What a day! We dragged the kids all the way to Helen Lake! Actually they did very amazing. KC must have hiked about 4km in and 1000ft of height gain and Niko went about 700ft of gain and 3km in. On the way back they only went in the carriers for part of the way. I'm very impressed. This was a warm up hike for our upcoming backpacking trip into the Ramparts this September. Hanneke and I are going with some others so she wanted to make sure that she did some hiking before the trip.
We could not have picked a nicer day. It was 25+ degrees and there weren't too many clouds around. We even spotted a grizzly on the way back but it was a LONG ways off. The kids couldn't even pick it out. It was closer to the trail but must have wandered away before we got closer. The kids were disappointed but Hann and I were a bit relieved! There was a lot of people on the trail so we didn't feel threatened at all.
[Niko bounding up the trail, trying to catch his mom and sister. Let's see how long this lasts.]
[Niko is now on Hanneke's back! That's the easy way! Dolomite Peak is in the background across the Icefields Parkway.]
[This is the upper meadow when you're still about 2km from the mountain, about 1.5 from Helen Lake.]
[The upper meadow as you get even closer to Helen Lake, Cirque in the background. This is where you could spot a grizzly.]
[Helen Lake with Cirque Peak in the background. This is where Hann and the kids waited while I bagged the peak.]
While Hanneke and the kids took a breather at Helen Lake I continued on to bag Cirque Peak. It took me about 1:40 to go up and down so I was pushing it pretty good. (Especially after biking 160+ km for the past two weeks in a row...) The ascent was very easy with some scrambling right at the very top. There is some loose stuff but no real exposure if you pick your line to the summit correctly.
[The route to the top is obvious from on top of the pass, which is gained above Helen Lake.]
[Helen Lake and the trail are quite far beneath me as I gain the summit of Cirque Peak. Bow Peak across hwy #93 and the Lake Louise peaks in the far distance. Mount Balfour rises on the extreme right in the distance.]
[A look back at the first summit from the true summit. This was the only real scrambling part. Iceberg Lake and Bow Falls in the distant center with Olive, St. Nicholas, The Onion, Des Poilus, Collie, Portal, Thompson and Baker from L to R in the background as part of the Wapta Icefields.]
[Dolomite Peak with Little and Mount Hector in the background from the summit of Cirque Peak.]
[Vern on the summit of Cirque Peak.]
[A panorama of the Wapta Icefields across hwy #93 looking south and west from the summit. ++]
[A panorama looking north to south from the summit includes (L to R), Isabella Lake, Recondite, Kentigern, Willingdon, Crown, Tower, Watermelon, Bobac, Dolomite, Lake Alice, Lake Katherine, Lake Helen, Bow Peak and part of Bow Lake. Wapta peaks on the right including Balfour, the highest peak on the Wapta. ++]
[Daddy's back!!! I get a greeting on my way back around Helen Lake.]
[Hanneke seems to be doing all the heavy lifting while I take pictures? ;-)]
[Hanneke and KC stop to admire the view and smell the flowers on the way back down.]
A highly recommended hike / scramble for any clear day - the views are fabulous!