Tuesday, June 14, 2016

(The Stupid) Hike of Stanley Glacier

This past weekend's hike had been planned to go Stanley Glacier in Kootenay National Park. I had been to this most western part of British Columbia earlier, in fact last year when I hike to Floe Lake and I still have the bad memory of that: My camera broke down! I first didn't want to go but then thought would be better than staying home, especially because they had considered that a great hike and a moderate one as well. Nonsense! It is neither of them! I haven't the book Don't Waste Your Time in Canadian Rockies but I certainly believe that this trip should be added to this book! One other reason that I wanted to go with these guys was that I noticed their gathering time was 07:00, unlike most of the time that they gather at around 09:00 or 10:00 which is really stupid.
Anyways I was there at 07:00 and I realized that fortunately there was only 5 of us. So I hopped in one of the guys car and the others took a lift from the other fella. It took almost 01:45 hours to reach the trail-head which is located shortly after the Continental Divide, at the same side of Highway # 93. So we were gearing up and people, I noticed there that were putting gaiters, gloves, extra layers, holding poles, you name it! If someone had taken photographs of people when they were getting ready and would have shown it to the others later, they would have believed that this group was getting ready to summit a mountain in the Himalayas! It became clear later that you wouldn't need any of them, not even an Ice Axe that they had considered mandatory! I paid almost $82 for that shit which I don't think would ever useful!
This picture shows the trail when it comes up from the valley. In this position Highway # 93 is in front of you and the glacier in the back to the left. Back and to the left! Back and to the left. Reminds me of JFK!
As I stated earlier the only good thing about that trip was that we started early. So when we reached the parking lot, geared up and started our trip, it was almost 10:05, I assume. The first part of the trail is very easy and then after about maybe half an hour or 45 min., it becomes steep a little bit. The scenery is not bad although the only thing special after leaving the forest is the tall rock walls on your right which was not new to me. I had seen similar ones earlier. The trail is cut by a stream and that's where you see a sign indicating that the trail is not maintained after this point. Then you take a right and follow a visible and fairly easy trail. That part becomes a little steep and then you find snow patches. Here you're waking on a little ridge with a fall to your left. That's where you have to be a bit careful not to fall or you will broke your bones and perhaps die! We stopped there and a little explanation was provided to us as how to use our Ice Axe to go up the snow covered section. It was not bad but it was not a real challenge or we would not have been able to do it! A few minutes after that you reach the Stanley Glacier toe which is visible with cairns. These people wasted so much time there yapping nonsense(!) and when I was going to head down, they asked me wait and I waited! The hike to go back down is easy except for a few very steep spots. I guess we were back to the parking lot, which was full at the time, at about 14:10 or so. In a nutshell the hike to Stanley Glacier is not worth the trip for someone who's going from Calgary unless they mixed it with a nearby similar hike or stay in Banff or Lake Louise for a night or two. You need to drive for at least 04:00 freaking hours to do a hike of almost 04:00 hours! I have done stuff like this before but not for an average hike similar to this. I'm a big fan of mountains but I'm going to stay away from these ridiculous, childish hikes and focus on summits.
(Photo, top: Stanley Glacier from the ridge that you have to take to reach its toe. You basically go to that platform-like rock in the middle. It becomes dangerous and very technical to go further up)

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