Kootenay National Park

Boom Lake

Interesting Facts: 

Glaciated mountains and limestone walls surround the perfectly clear water of Boom Lake, making this an ideal destination on an easy hike.

(from banff.com)

Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Sunday, June 30, 2013

After hiking the Stanley Glacier trail (and beyond) the day before, in 28 degree temperatures, Niko (my son) voted for an easier day on Sunday, June 30 2013. I had narrowed our destination into two choices, either Arnica Lake or Boom Lake. It didn't take long for Niko to choose.

Boom Lake.

This hike is riduculously easy and you are rewarded with great views at the lake. I have to say though, after the wildflowers, hanging glaciers and thundering waterfalls of the Stanley Glacier hike the day before, Boom Lake was kind of a let down. I also swore never to do this hike again after suffering a flu-ridden summit push for Mount Bell years ago! There are very few views off the approach, it was much muddier than Stanley Glacier and had MUCH fewer wild flowers - almost none! Strange, considering they're only a few km apart - the burn must make a huge difference on the Stanley Glacier flora by letting in much more delicious sunlight.

I'd recommend Boom on a hot sunny day when you want shade, and Stanley Glacier on a cooler, or slightly cloudy day like we had.


[Gizmo gets a free ride!]


[A gorgeous day - but not many flowers on this side of the valley!]


[The trail was pretty wet in places - the boardwalk sections are short but welcome.]


[Boom Lake with Boom Mountain rising above.]


[Looking towards the end of the lake (west). A young man was catching fish off these rocks.]


[No flowers so I started looking for other things to take photos of...]


[It's a MIRACLE! I found a FLOWER! :)]

 

Elevation Gain (m): 
185
Total Distance (km): 
10.20

Boom Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1908. Boom Lake lies below the mountain. It was named after the driftwood, derived from avalanche debris, which looked like a lumberman''s boom. Official name. First ascended in 1903 by Dominion Survey. (from peakfinder.com)

YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, April 12, 2013
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,760

Since reading about Josee and Fabrice's trip up Boom Mountain in February it's been on my to-do list. I liked the idea of traveling into the Chickadee Valley since I'd never been in there before. Wietse had a rare Friday off on April 11 so we decided to do a nice easy trip up to Healy Pass - possibly bagging "Healy Pass Peak" while we there. I checked the avy ratings on Friday morning and was pleasantly surprised to see that the rating for Banff were actually lower than Kananaskis at "moderate / moderate / low". I did a classic Vern move and asked Wietse if he'd change his mind to Boom Mountain. After some consideration and quick weather / avy condition scanning on the cell phone while I drove, Wietse kindly agreed to a more aggressive goal.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2013/04/12/boom-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,056
Elevation Gain (m): 
1200
Round Trip Time: 
7.00
Total Distance (km): 
14.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Winter ascent includes serious avalanche risks. Learn how to manage these risks and perform avalanche burial rescues before attempting this trip.

Chickadee Peak (Chimney E1)

Trip Category: 
OT - Off-Trail Skiing
Interesting Facts: 

Chickadee Peak is an unofficial name for an outlier of Chimney Peak, it's official neighbor to the west. Chimney Peak isn't an easy climb but Chickadee is a fantastic back country ski that can easily be done in a day from hwy 93. It's a much better ski objective than it's neighbor, Boom Mountain.

Technical Difficulty Level: 
4
Endurance Level: 
Med
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,820

Chickadee Peak has been on my radar ever since seeing Raf's trip report on it. Back when Wietse and I did Boom Mountain, I remember looking at all the skiable terrain further up the Chickadee Valley and wondering if there were any other peaks we could ski in the area. Well, it turns out that there is! As Wietse, Ferenc and I drove to the parking area, Wietse started asking what we'd do if there wasn't any snow on the approach! We weren't laughing so hard when we finally parked. There wasn't a lot of white stuff around anymore... ;)

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2015/04/25/chickadee-peak-chimney-e1/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Elevation Gain (m): 
1200
Round Trip Time: 
7.00
Total Distance (km): 
21.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

The route to the summit traverses and climbs some major avalanche slopes. It is also exposed to some cornice hazard.

