Friday August 29th 2014.
A classic hike in one of the most iconic areas of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Moraine Lake is the start and finish of the hike. Many people hike Sentinel Pass up Larch Valley and return the same way. Another option is to have a car at Paradise Parking and one at Moraine Lake and hike up Larch Valley to Sentinel Pass and drop down into Paradise Valley to return.
This hike starts and ends at Moraine Lake. We hiked up to the junction of Eiffel Lake and Larch Valley. taking the Eiffel left turn. Continue to Eiffel Lake and turn right up the Wastach Pass. This trail is not marked or maintained by Parks Canada ( see the Photo & GPS for directions ). As the photo’s show it is not an easy hike to get up to the pass. This is not for the inexperienced hiker, some scramble experience is required.
The initial grind up the first part of the trail to the Eiffel turn is tedious with a few views of Moraine Lake. Then it flattens out and the views are wonderful.
The first view of Eiffel Lake. Not too far to the Wastach Pass turn.
One more view before the pass.
The picture makes this look like a walk in the park, but the next one shows that this is not true.
Lots of loose rock up the main gully and not much better going up on the right.
At the top of the gully the going gets a lot better. Lots of large boulders to rock hop over.
The path takes you right but the snow is steep and hard so we went left. Not a lot better but we did find some nice scree for after the snow. The fast way to Sentinel Pass would be to get down heading right and stay right under Mt Eiffel. That was not our intention. We stayed right through the rubble catching a few cairns then headed left towards the moraine and what I am calling Horseshoe Tarns.
The tarns can only be seen from the top of Mt Temple and Mt Eiffel. It is well worth the extra couple of hours of hiking to visit these beauties.
At the bottom of the moraine the tarns empty out into Horseshoe Meadows. Find the bridge which leads to the Sentinel Pass trail.
A stark contrast to the barren rock we have just hiked through. We keep to the right of the meadows and it was not too soft underfoot.
The bridge is not far from this point and is on a maintained trail in Paradise Valley. Following the trail up to the right brings us to the signed fork to Sentinel Pass.
The trail trough the rocks is easy to follow until the last part when you wonder if it also went left up the main gully. We ended up on the right with another party of hikers. Then headed across left to the lowest part of the col.
Just the return leg to go. Down the snaking trail to the lake and back down Larch Valley to Moraine Lake.
Check out the hyperlink for Paradise Valley & The Gaint Steps http://wp.me/p39dPU-1JY
Distance return 18.0 km Time return 8:30 hrs ( inc 30 min lunch ) Elevation Accumulated gain 1400 m Elevation to Summit 1170m Summit height 2615 m