Wastach Pass to Sentinel Pass

Tuzo with low cloud ending at upper elevation

Tuzo with low cloud ending at upper elevation

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.

Approaching Eiffel Lake with Wenkchemna & Hungabee top right

Approaching Eiffel Lake with Wenkchemna & Hungabee top right

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.

Eiffel Lake & Wenkchemna Pass

Eiffel Lake & Wenkchemna Pass

The first view of Eiffel Lake. Not too far to the Wastach Pass turn.

Deltaform & Eiffel Lake

Deltaform & Eiffel Lake

One more view before the pass.

Wastach Pass

Wastach Pass

The picture makes this look like a walk in the park, but the next one shows that this is not true.

Scrambling up Wastach Pass

Scrambling up Wastach Pass

Lots of loose rock up the main gully and not much better going up on the right.

Looking to the top col Wastach Pass

Looking to the top col Wastach Pass

At the top of the gully the going gets a lot better. Lots of large boulders to rock hop over.

Top of Wastach Pass looking into Paradise Valley

Top of Wastach Pass looking into Paradise Valley

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.

Horseshoe Tarns

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.

Looking back at Hungabee

Looking back at Hungabee

At the bottom of the moraine the tarns empty out into Horseshoe Meadows.  Find the bridge which leads to the Sentinel Pass trail.

Bushwhacking down into Horseshoe Meadows

Bushwhacking down into Horseshoe Meadows

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.

Grand view of the Valley from the Meadows

Grand view of the Valley from the Meadows

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.

Closer to Sentinel Pass Col

Closer to Sentinel Pass Col

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.

The Sentinels of Sentinel Pass

The Sentinels of Sentinel Pass

Looking onto Larch Valley & Minestimma Lake

Looking onto Larch Valley & Minestimma Lake

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

WastachPass

Wastachpass Profile

 

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

GPS Download

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