Parker’s Ridge is a great place to day hike once you enter Jasper national park border from Banff. Combining nature and human activity, this area has dangers that can be life threatening. But with proper knowledge of the terrain, this place is a great playground for skiers, snowboarders, hikers and just plain old nature lovers.
Even with proper training, there are times that natural hazards will release on its own and you just can’t avoid it. Equipment that is recommended when accessing this area or other backcountry settings that has avalanche hazards is Transceiver, Probe, and Shovel. These are the minimum equipment that should be taken along and have the proper instructions to use them.
Avalanche Awareness courses is available throughout the wintertime in Jasper. Many people take this course for various kinds of reasons. There are a few qualified instructors in Jasper that can put on these courses. I’ve listed some links below; these web sites will have more information on the type of courses that they can offer and where you can rent equipment. Avalanche Awareness is not a full Avalanche training course, it only helps you understand the basic principals of an avalanche, how it is formed, what can trigger a slide, equipment used, how to use it, what dangers to look for and more. It is a great course to take if you have any interest in Touring, Mountaineering, Snowmobiling and other backcountry sports.
Exploring new area is one of these places. It has been around for awhile, but we had never ventured into this area before. Even though thousands of visitors travel through the Columbia Icefield, this ice cave has not seen many of those visitors. Due to the seasons, it is very difficult to get to in the summer months, plus it is also dangerous when ice melts.
Athabasca glacier can be access by Ice Explorers in the summer months. There is also an outfit that offers hikes onto the glacier, but not to this cave due to the dangers that lurk.
Use caution to explore this area. Do not venture too deep into the cave due to crevasses with in the cave itself. Proper tools to venture deeper is recommended.
Access: Highway 93 south, approx. 105km from Jasper
Trailhead: at base of glacier where the summer platform ends
A second ski tour to the Columbia Icefield, when I got the call to do this trip, I did not hesitate to say heck ya! The approach to Mt. Kitchener starts at the toe of Athabasca glacier, the same goes for the Snow Dome tour. We took two days to reach the summit of Mt. Kitchener, we built an authentic Igloo for our ultimate winter camping experience.
We hit some exceptional days, so our tour was quite spectacular and breathtaking. Doug Latimer needed to film some footage for his documentary “360 Degrees of Inspiration”, we were lucky to be the recipients of his guiding skills.
While we were building the Igloo, an electrical storm halted our progress for what seem like an hour, sitting on non metallic items and feet on our rope to separate us from the ground. It passed us with no issues.
After the night in the Igloo, I happened to be the last one up, luckily I left the Igloo just before it collapsed. The day was inspirational and breathtaking with amazing views 360 degrees worth. We summit Mt. Kitchener with plenty of day light and get some footage before the decent.
Camping does not stop when the snow falls. The back and front country campsites are still open if you care to brave the weather. This authentic Canadian pastime is fun when you are prepared to cozy up to a nice down filled sleeping bag or build an Igloo, yes people down south of the border, we Canadians do sleep in Igloos.
A trip like this does not come so often, so when a friend invited me on this trip to the top of the world (in my mind), I could not pass it up. The Snow Dome sits high in the Rockies, part of the Columbia Icefield covered in (you guess it) snow! An experience guide is a must for this trip and I was fortunate to tag along a guide training trip conducted by Doug Latimer , and when they said it was skiing, well I was tickled pink! The Snow Coaches can take you part way up this Athabasca Glacier, but not pass the huge ice falls and crevasses.