 pm

This coming summer is my second kid's "Big Trip" that we take prior ro 9th grade year. I asked him last week about whether he wanted to do Cali, Colo (thinking Chicago Basin, Vallecito Creek, Vestal Basin area), Wind Rivers, High Uinta, Glacier NP, North Cascades, etc.

To my surprise, he said Canada.

So, I've been studying Robinson's trail guide for the Canadian Rockies. What we are looking for is about 10 days of backpacking/camping including the opportunity for class 4 and below mountain climbing\hiking and fishing.

Questions:

1. Do the Canadian Rockies fit the bill potentially?

2. Are there any legal impediments to doing this (i.e., crossing the border--other than getting passport)

3. Fishing there?

4. I am thinking Banff and Jasper NPs; 2 4 day trips; is this ideal or should I instead be looking at Yoho or Kootenay NPs, or Waterton Lakes; or Mt. Assiniboine or Mt. Robson?

5. First week of August ideal time?

Any other things I'm missing?

Many thanks.

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Re: Canadian Rockies Question

Postby steelfrog » Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:23 am

Also, if anyone thinks they are NOT worth it, in relation to the other options, I'd like to know that too. Thanks.

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Re: Canadian Rockies Question

Postby mike offerman » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:17 am

I have also been thinking of going into the same area with the idea of 2 4 day backpacks with shorter hikes in between. I have the Robinson book but have not looked into it in very much. I have also purchased the "Don't waste your time in the Canadian Rockies" by Kathy and Dave Copland. I have used their other "Don't waste your time" series of books and have found them very helpful. They narrow down the huge number of possible hikes and backpacks into different categories like premier down to don't do. Looks like you can pick up an older edition of the book for quite cheap on amazon.

We took a car on a ferry over to Vancouver Island last year and the only thing that we needed was a passport for the border crossing and possibly things like no fruit, though I don't remember for sure. We only spent a few minutes at the checkpoint and were on our way fairly hassle free.

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Re: Canadian Rockies Question

Postby johnF » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:21 am

I don't have too much experience with the Canadian Rockies, but since there are no other responses yet...

1. Absolutely. Gorgeous mountains, different from the CO Rockies, and tons of variety.

2. Not that I know of. With passports, you should have no problems.

3. I don't fish so I can't answer that. But the Canadian Rockies have more water (both lakes and rivers) than the CO Rockies.

4. I spent about 8 days in Banff/Jasper/Mt Robson. I'm glad I saw Banff and Jasper, but Mt Robson was the most spectacular scenery I've ever seen. There's the 13-mile (one-way) standard trail up to a backpacking campground, which is a can't-miss in my view. Then from that campground, there's plenty more exploring to do. You do need a permit, but it's not hard to get if you plan in advance. My recommendation would be to spend about 4 days at Mt Robson, and the other 4 in Banff and/or Jasper, depending on what exactly you're looking for.

5. Weather-wise, yes. It can get cold, so mid-summer is nice. You'll find large crowds along the roads and touristy areas, but sounds like your plans will get you away from the crowds anyway.

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Re: Canadian Rockies Question

Postby jrbren_vt » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:35 am

I thought you might get more feedback. I have done 2 trips to the Canadian Rockies, but they were guided mountaineering trips rather then family backpacks.
I think the Canadian Rockies have far more mountaineering opportunities then the contiguous USA aside from maybe the north cascades. The peaks are not as high as Colorado, but pose much greater mountaineering challenges as in general they are steeper and heavily glaciated. They are also more wild then the Colorado Rockies, and it is Grizzly Country. The back packing and scrambling opportunities are virtually infinite. Get this book and thumb through it, and keep in mind locals nickname the book "Alan Kane's Guide to Suicide in the Canadian Rockies".
http://www.amazon.com/Scrambles-Canadian-Rockies-Alan-Kane/dp/0921102674
backpacking books are numerous, just use google.
The first trip I did with friends was we hired a local guide and we went up Athabasca near the Banff/Jasper border, and later climbed the President in Yoho NP.
I would avoid the huts depending on what you want to do. The hut we stayed at (Stanley Mitchell) we shared with families that stayed up late to play board games. That sounded like fun except we were doing an Alpine start the next morning. Incompatible objectives.
The second trip I went on a general mountaineering camp with the Alpine Club of Canada. This is hard to describe where it is other then it was not close to anything famous. It was on the Alberta/BC border, north of Golden and south of the Columbia Icefields. It was fantastic. We were choppered in & out. I wound up summitting a couple of peaks over 10K (a big deal there since you start under 7K') and chickening out from a 3rd due to terrain too steep & exposed for me.
Watch the movie "The Edge" with Anthony Hopkins & Alec Baldwin, that was filmed in the Banff region. I think Death Hunt (Charles Bronson) was also filmed up there. If you go, do the obligatory tourist sites such as Lake Louis, Moraine Lake, and at least look upon Mt. Athabasca and Assiniboine if you do not climb them. They are famous for a reason, like the Maroon Bells.

