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Topic: Banff Area - July 2012, Anyone?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 01 2012, 4:16 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My wife and I are going to Banff/Yoho/Jasper in July of this year.  

It's a shot in the dark but it would be great to link up with another somewhat fit couple going at around the same time for some hiking.  We'll be there for 2 weeks and want to work in 8-10 stellar day hikes.  I understand that some of the areas require parties of 4, minimum.  

We cover ground on the faster side of average.  If that's you and you're going to be there, reply or PM.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 01 2012, 10:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

On two of our trips to the Canadian Rockies we hiked in areas that required the group of four (once it was even six). But we had no problems hooking up with other hikers at the trailhead.

Have a great trip!
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 01 2012, 7:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks, that's very good to know.   Where you at the trailheads pretty early by chance?
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 01 2012, 10:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The first year we were there too early (pre-kiddo we always hit the trails pretty early) - we had to wait for anybody else to show up. lol.

You won't have a problem finding people to go to Sentinel Pass.  I noticed there were fewer people hiking to Wenkchemna Pass - which we went to on our second trip. We didn't get to the trailhead until a little later and were lucky to hook up with another couple (coincidentally both times we hiked with visitors from Germany).

Those were the only two hikes we had to be in a group.

Are you planning on going to Lake O'Hara?
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 01 2012, 11:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We'll be there in the high season so I there should be plenty of people around I guess.  

We aren't staying at Lake O'Hara but plan to go.  Everyone says we must.  Is that something you agree with?  Still have to get that reservation for the shuttle.

I had better get back on my running routine so I can stay in top shape for this trip.  A lot of miles will be packed into two weeks.  One based from Canmore, the other based from Jasper.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 02 2012, 6:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yes - definitely!  Lake O'Hara was one of our favorite spots. We had to call two days to get a reservation (we actually camped). If you are flexible with dates, you will have more options - call multiple days if you need to. It's definitely worth it!
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 02 2012, 10:58 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks.  Our dates are indeed flexible within the week.  How tough was it getting reservations to camp?
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 02 2012, 11:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The first day both my husband and I called and by the time we got through reservations were gone.  I called the next day, got through, and got a camping spot.   We were flexible on dates - so that helped.

It's kind of a pain to get a reservation - but very much worth it if you get one.

This page has info on reservations:

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/yoho/activ/ohara/a.aspx#a1
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 02 2012, 11:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Lake O'Hara is a definite must see.  I got reservations the first day possible.  It was hard to see the people at the parking lot hoping to get in.  I took the wife & kids to do the Alpine Circuit, we only went as far as Lake Oesa because it was raining, heavily at times.  The wind was really blowing through Wiwaxy Gap.  Scenery was superb, walking on wet rocks with your kids, not so much.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 02 2012, 11:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We did the Alpine Circuit too (daughter was under 2 - my husband carried her). Even with perfect weather and conditions there were places I was taking great care with my steps.  Can't imagine it while wet!
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 03 2012, 2:03 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Obviously I hope that the weather will be nice for us...even more so since yesterday I booked us for Abbot Hut for a night.  TMB Rifugio-ish style.  

So instead of just taking the shuttle up to hike for the day, we'll get the hike in, sunset, sunrise and the hike out.  Sleeping with 20+ others, dorm style at nearly 10,000ft elevation will certainly add to the experience.

If the weather turns treacherous, keeping us from making it up the pass, we'll still have our other place to stay as a backup for that night.  
 
I haven't even started reading our guidebooks.  I usually save that for the month before a trip.  In fact, we rarely make reservations and it has never bitten us, but this is the Canadian Rockies in the high season.  

Does the Alpine Circuit go up to Abbot Pass?
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 03 2012, 11:55 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Abbot Hut should be a fun place to stay (although I'm not sure if it will be as nice as the TMB refugios - does Abbot Hug provide meals?. Does booking at Abbot Hut guarantee a bus reservation?  If it does, that's a smart way to get a bus reservation!

The Alpine Circuit does not go up to Abbot Pass.  When we were there it looked like a scramble up a scree slope  to the pass.

