Landslide Lake
For the 2016 May long weekend, Zosia Zgolak, through the Alpine Club of Canada, organized a semi-backcountry camping trip to Lake Of The Falls in Alberta's David Thompson Country.  Her plan was to start from Landslide Lake trailhead and hike all the way to Lake Of The Falls to camp overnight.  The following day would include scrambling up one of the surrounding ridges before hiking out along Cline River and checking into Shunda Creek Hostel near Nordegg for the evening.  Joining Zosia and me were Grace Cantle, Jamshaid Mohebzada, Leslie Pryslak and Marta Wojnarowska.

The trip got off to an inauspicious start on the morning of 21 May 2016 when I slept in after failing to properly set my clock alarm.  I picked up Marta and Zosia about half an hour later than planned, but we still made it on time to our rendezvous point with the others at Landslide Lake trailhead.  It took Jamshaid and me about half an hour to drop off my car at the Cline River south side trailhead before returning to join the others.  The hike to Landslide Lake entails a stiff climb of over 1100 metres to reach a high pass.  We followed a well-maintained trail for much of the ascent before trudging up easy scree slopes to the pass.  The views from the pass were remarkable on this day, and I regretted not having more time to explore some of the surrounding ridges.  The descent to Landslide Lake was easy at first, but as we bottomed out, we encountered numerous snow patches and boggy sections which hampered our progress.  Travel became easier again once we reached the shores of the lake which disappointingly was only half full due to low water levels.  After walking around the eastern shore of the lake, we picked up a good trail heading northward and eventually arrived at the junction to Lake Of The Falls.  By this point, several people in the group--myself included--were feeling quite hungry and tired.  Instead of pushing on to Lake Of The Falls (nearly 5 kilometres further and about 360 metres higher), we opted to camp near the junction with intentions of visiting the lake early the next morning.
...And there is no crying allowed on this trip... Zosia (right), the trip leader, gives a safety brief prior to the start of the hike.
Sweating already! The trail to Landslide Lake gains elevation quickly.
Of course, Marta is too busy studying to notice! Some views begin to open up behind Marta.
Ugh. Jamshaid grinds his way up the steep trail.
Be vigilant for bears around here! The group descends slightly to cross an avalanche gully.
Not sure if it's a scramble or not, but it would be a long approach regardless. Mount Peskett stands out to the south on the other side of the North Saskatchewan River.
The figure in the lead (Marcus) was not part of our group. The group is about to clear the last trees.
Still more grunting to come! Marta follows the rest of the group up open scree slopes.
It's kinda hard to get lost up here unless there's a whiteout. Cairns like the one in the foreground help Zosia and Marta stay on track.

Too bad we didn't have extra time (or energy) to scramble up the unnamed ridge.

Glaciated Mount Wilson is barely visible in the distance at left.  The ridge at right is unnamed.


Grace brought pizza! Zosia, Grace, Jamshaid, Leslie and Marta take a well-deserved break.
This would also turn out to be the highest elevation we would reach for the long weekend. The group arrives at a high pass (2538 metres).


This is the million dollar view of Landslide Lake from the high pass.


Over 1100 metres of elevation gain with a heavy pack? No problemo! The group is in good spirits at the high pass.
I'm a little sad that we won't be hiking back this way...only a little! This is looking back at the high pass from the scree slopes below on the north side.
A very easy descent. Getting to the lake is another matter! Grace pauses briefly to admire the views on her way down to Landslide Lake.
Who pulled out the plug?? Landslide Lake is only partially full on this day.
I'm actually standing "in" the lake for this photo! Most of the water is at the north end of the lake.
Too bad we're not camping here. This is looking south across Landslide Lake from the north end.
Must be some inbreeding going on here... A family of marmots hang out on some rocks in a glade.
O Canada! At the confluence of Entry Creek and the outlet stream of Landslide Lake, Grace crosses a wobbly bridge decorated with a Canadian flag.
It may be small, but it keeps me warm! Here is Sonny's home for the night.
Góralu, czy ci nie żal, Góralu, wracaj do hal! Marta and Zosia are happy campers.
What's for supper? Grace and Leslie are also happy campers.
Someone did an amazing job of tying a big log high up on the tree! Marta and Zosia hang their food up for the night.
Looks like Zosia and Leslie are ready to party, and there's not even any alcohol! Jamshaid, Grace, Zosia and Leslie gather around a most welcome camp fire.
In the wee hours of the morning of 22 May 2016, I was awoken by the sound of rain striking the walls of my bivy sack.  Although the rain was not totally unexpected, I was already dreading the thought of packing up wet camping gear in the backcountry.  The rain also meant that we were unlikely to visit Lake Of The Falls that morning, and I took consolation in the fact that I could sleep in a bit.  As I turned in my sleeping bag, I inadvertently kicked the side of my bivy sack and was surprised to feel something solid outside.  I unzipped my bivy sack and was shocked to see the outside world covered in snow!  I immediately began the grim task of striking camp by wiping snow off my damp boots and putting them on.  After packing up my bivy sack and personal gear, I went to retrieve my food bag and check on a small tarp I had put up the night before.  The tarp was weighted down by heavy wet snow but still held up remarkably well.  One by one, the others joined me at the tarp which provided a small but dry haven for everyone to cook and eat breakfast.

Snow continued to fall as we finished packing up our camp.  Aside from slippery conditions due to the snow, the hike out along Entry Creek was a bit of a challenge since large sections of the trail were wiped out by, presumably, the floods of 2013.  The trail along the south side of Cline River was in better shape, but it undulates a lot which is both annoying and tiring.  We all eventually made it to the trailhead a little wet but none the worse for wear.  After retrieving Jamshaid's car from the Landslide Lake trailhead, we all headed to Shunda Creek Hostel where we cleaned ourselves up and spent a very relaxing evening eating, socializing and singing.

Although I regret not reaching Lake Of The Falls and exploring the surrounding ridges on this trip, I still enjoyed sharing the trail with some great companions, and I look forward to returning to this area perhaps in the not-too-distant future.
We should know better than to go camping on the May long weekend! The tent that Grace and Leslie were sharing resembles an igloo in the morning.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Are we having fun yet? Zosia and Marta take down their tent under wet conditions.
Best view of the day! The outlet stream of Landslide Lake is maybe flowing a little faster this morning.
It's a pathetically small tarp, but it's better than nothing! Sonny waits for Leslie to pack up before taking down his useful tarp.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Yup. Let's get the hell outta here! The group hikes out alongside Entry Creek.
Ahhh...luxurious! Leslie relaxes beside the wood stove at Shunda Creek Hostel.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Way better than Karaoke! Marta, Zosia and Leslie start a sing-along.
Mmmm...smells yummy! Jamshaid is enjoying a bowl of soup.
That's a terrible backgammon set. Grace scrutinizes her backgammon opponent, Leslie.
You should be dancing...yeah! Zosia and Marta practice some Polish dancing.
A return trip is in order...hopefully with more favourable weather! Total Distance:  29.8 kilometres
Total Time:  28 hours 49 minutes
Total Elevation Gain:  1220 metres

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