I think the peak season is the same as for Colorado, basically early July through mid September.

you might want to leave a buffer day in case you camping and/or climbing gear gets stuck in customs (happened to me, my mountaineering gear got stuck in Chicago customs for a day). Other then that passport is all you need as far as I know.
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Best Regards - John
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Re: Canadian Rockies Question

Postby tjerasdave » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:44 am

I've been to Banff/Jasper twice and the area is absolutely amazing. There are a lot of good peaks in the Lake Louise/Lake O'Hara area so that might be a good staging area. However, bear in mind that these peaks are different than the Colorado peaks in that they are pretty much all glaciated so that adds a new fold to the difficulty. There are some non-glaciated ones around the town of Banff area, including Mount Rundle, which is one of the more famous ones. I would also recommend hiking to one of the tea houses in the Lake Louise area as the views are amazing and the experience is pretty neat.

Summer time is a good timeframe to go if you don't mind crowds as the days are very long (often times the sun doesn't set until 10 or 11). However, there are a lot of trails in the backcountry that require a group of at least 4 to hike on them due to bear activity (the Canadian Park Rangers strictly enfore this). Also, with the exchange rate being heavilly favored towards the loonie, expect to pay more over there ($6 a gallon gas, $10 per person at a McDonald's, etc).

I do have a couple of books at home that would be good referances, but I don't know the titles off the top of my head. I'll try to remember to post them later.

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Re: Canadian Rockies Question

Postby steelfrog » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:44 pm

Thanks--I ordered the two books mentioned from amazon; also got the Don't Waste Your Time North Cascades. I've spent some time there but want to spend more...

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Re: Canadian Rockies Question

Postby mtnview » Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:30 pm

I can help you some as I have done a great number of the choice scrambles in the Banff Lake Louise area but only minimal backpacking. First week of August can't guarantee it would be mosquito free, last half of Aug is more bug free.

http://www.truedino.com/scramble.htm

You can browse around here for more info.

Two of the best backpack trips are the Skoki area behind the Lake Louise ski hill and the Skyline trail near Jasper.
The Skyline trail especially needs reservation as it fills up way in advance. Another is called the Rockwall.

I am thinking same for Skoki but you would have to check with the park reservation system for details. In Skoki area Fossil Mtn is a nice scramble.

If you like substitute some day scrambles for half the time, I would definitely recommend Mt. Fairview or Mt St Piran near Lake Louise. I also like Mt Indefatigable in the Kananaskis which is not too far from Banff.

A good base is the Tunnel Mountain campground in Banff when you are not backpacking. Just a short jaunt into Banff if you prefer a latte and doing the tourist thing for a day.

Might be able to pick up a Banff National Park Pass cheap on ebay as lots of skiers sell theirs in the spring. $135/year or $20/day for a vehicle.

Let me know if I can be of further help in your planning.

Regards
Allan
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise (of his return), as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
http://www.truedino.com/colorado14ers.htm

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Re: Canadian Rockies Question

Postby steelfrog » Tue Nov 01, 2011 6:31 am

Awesome, thanks Allan.

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Re: Canadian Rockies Question

Postby Brian C » Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:56 pm

I give a big ol' +1 to the Alan Kane guide. That book got me up and down several challenging peaks all that were pretty close to main roads. If he says "Difficult" he generally means it will scare you (hard scrambling=5th class, large exposure and loose rock). Some of my most memorable hikes/climbs have been there and I can't wait to go back. August should be an excellent time to scramble as long as there is not an early season snow. Also, some areas will make party limitations due to grizzlies so if your party is smaller than 6 you can't go in but it is common to meet others to hike with. Not sure how you'd check that ahead of time.
Brian in the Wild
Lists of John
"Nature never did betray the heart that loved her." - Wordsworth

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Re: Canadian Rockies Question

Postby tjerasdave » Tue Nov 01, 2011 8:34 pm

Finally hunted down my books. They are:

Banff-Assiniboine: A Beautiful World and The World of Lake Lousie; both by Don Beers.

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Re: Canadian Rockies Question

Postby mtnview » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:59 pm

The classic scramble in our Rockies is called Mt Temple near Lake Louise, whereas Colarado has Longs Peak.

Currently have to wait at trailhead for group of 4 to ascend into the upper larch valley. Usually doesn't take too long to form a group.

http://www.truedino.com/mttemple.htm

Regards
Allan
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise (of his return), as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
http://www.truedino.com/colorado14ers.htm

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