July 29 to August 8, 2018

Status Open
Cost $2700.00 (per person, double occupancy)
Travel Dates July 29 to August 8, 2018
Description I have lived for many years in Western Canada and have hiked many of the trails that you will find in guide books.  However, I intend to take you to some hidden gems, which I have found over the years.  I have not only hiked these mountains, but over the years have climbed many of them and have done a few ski ascents. I will be your leader for this trip, and will not only ensure you reach our team and personal objectives, but can describe some of the history of this incredible area.

We will be using a helicopter to access Talus Lodge, which in itself is a thrill that everyone must experience at least once in their life.  At Talus Lodge, we are based not only at the Continental Divide, but above tree line and from the lodge itself we will have an incredible view of Mount Assiniboine, the Canadian Matterhorn.  We will be hiking across alpine meadows that will be full of flowers, and in that we are the only people in this area, there is great potential to see wildlife.

The second stage of this trip is day hikes around Lake Louise.  I will be taking you off the beaten path so that you have a unique view of this area, and so we find some solitude. This is where mountaineering truly began in North America, and I have many a tale to share.

At Talus Lodge, all of our meals will be prepared for us, while at Lake Louise we will either go out for our meals or can prepare them ourselves in the HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre.  We will be in comfortable beds (twin beds in each room at Talus, twin or double at HI Lake Louise) each evening, and hot showers are available each day (though with a bit of a twist at Talus), as well as a sauna at Talus Lodge.  At Talus Lodge the washroom facilities are in a building attached to the main building via an elevated walkway.  Want to see more about Talus Lodge go to http://www.taluslodge.com.

We will as mentioned be accessing Talus Lodge by helicopter and for the rest of the time the Leader (myself) will be driving you around in a 15-passenger van.  This allows us a lot of leeway if we need to change up our plans due to weather, or the consensus of the team.

This is a moderate to strenuous trip, where at times we will be climbing or descending steep slopes, sometimes on scree, loose rocks, and wet grass.  Being the mountains there are always risks especially from inclement weather, wildlife, in particular bears (we will have bear spray and bangers), and in that we are at numerous times off trail there will be natural tripping, and slipping hazards.  There really is only a minimum of exposure, if you follow the trail that I will find for you.

There is no question that the more fit you are the more fun you and others will have.  I am very experienced in the mountain environment, and usually spend a few weeks climbing, hiking and skiing in the Canadian Rockies and mountains further west each year. This is not a trip to just bag a peak, and get exercise, but to get truly immersed in the Canadian Rockies.

You will need to get to Calgary International Airport and of course will require a passport if coming from the US.

Included Ten nights of lodging, all meals while at Talus Lodge, transportation to and from the airport and to all trailheads, helicopter trip to and from Talus Lodge, and the Banff and Yoho National Park Entrance Fees.
Not Included Airfare to the meeting place, and all other meals while not at Talus Lodge.  Trip insurance is not included in the trip price and is very strongly recommended.
Payment Policy A Deposit of $ 600 (US) is due with the Application forms to register for the trip.

Must have at least 7 registered by August 1, 2017 for the trip to go

The Balance of $2000 (US) is due no later than February 1, 2018.

Cancellation Policy
  • If registrant cancels prior to February 1, 2018 all payments received by ADK minus $100.00 will be refunded.
  • After February 1, 2018 refund, will only be made if the vacancy can be filled from a waiting list maintained by the leader, if any, and then all but $100.00 will be refunded.
  • Note that there is a $100 registration fee included in the trip deposit which is not refundable if you have to cancel for any reason whatsoever.
  • If the leader decides that this trip is not for you, or the trip is canceled by ADK, all payments received by ADK will be refunded.
Accommodations and Meals
Trip Insurance It is very strongly recommended that all participants have trip or travel insurance that will cover trip cancellation by the participant, travel delays, medical expenses and medical evacuation. ADK does not provide this insurance and does not cover medical expenses or evacuation in the event you are injured or become ill during the trip. Note that if you have to cancel after the date indicated above, and cannot be replaced from the leader’s waiting list, if any, you could be out the entire amount you paid for the trip.
Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Sunday, July 29, 2018