Since you sound like strong hikers, I would also strongly consider a short trip into Assiniboine (which was actually our favorite spot). There are basic huts there in which you can stay (sleeping quarters, not sure about kitchen facilities - we camped, so didn't stay in the huts). It's a 17 mile hike in, which you can do in a day (not that much elevation gain).  On one of our trips we had planned to hike the 17 miles in a day (with packs), but our trip got cancelled due to a snow storm. So I haven't actually hiked the 17 miles, but from what I understand it's not that bad. The other alternative is utilizing the helicopter - either to take your bags in or for a ride either way (we actually used the helicopter as we had our daughter with us and we didn't see hiking in with all our gear and having to carry her).

It can be more work to get there, but so worth it:

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 03 2012, 12:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Basically it goes around Lake O'Hara, 7.3 miles or so.  You are usually 1500 to 1800 feet above the lake as you complete the circuit.  Emerald Lake is a neat place to stay.  There also used to be  a guided hike up to Mt Wapta to see the fossils of the Burgess Shale.  Possibilities are endless.  Spent 2 weeks in the area in 2001 with the family, and came back in 2010 to do the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay.  Hopefully one of your guide books is The Canadian Rocky Trail Guide, by Patton & Robinson.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 03 2012, 3:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

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There also used to be  a guided hike up to Mt Wapta to see the fossils of the Burgess Shale.  Possibilities are endless.  
 Did you do the guided hike?  When we were there in 2006 we hiked by this area when we did Burgess Pass, but did not do the guided hike. Looks like a cool thing to do.

Looks like we hit a lot of the same spots. On the 2006 trip we also did the Rockwall Trail (as well as Berg Lake/Snowbird Pass, Tonquin Valley, and some day hikes).  We also have the Patton and Robinson book - great book!

We've been three times to the Canadian Rockies and can't wait to go again. :D
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 03 2012, 4:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you're spending time in the Canmore area I would also recommend Assiniboine.  It's not a particularly difficult hike in, but it is long.  It is also somewhat startling to get there and see this little hotel and huts, but the view is really beautiful and there are a couple of nice day hikes you can do once you get situated up there.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 04 2012, 12:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

PG:  Right.  I haven't made a phone call and we snagged the night we wanted above Lake O'Hara and with the same email, two seats reserved on the 0830 shuttle and the required wilderness passes.  When I found out about this I hopped right on it.  :)    No, the huts don't have food service like found in the rifugios/refuges of Europe.  I want to do the TMB one more time, one of these years.

Nice shot of the Mt. Assiniboine range.  We are considering several options for a backpack and that's one of them.  You flew in and camped.  How much helo noise/traffic is there in the area?  The reading I've done seems to point to this being a pretty active operation in the area.  Also, lots of camping selection and it's all first-come first-served?

Yes Bumknees, we have the Canadian Rockies Trail Guide and the possibilities are indeed endless.  We also have "Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies"  Not the one to take along but it's not bad.

Thanks for the added vote Nilsy.  I booked Canmore because several of the Canadians told me that this area was either their favorite or in the top.  

17 miles is an honest day's work, btw.  Especially the second 17 going out.  I'd better find my next pair of hiking boots and get them broken in.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 04 2012, 8:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That's a good way to get a bus reservation!

You mentioned day hikes in your first post, so didn't realize you were also looking at backpacking. Definitely do Assiniboine!  You don't have to do the 17 miles in one day. there are ways to break up the hike coming in. The Assinboine campground is about a mile from lodge.  The helicopter only flies on certain days and we didn't think it was too bad. It is active around the lodge and you'll probably laugh at the people fearfully clutching their bear spray as they venture a few feet from the lodge.  We were there the last week in August and we didn't feel it was too crowded. Nub Peak is the most popular hike, but we didn't see tons of people. We didn't see any other hikers when we did Windy Ridge and only a few on Wonder Pass.  The campground is large and nice - tent pads, outhouses, bear boxes, etc. We had called for a reservation and they told us there is always space. It wasn't a problem for us to get a nice campsite.

We also loved Berg Lake for a backpack. That one has helicopters too, but I don't think they were running when we were there or else we missed the days they were flying. The day hike from Berg Lake to Snowbird Pass is fantastic.