Chimper Peak

Interesting Facts: 

"Chimper Peak" is an unofficial summit situation between Mount Whymper to the SE and Chimney Peak to the north.

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
6
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
3rd Class
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, October 20, 2018

After the crappiest September on record, I knew we'd likely get some good weather in October. Sure enough! After a pretty bad start, October turned gorgeous and by the third week the forecast was all sunshine. Although the sun and warm temperatures were extremely welcome, they were also a bit on the late side for scrambling season. Despite assurances from Phil in Canmore that everything was melting out really quickly at valley bottom, I had my suspicions regarding anything above 2000m being snow-free. After a series of emails and texts, Wietse and I were the last two standing and started making plans for Saturday. We settled on Chimper Peak for the simple reason that Nugara makes specific mention that snow is welcome on this peak. We figured we'd win either way. If it was dry than we'd enjoy one last dry scramble for the season and if there was snow apparently that would assist our efforts. It turns out that we got a little of both.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/10/20/chimper-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

 

Summit Elevation (m): 
2,880
Elevation Gain (m): 
1500
Round Trip Time: 
8.00
Total Distance (km): 
15.00
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 3 : you fall, you break your leg
Difficulty Notes: 

With snow anywhere on route there is avy hazards. There is also a minor cliffband to overcome, but nothing too dramatic.

Floe Lake / Numa Pass

Interesting Facts: 

Floe Lake is a small lake set beneath a rock wall escarpment in Kootenay National Park. Right around it's shores there is an alpine larch forest. There is back country campground at the Lake.

(from trailpeak.com)

Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Friday, July 5, 2013

As part of our ascent of Numa Mountain, we chose a circular route which took us down from Numa Pass, past Floe Lake and back out to the trailhead. This trip report is for the Floe Lake / Numa Pass hike in case you're not a peakbagger but a hiker! :)

The trail is easy enough to find - simply follow hwy 93 to (or from) Radium and look for the Floe Lake trailhead sign. The trail starts off quite easy through open (burnt) forest. It parallels the highway for a bit before crossing Floe Creek and switchbacking up a steep slope until you're high on the north side of the creek. The next 4 or 5 kilometers are on the side of Numa Mountain with excellent views of the surrounding mountains / creek and TONS of wild flowers.

As the valley narrows before a steep headwall to the lake the trail gets a bit overgrown. It's still obvious where to go, but the bushes, shrubs and growth starts to choke out the trail a bit. As you gain the steep headwall you may encounter another issue - avalanche debris. When we hiked this trail in July of 2013 it was choked with fresh debris from winter avalanches. I'm sure it'll be cleared soon enough, but this section is tough enough without going over, around and under dense masses of broken trees and debris! With an over night back pack this section will not be fun until it's cleared!

The lake is definately worth the work (almost 700 meters of height gain!). Great camp sites and a beautiful lake with an imposing peak (Floe Peak) towering above makes for a very nice experience. Above the lake is a larch forest which lights up every September. Hiking to Numa Pass involves an extra 3km distance and 300 meters height gain but this is where the work really starts to pay off in 'view dividends'. A huge larch forest, towering Foster and Floe Peaks and views all around make this a must-do if you're in the area.

The way back to the car will be long and tiring but the memories will last a long time. A highly recommended hike for either early summer (flowers) or fall (larches).


[Right from the parking lot the forest is open.]


[Daisy]


[The bridge crossing Floe Creek before the trail switchbacks high above the creek.]


[Wild White Geranium]


[Columbine]


[Ragwort]


[Heal-All]


[The trail provides wonderful views thanks to the open, burnt out forest. This is also why there's so many flowers. The Boom Lake trail, by comparison, is the same aspect but has almost no wildflowers due to the thick tree cover there.]


[Looking up a steep avalanche chute.]


[The trail traverses some steep terrain.]


[Leafy Aster]


[Foster Peak comes into view.]


[The steep headwall trail is slightly washed out in short sections.]


[Many waterfalls enroute.]


[The trail starts gettign steeper.]


[This is the avy debris on the steep headwall before Floe Lake. It's a tough section to hike through.]


[Honeysuckle]


[The lake is worth the battle!! Click for full size. Floe Peak towering in the background.]


