Mount Robson and Berg Lake 2006

I just returned from a trip to Berg Lake in Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia. The weather was perfect – blue skies, and no clouds! Here are the details.

September 1-4, 2006

Pre-trip accomodations: Robson Meadows Campground

Photo Album

Mount Robson 2006 Photoset on flickr.com

Friday, September 1

Miette River

Miette River, Jasper National Park. David and I stopped beside the highway just west of Jasper townsite to have lunch en route to Mount Robson. After eating, I wandered over to the river to see what I could with my new camera.

Mount Robson

Mount Robson as seen from our campsite in Robson Meadows campground. David and I arrived early enough to secure trail permits for our group of nine hikers for the next day.

Fraser River

Fraser River, Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia. This west-facing view is from the bridge over the river on the road heading south from Robson Meadows campground. A trail leads from this location to Overlander Falls.

Overlander Falls

Overlander Falls, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Fraser River

Fraser River, Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia. This west-facing view is from the bridge over the river on the road heading south from Robson Meadows campground. A trail leads from this location to Overlander Falls.

Sunset on Mount Robson

Sunset on Mount Robson

David and I left Edmonton around 8am in order to get to the visitor information centre at Mount Robson in time to get backcountry campsites. We arrived at 1pm (all times mountain daylight time) to find that we could only get enough campsites at the Robson Pass campground. Robson Pass campground is 23 km from the highway, making this the longest hike I have ever attempted. After securing backcountry campsites, and front country campsites in the Robson Meadows campground, David and I hiked the short trail to Overlander Falls. The walk was along the Fraser river, but although we could hear the river, we rarely saw it through the thick forest. Capturing the falls on my Pentax digital SLR camera proved to be an interesting challenge. There’s still much I need to learn about the SLR camera. Following our warm-up hike, we returned to the campground to relax until the others arrived. In the evening, I wandered back over to the visitor center to take some sunset shots of Mount Robson.

Saturday, September 2

Kinney Lake

Kinney Lake, Mount Robson Provincial Park

White Falls

White Falls, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Falls of the Pool

Falls of the Pool, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Emperor Falls

Emperor Falls, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Mount Robson and Mist Glacier

Mt. Robson and Mist Glacier as seen from a location just upstream of Emperor Falls Campground in Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia
Photo is posted on Wikipedia’s Mount Robson entry

Berg Lake, Berg Glacier and Mount Robson

Berg Lake, Berg Glacier and Mount Robson, Mount Robson Provincial Park

I decided that we needed to start hiking by 8:30am in order to make it to our campsite by supper time. That meant waking everyone up at 6am Mountain Daylight time (or 5am Pacific!). It was still pitch black when I crawled out of the tent to rouse the others. Breakfast was devoured, gear was shared and packed and we were off for the trailhead. Another flurry of activity followed at the trailhead as everyone got ready to start hiking. We set off at 8:40 under clear blue skies. Two hours later, we stopped for a snack at Kinney Lake campground. We reached Whitehorn campground around noon for and stopped for lunch. Then we tackled the Emperor Hill and passed White Falls, Falls of the Pool and finally reached Emperor Falls. We stopped at Emperor Falls long enough to “take a shower” in the icy cold spray. Then we tackled the last hill before the trail levels off. After a stop to recharge our batteries at Emperor Falls campground, we set off for the remaining 7 km of the day’s hike. Mist Glacier came into view shortly and from then on, our eyes were drawn to the “back side” of Mount Robson and the turquoise waters of Berg Lake. As we crossed Hargreaves creek, we encountered a flock of seven Harlequin ducks – the most I’ve ever seen in one place. We finally reached our campground around 6:30pm.

Stats: Distance: 23 km; Elevation Gain: 800 m; Hiking time: 10 hours including breaks.

Sunday, September 3:

Mount Robson

Mount Robson reflected in a stream near Robson Pass, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Robson Lake

Robson Lake (unofficial name), Mount Robson Provincial Park. I’ve given it this name for the simple reason that the lake at the toe of a glacier often gets the same name as the glacier feeding it.

Robson Glacier

Robson Glacier as seen from the Snowbird Pass trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Mount Robson and the Robson Glacier

Mount Robson and the Robson Glacier, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Brian and Reef Icefield

Brian in Snowbird Pass overlooking the Reef Icefield, Jasper National Park

Mount Robson

Mount Robson from the Snowbird Pass trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Saturday morning, I let my fellow hikers sleep until 7am! Nice guy eh? We had a 20km round trip hike ahead of us, which involved a lot of elevation change, so I figured we better get an early start. Following breakfast, we headed south on the Snowbird Pass route. We quickly reached the unnamed lake at the toe of the Robson Glacier and then the climbing started. Some sections are very steep with loose rock as the trail surface. Eventually, we reached a high moraine on the east side of the Robson Glacier. At the point the the trail to Snowbird pass turns east, we stopped to have lunch. The trail then passes through meadows en route to the pass. On a previous trip, I lost track of the number of marmots. This time I only saw one. I also saw a couple of Ptarmigan (snow birds). Eventually we reached the pass (at least five of the nine on the trip did) and were able to look out over the Reef icefield. The return trip was much quicker than the ascent to the pass, but it did involve some involuntary sitting on the loose rocks I mentioned earlier, which I can still feel three days later as I write this. The steep downhill did a good job on my left knee. I’m not entirely sure what’s wrong, but if it doesn’t stop bothering me in short order, I will be getting it checked.

Stats: Distance: about 20 km. Elevation Gain/Loss: 800 m.

Monday, September 4:

Mount Robson

Mount Robson reflected in a pond near Robson Pass, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Mount Robson

Mount Robson, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Emperor Falls

Emperor Falls, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Have you seen this duck?

Yes, actually, we did see this duck. Flip back several dozen photos and you’ll find a flock of them.

Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Spotted Tussock Moth Caterpillar causing a hiker traffic jam, Berg Lake trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park

Kinney Lake

Kinney Lake, Berg Lake Trail, Mount Robson Provincial Park

We woke at 6:30am, and were on the trail at 8:40am. The weather was still nice, but there was a high smoke cloud partially obscuring the sun. We kept our breaks to a minimum so we could get back to the city at a reasonable hour. For the most part, the hike out was uneventful, but with my left knee still bothering me, I didn’t make the best possible time. But as I was hiking with a group, it didn’t matter too much as there’s always faster and slower people in a group. We lunched at Whitehorn campground again, and stopped for a snack at Kinney Lake campground. Shortly after leaving Kinney Lake, we had a wildlife encounter! We reached the trailhead around 4pm or so. After “washing up” with icy cold river water, and changing into clean dry clothes, I felt civilized. Then a brief stop for pop and chips at the gift shop before hitting the highway en route to supper at Boston Pizza in Hinton. Slow service there meant that we didn’t get back to Edmonton until 11pm. Still better than my previous visit to Mount Robson which resulted in a 1am return. All in all, an excellent trip!

Stats: Distance: 23 km; Elevation Loss: 800 m; Hiking time: 7 hours including breaks.

Total Stats: Distance : about 68 km. Total Gain/Loss: 1600m or 1.6km!

Edited: 2008-02-24 – Updated photo links to Flickr and edited the story.

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