We will rendezvous at the Calgary Airport at around 2 PM. After gathering everyone at the designated place, across from Starbucks on the Departure Level, we will drive the 1 1/2 hour 122 KM (70 mi) scenic route from Calgary to the Coast Hotel in Canmore, in a 15-passenger van (Transportation to and from the airport is included).  We will have an orientation meeting at 6:00 PM in the hotel. Following the meeting we will have dinner together. Dinner not included.

Day 2: Monday, July 30, 2018

Helicopter flight from Canmore Heliport or Shark Mountain Heliport to Talus Lodge (2350m – 7600’).

We will leave the hotel at 7:45 AM to be at the heliport by 8:00 for our Check In, Signing of Waivers and Safety Talk.  6 of our team will fly directly from the Heliport to Talus Lodge at around 9:00 am, while the rest of us will drive 60 km (45 minutes) into Kananaskis Country to the Shark Mountain Heliport for a 9:30 am, approximately departure.  The Helicopter ride is about 20 minutes for those flying out of Canmore and 10 minutes for those flying out of Shark Mountain (on the return we will switch up where you fly to). Talus Lodge is to the left of the middle tarn

After we arrive at Talus, with the specific time being weather dependent, there will be an introduction to the Lodge by the custodian, and then lunch.  After lunch we will head out for an exploratory and familiarization hike in the meadows surrounding the Lodge. During this hike, I will be showing you waterfalls, pocket glaciers, alpine flowers, and many more sights.  The actual distance we hike today and elevation gain, will depend on when we actually are able to get into Talus.   It would be expected we will cover around 5 km, with 200m of elevation gain and will be out for 3 – 5 hours.  This is a moderate day. Breakfast not included.

Day 3-5: Tuesday, July 31 – Thursday, August 2, 2018

Our hikes for the next three days will be dictated by weather, and the interests of the team.  Talus Lodge is based at tree line, so all of our hikes will be across high alpine meadows, with alpine flowers underneath, and various areas for us to explore.  We will typically leave the Lodge each day, with our lunch by 9:00 am, and return around 4 pm.  The distance we travel will be dependent on our objectives for the day, but distances will not be more then 15 km (9 mi) and an elevation gain of 600m (1800’).  It is not as much the objective, but the journey while we are at Talus Lodge.  All meals included.

Talus Lodge is located in the outstanding Canadian Rockies, nestled in a spectacular alpine setting located on a limestone plateau between the upper reaches of the Cross and Albert Rivers and four kilometers south from Banff National Park’s boundary. The area is a true wilderness where a combination of streams, lakes, topography and elevation offer the opportunity to experience nature and view wildlife from a very comfortable home base. The lodge is a new building designed to offer comfort and luxury, balanced with a keen desire to maintain and protect the delicate ecological values within our area of operation and adjacent territories.

Day 6: Friday, August 3, 2018

Helicopter flight back to Canmore or Mount Shark, and then we will travel on the TransCanada Highway to Lake Louise, to book into the HI Lake Louise Alpine Center.  The first flight to Mount Shark will leave around 9:30 am and the second flight to Canmore around 10:00 am.

This will be a travel day, a day to get any needed supplies, wash clothes and as time permits to do some sight-seeing.  In particular, I would like to drive up to Lake Moraine later in the day, when most of the tourists have left the area.  If people wish, we could also drop into the Banff town site.  Lunch and Dinner not included.

Day 7: Saturday, August 4, 2018

HIKE IN THE LAKE LOUISE AREA, INCLUDING CLIMBING MOUNT ST. PIRAN. 8:30 am departure.  This is a strenuous hike.

