I just returned from a trip to Jasper National Park’s Maligne Pass. The weather was cold at night and warm during the day – just right for hiking. Here are the details.
August 5-7, 2006
Pre-trip accomodations: Most of the group stayed at Beauty Creek Hostel. I stayed at Bea’s Hive in Jasper.
Saturday, August 5
We started out on the Pobokotan Pass trail at 20 after 10 under a partly cloudy sky. Fresh snow and heavy rain the day before promised (and delivered) muddy conditions. The first 6 kilometres were a fairly easy walk along Pobokotan creek – mostly high above the creek on the slopes of the end of Endless Chain Ridge. We stopped for lunch at the Maligne Pass junction. Then we tackled the remaining five kilometres to Avalanche campground repeatedly crossing Poligne creek. After arriving and setting up camp, we lazed around the campsite for the rest of the day. Eventually dinner was cooked. A short walk after dinner to warm up was the only other main activity for the day. The campground was overflowing with at least six people in four tents who did not have permits to stay at the campground.
Stats: Distance: 11.2 km; Elevation Gain: 500 m; Hiking time: 4.5 hours including lunch break.
Sunday, August 6
The day dawned cold and frosty. At least one muddy area from the previous day was crunchy when I walked on it- frozen solid! The plants in the meadow in the campground were covered in frost. After breakfast, we got going around 10:30 for a day of rambling in the alpine. We set off on the 4 kilometre hike to Maligne Pass. A great deal of acrobatic activity was displayed by our group as we tried to avoid the worst of the water and mud that comprised the trail. Eventually we started climbing out of the bog on the way to the pass. We started to encounter snowy patches in the trees where the sun had not yet melted off Friday’s snowfall. The day quickly grew warm (up to +20C according to our thermometer) and windy at times. We stopped at the north end of the unnamed lake in Maligne Pass for lunch. A small flock of some kind of duck was circling on the lake at the opposite end from us. After refilling our water supplies, we headed off southwest over a series of ridges. Each ridge was slightly higher than the previous ridge. When we reached the crest of the highest of these ridges, we found another valley with a large unnamed lake in it. The lake was the usual turquoise of a glacially fed lake, but no glacier was evident – rock covered glaciers perhaps? We then hiked southeast down the ridge and then along the shore of this lake for a while until we reached the southeast end of the lake. Then we climbed a low divide to the next watercourse and in the distance we could see two more turquoise lakes – again without any visible glaciers to feed them. We hiked down along the outlet stream of these two lakes until we came to a cliff band and a waterfall. A short detour northwest around the cliff band and a rock fall area brought us to the bottom of the waterfall. Then we rock hopped Poligne creek and followed it downstream until we encountered the trail again. We arrived back in camp around 4:30.
Stats: Distance: about 11 km; Elevation Gain/Loss: 300 m.
Monday, August 7
We woke around 7AM, and were on the trail at 9:30. A quick 90 minute hike brought us back to the Maligne Pass junction. An hour break for lunch was followed by another 90 minute hike back to the trailhead.
Stats: Distance: 11.2 km; Elevation Loss: 500 m; Hiking time: 4 hours including an hour for lunch.
Total Stats: Distance: about 33 km; Elevation Gain/Loss: 800 m.
Edited: 2008-02-24 – Updated photo links to Flickr and edited the story.