After some brief introductions, we all drove to the Moraine Lake parking lot and quickly geared up for our hike. The group set a brisk pace up the rising trail, and it was not long before I was feeling the effects of not hiking for over 50 days. Thankfully, we took plenty of rest stops which allowed me time to catch my breath and even join in on some conversations. As predicted, the sky was overcast, but the views of the golden larches and the surrounding peaks were still sufficiently impressive for everyone to stop frequently and take photographs. The hike along the trail to Wenkchemna Pass was actually so enjoyable that we nearly missed the turnoff to climb up Wastach Mountain.
Although the ascent route is not complicated (go up gully and talus slope), the upper mountain is much steeper than expected, and on this day, lots of fresh, unconsolidated snow made the footing both slippery and treacherous (I stepped into lots of deep holes among the boulders). Despite the problems with traction, we all arrived at the summit without serious mishap and in good spirits. Views were rather disappointing due to the low cloud cover, but at least the weather conditions were relatively mild at the summit. Highlights at the summit included Josée disco-dancing and Fabrice breaking out some Twix chocolate bars and Jägermeister. These two really know how to party!
Leaving the summit, we utilized snow slopes wherever we could to make our descent easier. While Josée managed to glissade long stretches of snow, the others attempted to do the same with mixed results. I opted to plunge-step as the snow was not quite abundant and consolidated enough to bear my full weight. Upon regaining the trail, we enjoyed an uneventful hike back to the parking lot. Even dodging the afternoon crowds on the trail was only mildly annoying.
Lousy weather aside, I thoroughly enjoyed my company on this day, and I look forward to hooking up again with any and all of them for a future trip.
Be sure to check out Charles' photos
here as well as Josée's and Fabrice's
|Mount Bowlen towers above Moraine Lake.|
|Josée emerges from the trees high above the Valley of the Ten Peaks.|
|Raff checks out Eiffel Lake. At left in the distance is Wenkchemna Pass.|
|Wastach Mountain comes into view along the trail.|
|Josée and Raff start climbing up the steep gully.|
|Eiffel Lake is far below Fabrice as he makes his way up the gully.|
|The final slope looks deceptively easy from near Wastach Pass.|
|Fabrice pauses on the slope to adjust his gear. In the background is Eiffel Peak.|
|Fabrice walks along the summit ridge above the precipitous north face of Wastach Mountain. Raff is visible at the summit.|
|On the 2832-metre summit of Wastach Mountain are (L to R) Fabrice, Josée, Charles, Raff and Sonny.|
|Pinnacle Mountain (left) and Eiffel Peak dominate the view to the east.|
|To the north, a striking gendarme partially obstructs the view of the lake at the head of Paradise Valley.|
Here is a more comprehensive view of Paradise Valley.
|Eiffel Lake is partially visible to the southeast in the Valley of the Ten Peaks.|
|The group heads back to the access gully.|
Here is a close-up of some larch needles.
|Mount Babel and Moraine Lake still look impressive despite the overcast weather.|
Distance: ~14.0 kilometres
Round-Trip Time: 7 hours 19 minutes
Net Elevation Gain: 1012 metres