Cirque Peak via Helen Lake

Cirque Peak looking from the summit

Cirque Peak looking from the summit

Wednesday July 31st

I have wanted to get into this area for a long time and knew I needed good weather to see it at it’s best.I was rewarded with clear blue skies and low  20 C temperatures. In other words a perfect day.

The trail starts from the Helen Lake Parking Lot on Hwy # 93. 33 km from the TransCanada Hwy # 1 opposite the Crowfoot Glacier pull off. Helen lake is 6 km from the trail head with the first 45 min mostly in the trees with glimpses of the Crowfoot.The trail winds up on a wide track. Within the hour you are walking with alpine flowers on either side of the path.

Alpine flowers

Alpine flowers

Alpine Flowers

Alpine Flowers

The first sight of our final destination is now in view.

Cirque Peak dead ahead

Cirque Peak dead ahead

Just before Helen Lake is a nice little outlet stream that has to be crossed.

Helen Lake outlet stream

Helen Lake outlet stream

Next up is the lake which is not as big as anticipated.

Helen Lake

Helen Lake

Go to the right of the lake and follow the path to the plateau above the lake.This is the route to  Katherine Lake as well as Cirque Peak.

Closer view of Cirque peak from Helen lake

Closer view of Cirque peak from Helen lake

Kanes book shows the route up through the red shale, but his picture has no cornice .We went up to the left just out of picture.Then came down through the rock on left of picture.

Climbing up fom the lake

Climbing up fom the lake

The best route up the spine of the peak is to take it on head first. That is head up towards the rock face and follow the worn route through. The ridge is now before you and the going is really easy until the last couple of hundred meters when it becomes a lot steeper so save some energy for the final push. It took about 45 min to 1 hr from the col above Helen Lake to the summit.

From the summit Katherine Lake with hte Dolomites behind

From the summit Katherine Lake with the Dolomites behind

Bow Glacier,Bow Falls & Bow Lake

Bow Glacier,Bow Falls & Lower summit with hikers admiring the view

There are two summits and the one to the right is marginally higher. Mt Assiniboine was clearly visible 70 km in the distance. The Wapta Icefields to the west. The views were amazing and I took many pictures which follow below.

The descent is the same way but instead of going back through the rock face we diverted to our left until the cornice had finished and scrambled down to the small tarn above Helen Lake.

Cornice above and a rocky soft drop to the tarn below

Cornice above and a rocky soft drop to the tarn below

To finish the hike with another twist we decided to go up the ridge above Katherine Lake and then drop down into the meadow and come back out at the outlet stream.

Meadow with the Dolomite Mountain in the background

Meadow with the Dolomite Mountain in the background

Total Elevation Gain to summit 1030 m for the day 1120 m. Distance 17.5 km Total Time 6 hr 45 min. 5 Hr moving at 3.5 km per hr. Max elevation 2987 m.

Google Earth- KML

GPS Download

Your Name:

Your Email Address:

Your Message:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply