20170826: Bow Lake play day (Icefields Parkway)

“Just so you know, this won’t be at our usual fast pace,” P. messaged.

No problem. I could use an easier day. He’d listed the trip as Crowfoot Mountain, and from what I could see, it was a long one. Turns out he had only the north peak in mind, not the true summit, which meant we were up on top in three hours. We then had ample time to enjoy the sun for the first of three picnic sessions, make the easy scramble additionally fun, pose for photos with strange rock formations, and in general meander around and play.

Bow Lake Capture topo
Blue showing established trails from Num-Ti-Jah Lodge/ Bow Lake parking area off the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93). Red showing our route roughly to the north peak.
The eight of us, starting out on the Bow Lake trail. The Onion directly in front of us.
The eight of us starting out on a chilly 3C morning that quickly warmed to mid-20s. Fall’s coming!
Looking back at Bow Lake
Looking back at Bow Lake from the top of the first scramble portion
Wapta Icefield feeding Bow Falls, the start of the Bow River that winds its way nearly 600km to the Hudson Bay.
Wapta Icefield feeding Bow Falls, the start of the Bow River that winds its way nearly 600km to the Hudson Bay.
Patrick's fancy camera, which intrigued us all.
Patrick’s fancy camera intrigued us all.
Bow Lake and the Icefield Parkway (Hwy 93). We lay in the sun here for a good half hour or more. And we weren't even at the summit!
Glimpse of Crowfoot Glacier to the right. We lay in the sun here for a good half hour or more. And we weren’t even at the summit!
Up to north peak, making this look more difficult than it really is.
Up to north peak, making this look more difficult than it really is.
Making our way across the ridge. We decided it wasn't feasible to go much farther so we descended at around here.
Making our way across the ridge. We decided it wasn’t feasible to go much farther so we descended after some exploring.
IMG_20170826_130950949_HDR
The ridge to the true summit turns into a climb a couple bands up; although it’s been done unroped by others we weren’t up to that today.
What is it with boys and glissades?!
What is it with boys and glissades?!
Looking back at the downclimb scramble. Quite straightforward.
Looking back at the downclimb scramble back to the trail. Quite straightforward.

We side-tripped to Bow Falls and in a spurt of energy, power-hiked back to the car passing people left and right. I’m sure P. would have run if he didn’t have us in tow, or the Bow Lake path so busy on this gorgeous Saturday.

“Why do we need to go so fast,” L. grumbled. She was visiting from overseas and it was her first scramble. She gestured to the glacial lake impossibly blue in the sun, the waterfall in the distance, the Wapta Icefield glaciers beyond. “Can’t we just enjoy all of this?” 🙂

The day was just what I needed to let my back recover from last week’s 88km ultramarathon run. It was just what I needed to get back with my kind of people and catch up with friends I haven’t seen in a couple years. I should do this kind of day more often.

Bow Falls headwall. See the people on the right for scale.
Getting a closer look at the falls. See the people on the right for scale.
The Bow Lake trail junction
The Bow Lake trail junction, rock bridge over the canyon.
IMG_20170826_162250993
From the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge/ Bow Lake trail, looking back at the north peak false summit.
Bow Lake Capture
Another area overview courtesy of OpenStreetMap.

 

 

 

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