Larch Exploring

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“A wet night and a morning above 8,000ft”

 

Babies first Mountaineer was supposed to be my first trip lead as an executive of the UAOC (University of Alberta Outdoors Club) – trip paperwork submitted six-weeks in advance meant there was a lot of uncertainty in my scramble attempt at Mount Temple. Unfortunately, the weather forecast confirmed my fears early on, a trip planned for the 23rd, Temple Mountain had ended it’s scrambling season on the 14th.

Mount Temple from Moraine Lake
Mount Temple from Moraine Lake

Unwilling to lead a trip with crampons, ice axes, and helmets, I had a bit of time to change the direction of my trip. The weekend of October 30th was designated as the date for my new Larch Season Exploring trip. Named for the phenomenon where the deciduous Larch trees have their needles change from evergreen to a bright gold before losing them for the season.

Surprisingly 50 other members signed up for my tiny 11 member trip, willing to face the ice and cold in search of some hiking and perhaps a peak to bag – so we set off.

Peyto Lake in the Evening
Peyto Lake in the Evening

Day 1 was brief. Low clouds pushed us towards the low altitude and relatively short Bow Falls Hike. Where we met up with a dozen previous UAOC executives and two attempts at viewing Peyto Lake. The second time was more fruitful.

Day 2 was more eventful. I had offered up the night before, the potential peak of Mout Saint Piran. But only for those who were up early enough. To my surprise, 11 groggy members started functioning at 7:15am, ready to hike.

We started at the legendary Lake Louise resort and made our ascent, a longer-than-anticipated scramble from Lake Anges Tea House to Saint Piran later we were standing amongst the peaks at 8,960ft relieved we had relatively easy switchbacks to take us back down.

Goats above Lake Agnes, just below Goat Pass.
Goats above Lake Agnes, just below Goat Pass.
Mt White over Lake Agnes by the famous Lake Agnes Tea House
Mt White over Lake Agnes by the famous Lake Agnes Tea House

A fantastic trip primarily because of the attitude of those who attended.

The team on top of Saint Piran.
The team on top of Saint Piran.

 

 

Moraine Lake in Valley of the 10 Peaks.
Moraine Lake in Valley of the 10 Peaks.

When it’s this cold, I’m actually relieved that camping season is over. Bring on the hostels!

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Greg is a city kid who has found his balance between living in the city and the Rocky Mountain National Parks. He has been living in Calgary but has frequently ventured out to Banff, BC and as far as Haida Gwaii on the west coast, experiencing and capturing stories to tell others. Currently he is studying Computer Science at the University of Alberta and is using the more northern post to better explore Jasper, Bowron and David Thompson Country.

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