Panorama Ridge was officially named in 1959 due to the view it offers high above the Consolation and Bow Valleys just east of Valley of the Ten Peaks. It is bordered by Taylor Pass and Mount Bell
to the south. Panorama Ridge is one of the Lake Louise area objectives located in Banff National Park
, one of four connecting national parks that make up the central Canadian Rockies in Alberta/British Columbia.
The only published route up Panorama Ridge is the difficult scramble, part of which is mentioned in the local scrambles guide book. However, Mr. Kane has this scramble rated as easy in his book, but this is due to him not proceeding along the ridge to Panorama's true high point. Now we know what he means by his definition of "Your on your own there." So if you intend on truly doing the ridge, this is a significant day.
Take a helmet and experience. As I thought this was going to be an easy day, I only had the latter in my possession.
The approach on the Consolation Lake Trail past the Tower of Babel
can be a popular, but restricted one depending on bear activity in the area. Check with Parks Canada in advance. The close up views of Mount Quadra and her north facing glacier as well as Bident Mountain are exceptional and thus Panorama Ridge makes an excellent scouting trip for these alpine objectives.
The Trans-Canada dissects Banff National Park east to west as you come in from Calgary. Travel to the Lake Louise exit and turn left through town and follow this road 2.5 km to the Moraine Lake Road. Turn left and proceed to the parking area at the Moraine Lake Lodge (dead end).
You will be required to purchase a national park pass as you enter the park. This pass is good for all four national parks. If you plan many visits to Canadian National Parks within one year, you should purchase an annual pass. There are no permit requirements to climb in Banff National Park, but all camping is regulated. There is also a backcountry permit required if you plan on spending a night in the backcountry versus the town campsites. This can be obtained via the parks website which is included in the camping section below. Park headquarters are located in Banff and you will drive through the manned kiosks as you enter the park.
This is active grizzly country, therefore, you should always have bear spray on your person. This approach trail is often closed or restricted to six persons in a group, therefore, I advise checking with Parks Canada
for any area and/or trail closures.
When To Climb
As with most climbs in the Canadian Rockies, the driest time is from June through September. I climbed Panorama Ridge in July and the route was free of snow. There are no published backcountry ski routes on Panorama Ridge, but skiing the ridge in certain areas appears feasible.
The closest camp site would be back in town at the Lake Louise Campground. You can go on line at Banff National Park
to pick a camp site and obtain your camping permit. You will also be required to obtain your backcountry permit which is separate, but can be obtained simultaneously if you plan on camping at a backcountry site. The Lake Louise Alpine Center Hostel
is a great place to eat and has been recently renovated, but is more expensive than your average hostel. Of course those with the big bucks can camp out at the Moraine Lake Lodge itself.
Mountain ConditionsBanff National Park’s website
has weather, wildlife reports, trail closures, etc. Outside of the parks web site, Canadian Avalanche Association
is also useful, particularly for winter travel.
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