Moose River Rout
This trip report covers eight days of ski touring on theMoose River Route in Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia. The summertrail is approximately 82 kilometres long and the route is usually done in fourto five days. Below are my daily logs and I have tried to be as true aspossible to the events as I wrote them original in my journal, only addingaddition technical and location data where needed. The numbers beside thelocation [i.e. Moose River Trail (7820768344)] are the grid references of ourcamps along the route.
A tremendous shout out to Alan, who did this trip with me.Without the effort he put in on day three, this would not have been a successand where is the ACMG examiner when you need them. And of course, many thanksto the park staff of Mount Robson Provincial Park for having my back and givingthe world a place of exceptional beauty and wonder.
In the end we were victorious but it was a Pyrrhic victory,a lot of suffering for a few kilometres. I would accept nothing less from MountRobson Provincial Park.
Moose River Trail(7820768344) – 1 Apr 2014 (2105)
Made camp at the side of the Moose River after a long day(0345-2100). Kamloops to the Moose!
Heard two large slides and plenty of smaller ones coming ofMcNaughton and George Graham. First time pulling a sled in the backcountry,hard and heavy work. Thank God for Alan!
Original plan was to complete the trail in four days withthree rest days, now we will be lucky to complete it at all. The high avalanchehazard may make Moose Pass impassible. Tomorrow the plan is to push on to TrioMountain.
The weather has been great and hopefully she holds.
Moose River Trail(7468473547) – 2 Apr 2014 (2104)
Made it further up the Moose today and currently campedbeside Resplendent Creek [actually still beside the Moose River]. Woke up latetoday and only got going at 1300, need to do a better job tomorrow. Overall wemade it much further today in kilometers covered. The terrain is finallystarting to give us a break.
The weather was a lot more Robsony today with all thepoorest weather options [I used a different adjective in my notes] possible. Noobserved avalanches. The snow has been deep and faceted and the river is frozenin most places. Will try to make it past Trio tomorrow, this will be the testif we can make it.
When you can actually see through the trees the beauty inbreathtaking.
Moose River Trail(753849) – 3 Apr 2014 (2107)
Another day on the Moose River Route, biggest day yet. Camefrom off the map sheet and now we are camped below and across the river fromTrio (E face). We followed the river for the most part, had to go around a waterfallon the lower Moose. Alan has been the Hero so far pulling the sled all day. Ipunched through the snow and got a ski wet in the river.
The weather was overcast all day with minimal precipitation.Lots of moose signs above the lower burn especially around Trio. No observedavalanches today but there was a resent slide off of the Colonel.
Tomorrow will be as close to Slide Lakes as we can get.
Moose River Route(7109893207) – 4 April 2014 (2056)
Just about to go to sleep across from Steppe Creek,absolutely beautiful night (good West facing valley). No avalanches observedtoday but signs of resent activity in the last week.
The Moose Valley is starting to narrow considerably butnothing compared to tomorrow. The trail alternates between flats and steps,pulling the sled uphill sucks. The scenery back here is breathtaking, must comeback to Steppe and Trio in the summer. Tomorrow will be huge and rest isneeded.
May the Lord guide us true that we may come out themountains better men.
Moose River Rout(68509648) – 5 April 2014 (2009)
We have made it up the Slide Lakes or just marginally beforein a thick group of trees. Longest, hardest day yet, it was very difficultdragging a sled up the hill before the pass.
Weather was overcast all day and it just started to snowmoderately. Alan said the forecast for Valemount was 10 cm of snow so hopefullywe don’t see that.
The snowpack is much deeper up here and I am definitelyfeeling like we are in the alpine. No avalanche activity observed today. If thesnow lets up and the conditions hold it will be up and over Moose Pass tomorrowto the Robson side (well Jasper but Berg Lake eventually). Only 2 Days behind schedule.
Vincit qui se vincit.
Moose River Route(Jasper) (585977) – 6 April 2014
We made it through the Pass!
10cm of snow fell during the night and the winds coming throughfrom the North West were gale force and visibility was near whiteout. We werebusting through cornices that had formed at ground level over ledges and rockswith a sled full of gear. Very exposed and very exhausting.
The weather was the worst of the entire week going throughMoose Pass for those two hours, beautiful though once down into Calumet. Madegood time all day until trail begins to contour towards Robson Pass, it wasincredibility difficult side hilling the sled and a detour to the Calumet Creekcanyon didn’t help. Didn’t reach Hargreaves but camped at the Smokey.
1 observed avalanche off of North East face of Titkana. 1avalanche of note, though unobserved, was a 3+ that pulled off of the ridge thatruns East from Mumm Peak. Absolutely tremendous (at least 500m crown).
God willing tomorrow will be the Berg Lake trailhead and anend to this adventure.
Moose RiverRoute(Whitehorn) – 7 April 2014 (2055)
Day 7 on the Moose River Route, 16th time to BergLake. Made it from Jasper to Hargreaves by 1217, minimal route finding but hadto do some hard bushwhacking to get to Adolphus. We spent a good 3 hoursgetting organized and ditching the sled. (I will come back to pick up it up ina couple weeks, when I return to work for the Park.)
Same time temps began to rocket, it must have been 10◦C atHargreaves. Berg Lake was still frozen solid but the snowpack became superdestabilized. Ice fall of the Berg Glacier, big avalanche off Whitehorn abovetrail, Sluffs off of the West Face of Robson, and evidence of lots of recentwet avalanches. Alan triggered a smallslab on Emperor Hill.
Left Hargreaves for the parking lot at 1500, but we willheld up by an ‘incident.’ We came across an area of ‘flooded snow,’ near WindyPoint (where the Robson River bends towards Emperor Hill). In the summer thesoil in the area is also saturated with water, but never lots of standing waterand it is by no means a swamp. The surface was totally dry facets but there wasthree feet of water underneath, covering an area we were unable to determine. Alanhad skied across an area of snow not near a river but had remarked that thesnow looked saturated and his tracks had wet prints in the bottom. When Ireached the point I tried to skin beside his tracks rather than in them to stopmy skins from getting wet.
Then I was up to my knees in fridge water with both skissubmerged and a 60lbs pack on. I had some choice vocabulary. Alan spun aroundand saw the seriousness of the incident and quickly came to help. And quicklysank to his knees. At this point I had removed one ski and was trying to feelout the ground with my boot. Everywhere I stepped the water was equally deep.
Alan was shouting for me to pass him my skis, he had removedhis own skis and pack was throwing them as far as he could towards ‘solid’ground. Meanwhile, I am floundering like a dying fish in this freezingquicksand of water and snow trying to find some solid ground to stand. WithAlan’s help I was able to get back on my skis on top of the soup. We got thehell out of there, wet and suddenly extremely tired from the use of so muchenergy after 7 days of skiing.
When I descended Emperor Hill it was as if I had never skiedbefore, which wasn’t too much of a problem because the high temperatures meantthat some sections were free of snow and I just walked. The snow in theWhitehorn Valley was a mess of unconsolidated corn snow and a total nightmareto skin through.
After those adventures we decided to stop for the night atWhitehorn. Tomorrow, God willing, the quest will be completed.
Kamloops – 9 April2014 (0922)
Lots of slides yesterday coming off of basically all aspectsand faces. Especially, off of the steep faces of Cinnamon which overlook KinneyLake. There was a huge slide (several weeks old) at the 5.5km mark on the BergLake Trail, it broke mature trees and blasted into the lake ice. NeitherWhitehorn or the 1km Slidepath have had their seasonal climax.