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.
The first sight of our final destination is now in view.
Just before Helen Lake is a nice little outlet stream that has to be crossed.
Next up is the lake which is not as big as anticipated.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.