[The warden's cabin by Floe Lake]


[The Numa Pass trail, above Floe Lake]


[Alpine Spring Beauty]


[The larch forest]


[High above Floe Lake now, larches all over the place up here!]


[Western Anemone]


[Very close to Numa Pass]


[This is what makes the pass a worthwhile hike! Looking back at Floe Lake and Peak. Click for full size.]


[The pass area]


[Telephoto of Floe Lake]


[A pano from the false summit of Numa Mountain, high above Floe Lake and Numa Pass showing Floe and Foster Peaks. Click for full size.]


[On descent - you can see how choked up the creek is beneath the headwall due to avalanche debris and dead timber.]


[Buttercup]


[Alpine Willowherb]


[The shrubs and bushes almost obliterate the trail in places! Find the hikers...]


[Further down the terrain opens up again.]


[Larkspur]


[Saskatoon]


[The Indian Paintbrushes are mostly pink on this trail - 'normally' these are red.]


[Western Canada Violet]


[Heal-All]


[Carpets of Twinflower]


[Pink Wintergreen]


[Yellow Mountain Aven]


[Wild Rose]


[This time it's an orange Indian Paintbrush!]


[Ragwort]


[Wild Daisy]

Elevation Gain (m): 
1000
Round Trip Time: 
12.00
Total Distance (km): 
25.00

Haffner, Mount

Interesting Facts: 

Lt. Henry Haffner was said to have given "splendid service" with the 8th Field Company of the Canadian Engineers until he was killed by a sniper in 1916. (from Peakfinder.com

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,514

Ever since skiing up Vermillion with Scott a few years ago, I wanted to go back for Mount Haffner. The Vermillion burn area makes for some great tree skiing in the right conditions and the no-nonsense approach from hwy 93 makes both of these peaks repeatable - something which I rarely admit to!

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2013/01/05/haffner-mount/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,250
Elevation Gain (m): 
1100
Round Trip Time: 
7.00
Total Distance (km): 
10.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Winter ascent includes serious avalanche risks. Learn how to manage these risks and perform avalanche burial rescues before attempting this trip.

Numa Mountain

Interesting Facts: 

Named in 1916. Numa is said to be the Cree Indian word for both "thunder" and "lightning." Official name. Other names Roaring Mountain. (from peakfinder.com

YDS Class: 
Hiking
Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Friday, July 5, 2013
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,720

Friday July 05 2013 was a perfect day to escape Calgary (Stampede parade day...) so a group us did what we always try to do when we 'escape' - namely bag a peak! Steven, Wietse, Dave and I would join Kevin, Kelly and Scott along hwy 93 in Kootenay National Park and ascend something there. On the drive up we debated about the original destination - Mount Wardle. We weren't too enthused about a possible 1000 vertical meter bushwhack and subsequently made a decision to tackle the much more pleasant Numa Mountain instead!

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2013/07/05/numa-mountain/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
8,924
Elevation Gain (m): 
1700
Round Trip Time: 
10.50
Total Distance (km): 
25.00
Difficulty Notes: 

Mostly hiking with some route finding and easy scrambling up an avalanche gully.

Ochre Spring Peak

Interesting Facts: 

Named by So Nakagawa in 2011 after the nearby Ochre Spring / Paint Pots natural historical area in Kootenay National Park.

Trip Category: 
SC - Scrambling
Technical Difficulty Level: 
5
Endurance Level: 
Med
YDS Class: 
Hiking

Mountain Range: 
Mountain Subrange: 
Attained Summit?: 
Yes
Trip Date: 
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Summit Elevation (m): 
2,777

Saturday, June 2 2018 was looking like a mixed bag of Spring weather. Phil and I decided to play it easy and get out for an "exercise day" - hopefully one with some great views. Phil had put Ochre Spring Peak on our list a while ago already, but I'd never paid it much attention until the Matt's (Hobbs and Clay) recently posted trip reports on it, demonstrating some pretty sweet views.. Phil agreed that this was likely the best time of year to do it and since it has a very short approach and easy slopes, having snow in the ascent gully would be perfect.

 


!!Attention!! explor8ion.com is being updated and trip reports migrated to a new site while this one is still operational. The new version of this trip report can be found at https://verndewit.com/2018/06/02/ochre-spring-peak/ and contains more photos in a modern format. For more information on this move and possible future changes please click here.


