Banff Nat´l Park Additions and Corrections

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jimboa - Aug 29, 2013 7:06 am - Hasn't voted

Caldron Peak

Caldron Peak sits just southwest of the Icefields Parkway approximately 30 minutes northwest of the Lake Louise turnoff. While I can not comment on the final ridge scramble to the summit, I thought I would at least add the peak and provide my experience on the approach. This is also documented in the book, "Don't Waste your Time in the Canadian Rockies." The main challenge of the route is creek crossings which are at least knee high. I would recommend good water shoes which will save a lot of hassle throughout the trip. Trekking poles were very helpful too.

The trailhead is at the Peyto Lake overlook. Follow the paved trail to the look out where you be able to see most of the route. If you then turn your back to the lake, turn right up a different paved path, and you will quickly come to the trail which drops to Peyto Lake. Upon reaching the lake, you will likely quickly encounter areas where it becomes challenging to stay on dry ground as you enter the inflow gravel plain of Peyto Lake. It's worth changing shoes here, even though you have another 1-2 km before you reach the main creek crossings.

There are several cairns that help guide you across the open gravel bed, but essentially, aim for the tree covered slope that comes down from the left as you proceed upstream. A trail begins again once you reach the trees, and will take you to the point where you re-enter the stream bed and prepare for crossing the several braids of Peyto Creek. Of course, these channels change, so just search out the place where there are several braids that appear safe to cross. The current is swift and the depth can be deceiving, so be careful.

Upon reaching the other side of Peyto Creek, one can stay at the creek's edge until reaching a cliffy area at Caldron Creek, or begin a gradual traversing climb. I found the former to be better and if you keep your eyes out for it, will take you to a crude log bridge over Caldron Creek. It is relatively low to Peyto Creek, and it's easy to get too high and miss the bridge (and the subsequent trail) all together. Once across Caldron Creek, it's a fairly straight forward ascent up a moraine heading generally south, before the route gradually curves right above cliffs. Once you top the moraine, make sure to take a short side trip to the left to get the awesome view of the Peyto Glacier. The way is fairly easy to discern above the cliffs and takes you to the one other sketchy portion of the approach. This is a very narrow boot path on a steep traverse across a scree slope directly above a cliff: definitely a no fall area. Obviously, an ice axe is a must if snow is present. The boot path continues through talus and high meadow to Caldron Lake which is a fantastic destination in itself.

I'll leave the continuing route description to someone else.

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