Tag Archives: columbia icefield

Parkers Ridge

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.

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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.

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sum­mer shot of the snow

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.

Sum­mer time is also great to hike this area.

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Mt. Athabas­ca
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Beau­ti­ful path
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Ice­field Park­way
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Saskatchewan glac­i­er
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Shoul­der of the Ridge

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Access: High­way 93, 110 km South of Jasper

Park­ing: Yes

Trail­head: Trail starts at Hil­da park­ing

Dis­tance: 2.4 km

Activ­i­ties: Hik­ing / Ski­ing / Sights


By Eddie Wong

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2007

Ice Caves Athabasca Glacier

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.

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The entrance
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Crys­tal clear ceil­ing glac­i­er
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Shel­ter

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Columbia Icefield Cave Heather J
Colum­bia Ice­field Cave

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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

Park­ing: Yes

Trail­head: at base of glac­i­er where the sum­mer plat­form ends

Activ­i­ties: Sight­see­ing, Tour, Ski­ing, Snow­shoe, Hik­ing


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Ski Tour Mt Kitchener

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.

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Glac­i­er mark­er over the years has reced­ed
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The tongue of the Athabas­ca Glac­i­er
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Doug Latimer with his heavy film­ing equip­ment
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Nobody else to feed me grapes, so I’ll do it myself
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Eddie the moun­tain man?
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Vast ter­rain, expert­ly nav­i­gat­ed by Doug Latimer
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When is this going to end?
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Thick glac­i­er
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pos­ing for the shot

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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.

Doug taking a time out to relax by the Igloo
Doug tak­ing a time out to relax by the Igloo

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.

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A ski tour for the memoirs

Access: From Jasper, head South, Hwy 93, 100 km

Park­ing: Yes

Trail­head: From Park­ing Lot

Dis­tance: 20 — 24 km one way

Activ­i­ties: Sights / Ski­ing / Camp­ing


Ski Tour 2006

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Winter Camping

Camping in the winter

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.

The Igloo by Explore Jasper
Mt. Kitch­n­er 2006 The igloo lived in for one night

Snow Dome

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.

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Snow­dome 1999, Chan­tal snow camp­ing at the base.

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Recreational Vehicle Camping

The camp­site Wapi­ti and Whistlers has win­ter hook-ups, but you bet­ter check with Parks Cana­da Camp­ing site to see avail­abil­i­ty times as they don’t have a reg­u­lar hours for these camp­sites.

 

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