 

Summit Elevation (ft): 
9,111
Elevation Gain (m): 
1350
Round Trip Time: 
6.00
Total Distance (km): 
13.50
Quick 'n Easy Rating: 
Class 1 : you fall, you're stupid
Difficulty Notes: 

An off-trail hike, barely a scramble at all. Some steep scree / dinner plate near the summit ridge.

Stanley Glacier (Plus)

Interesting Facts: 

Another well-used trail in the Rocky Mountains - an early morning start is best. This hike encompasses a myriad of nature's work: remnants of a forest fire, a hanging valley, high peaks (Stanley Peak, Storm Mtn., Mt. Whymper and Boom Mtn.) and the receding Stanley Glacier.

(from banff.com)

Attained Summit?: 
No
Trip Date: 
Saturday, June 29, 2013

On Saturday, June 29 2013 I hiked the Stanley Glacier trail in Kootenay National Park with my family. It was a rather warm day when we started from the parking lot - we were joined by Anton Baser and his family which made for a very enjoyable day.

The trail is very well maintained and slowly switchbacks up through the burn area beneath Storm / Stanley mountains. Because of the burn, there are TONS of berries in this section - I've never seen so many blueberry bushes! This must be heaven for Grizzlies in the fall. Along with blueberries there were bunchberries, hawthorns and many other types of flowers alongside the trail. I was kept quite busy photographing them and was glad for a slightly cloudy sky. (Flower shots work much better in gray conditions than bright and sunny.)


[Crossing the stream at the trail head]


[The hiking trail has views almost immediately - this is looking back at highway 93 towards Boom Mountain.]


[This is a hot trail on a sunny, summer day! The Stanley cliff face looms over Hanneke.]

 
[Taking a break after another stream crossing]


[Alpine Heather]


[There was so many blueberry bushes it was crazy! Bears will be all over this area in the fall!]

As we worked into the valley leading to the Stanley Glacier, Anton pointed out some of the ice climbs in the area which were tumbling threads of waterfalls in early summer. He'd climbed one of the hardest of them (Nemesis) and had a good story about leaving the rope behind due to rapidly fading light at the end of their rapels! Ice climbs along the impressive wall include Acid Howel, Suffer Machine and French Reality and apparently when Nemesis was first climbed in 1974 it was the hardest ice climb on the planet. At WI 6, it's still among the tough ones! (Info from rockies-ice.com)


[Nemesis isn't ice today!]


[Telephoto of the interesting cliffs that produce so many world-class ice climbs. It looks like there might be a system of vertical caves or chutes behind the rock wall here.]


[Looking back at the approach with Mount Whymper rising behind - I did that one solo in 2009 and loved it.]

We stopped for lunch just before the official trail ended, at an open rocky area. At this point Anton and the family turned around and we continued on up the trail. I had heard from a climbing friend that the bivy area for the Stanley Glacier climbing route was sublime and I really wanted to reach it if possible to check it out for myself. We could see an obvious trail heading up to the back of the valley where another headwall capped with trees rose up. We could also see a line of about 10 people heading up the trail so we followed them.


[Looking ahead to the upper headwall]


[Despite the dire warning of the "trail ending", there is a great trail all the way up the valley thanks to curious hikers and also climbers who go in to climb the classic snow couloirs on Stanley's north face.]


[It's really worth going the extra kilometer or two - the views are awesome!]

The trail up above the final headwall is totally worth the extra effort IMHO. It's well used and while loose, not terribly so. We managed to gain the upper headwall and I could see why this area is known as a great bivy site! I could also see how the lower Stanley Glacier could be accessed from the upper bowl on climber's right. We enjoyed the views and had lunch before treking back to the car. I highly recommend the Stanley Glacier hike - it was fairly dry even in early season with great views and lots of on-trail company. If you want to be alone on this hike go early.


[Looking at the toe of the Stanley Glacier]


[Lots of waterfalls]


[Looking west along the wall that provides some world-class ice climbs in the winter.]


[Heading back down, a glance back at the glacier]


[Indian Paintbrush]


[Dwarf Dogwood]

Elevation Gain (m): 
600
Total Distance (km): 
10.00