I have pictures posted from this backpack and a few others here if you want to look (The Rockwall, Tonquin Valley, day hikes):

Canadian Rockies 2006

This one has Lake O'Hara, Assiniboine, and some dayhikes:

Canadian Rockies 2009

An aborted Brazeau loop and day hikes:

Canadian Rockies 2005

You're going to have an awesome trip!
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2012, 1:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Three weeks looks like this *right now*:

3 days on the road from the Vail Valley.
Day 1: Icefields to Jasper.
Day 2: Into Berg Lake.  Still have to pick the campsite.  Day 3: Snow Bird Pass if it's open.  If not we'll try Hargraves.  
Day 4: Hike out.
Day 5: Bald Hills day hike or other.
Day 6: Wilcox Pass day hike or other.
Day 7: Verdant Pass day hike or other
Day 8: Icefields to Canmore
Day 9: Day hike to be decided
Day 10: Lake O'Hara, full or partial Alpine Circ
Day 11: Lake Mcarthur if possible and hike out.
Day 12: Banff area day hiking to be decided.
Day 13: Assiniboine Pass to Magog
Day 14: Mt. Assiniboine day hiking to be decided.
Day 15: Out via Wonder Pass.
3 days back to the Vail Valley.

I'm going to try finding a ride of some kind to and from the trail head on days 13 & 15.  I've read they've had a problem with trailhead break-ins there.

PG:  You guys camped in town?  Did you leave a tent in place or did you reserve your in town days only?  Given the way this is playing out, we'll likely be canceling our condo rental in Canmore and bring our car camping tent.  Camping reservations doesn't open yet so I have some figuring time left to sort this end of the trip out.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2012, 9:20 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

>> PG:  You guys camped in town?  Did you leave a tent in place or did you reserve your in town days only?  Given the way this is playing out, we'll likely be canceling our condo rental in Canmore and bring our car camping tent.  Camping reservations doesn't open yet so I have some figuring time left to sort this end of the trip out.

We camped at Lake Louise, camped at Lake O'Hara, two nights hotel in Canmore, camped at Assiniboine.  I think we reserved our campsite in advance at Lake Louise. IIRC, it wasn't a problem getting a campsite.

You're hitting all the highlights - you're going to love it.  :D
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 05 2012, 11:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the help and insight.  I'm setting this trip up to easily allow for another two weeks with more of a focus on Banff.

Our itinerary is a bit stout.  A couple of those day hikes will be dropped in exchange for a rest day or two.  I'd also like to put Assiniboine on the front side but we have a place in Jasper that we can't flip to the back end of the trip.

A lot of folks are *really* wondering what spring is going to look like.  It seems that the Canadian Rockies are experiencing an odd winter, similar to what's going on here in the lower Rockies.  Not much snow....yet.  It's been more like spring so far this season.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 06 2012, 12:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nice itinerary.  On your way up to Jasper, and you like wildflowers, you might stop off at Cavell Meadows, 3.8 mile hike.  Wilcox Pass is a great hike, with the family the Bighorns were crisscrossing the trail next to us, next trip we only saw them at a distance.  Between Canmore & Banff there is the Cory Pass-Mt Edith Circuit, very nice.  In the Banff area I liked 2 hikes:  Plain of the 6 Glaciers, also can have a stop at a Teahouse; Saddleback-Fairview Mountain, the views from Fairview on a clear day are second to none.

I did take the guided trip to the Burgess Shale, weather was bad, but the history & Cambrian fossils, etc were interesting, views were also outstanding.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 02 2012, 12:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We're headed out to Banff at the end of August.  Odd question - we've never travelled internationally with all of our gear before (and it seems odd to me to think of Canada as international because I grew up near the border).  Do expect any problems bringing a clean backpacking stove in our checked baggage on the plane?  Obviously, we'd be getting fuel there and not bringing it with us...

I've never had any trouble flying with that sort of stuff domestically as long as everything is clean and/or empty.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 03 2012, 9:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

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We're headed out to Banff at the end of August.  Odd question - we've never travelled internationally with all of our gear before (and it seems odd to me to think of Canada as international because I grew up near the border).  Do expect any problems bringing a clean backpacking stove in our checked baggage on the plane?  Obviously, we'd be getting fuel there and not bringing it with us...

I've never had any trouble flying with that sort of stuff domestically as long as everything is clean and/or empty.
 

We've flown domestically and internationally with our stove many times (cleaned and placed in our check luggage) and have never had problems.  The only piece of gear that got some questions was a Katahdin water filter bottle my husband carried on the plane. I think he was about to croak when the guy said he couldn't let it through (thankfully a supervisor came over and waved it through).
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 04 2012, 10:22 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thank you!  I thought as much, but needed someone else to confirm for me.
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