Lake Louise can be a very popular place, especially in July.  We will be starting this hike from the Lake Louise Parking Lot and we will need to first make our way through the hordes of tourists from around the world taking iconic pictures of the Lake, with Mount Victoria in the background.  For the first 3.4 km (2.1 mi – 385 m or 1260 ‘elevation gain) we will be on the trail to Lake Agnes and from there up to the Little Beehive another 1.0 km (0.6 mi – 135m or 440’ elevation gain).

At this point we will be leaving the main trail, and most likely most of the tourists, and we will be starting up a steep abandoned switchback trail up Mt St. Piran.  The trail does get steeper and rockier near the summit, and will be exposed to the weather, but the views from the top are outstanding and well worth the effort.  Overall, from the parking lot to the summit (2790m or 9150’) it will be 6.6 km (4.1 mi) and an elevation gain of 1055m (3470’).  This will take us approximately 2 ½ hours and it is a great spot for lunch.

We will return down the same trail all the way to the Lake Agnes Tea House.  At this point we will go around the lake and climb up to the Big Beehive which is 1.6 km (1 m) from the teahouse with an additional 165 m (540’) of elevation gain.  Our descent from Mt St. Piran will probably take us an hour, and we will need another 45 minutes to climb the Big Beehive.

Enough of the uphill now we head back to Lake Louise via the Highline trail, which will eventually drop us to Lake Louise.  We will hike along the Lake to the parking lot.  All meals not included.

Day 8: Sunday, August 5, 2018

HIKE IN PARADISE VALLEY TO LAKE ANNETTE AND THEN TO THE SUMMIT OF LITTLE TEMPLE.  Total distance is 10.3 km (6 mi), an elevation gain of 937m (3000 ‘), our high point will be 2655m and it will take us about 6 hours.  This will be a loop hike, and would be considered strenuous.

Again, my intent is to take you where others do not go, allowing you to see the majestic Rockies without jostling with the crowds.  This will provide you an opportunity to see more wildlife as well.

We will start at the Paradise Parking Lot and will climb on the main trail to Lake Annette.  At this point we go off trail and will be on a lot of boulders, and some scree as we traverse right below Mt Temple, the highest peak in Banff National Park.  We will have a bit of a grunt getting up to the high Alpine Meadows which will we walk through until we get to the start of the final ascent to Little Temple.

As we are going up and coming down the same approach some people may decide to wait for us in the meadow, while the others ascend the peak.  This is technically referred to as a scramble, but there is trail to the top but being a mountain peak there may be some loose rocks, but there is no real exposure.

We will return to the meadows and then exit via a steep grassed slope to Little Temple Lake, and from there to a trail connecting Lake Louise to Lake Moraine.  We will take this trail back to our vehicle.  By the way last year and I did this hike we came across Mt Goats and a Grizzly Bear (from a safe distance).  All meals not included.

Day 9: Monday, August 6, 2018

7:30am departure.  Though we have set objectives for the day, the weather and the interests of the team will determine how many we are able to fulfill. This is a moderate hike.

Today we visit the jewel of the Canadian Rockies, a place which I have always said “if you have but one day in the Rockies, this is where you need to go”.  Access to this area is strictly controlled as only 90 people a day are able to go up via the buses that take the 11.2 km fire road to Lake O’Hara.  We will be on the 8:30 bus, with our return being at 4 PM.

Once off the bus we will be taking the Wiwaxy – Oesa Alpine Route to first Wiwaxy Gap and then Lake Oesa.  This is the steepest trail in the area, but then for the rest of the day we will be doing a lot of contouring around the various mountains in the Lake O’Hara basin.

Up to WiWaxy Gap is 2.4 km (1.5 m) with an elevation gain of 500m (1650’).  From Wiwaxy Gap (2540 m (8325’) we will descend to Lake Oesa via ledges, with incredible views of Lake O’Hara and the mountains in the area (1.8 km or 1.1 m, descent of 260 m, ….’).  Oesa means ice, an apt name for a lake that is icebound for most of the year.  Behind Lake Oesa looms Mount Lefroy and Glacier Peak, as well as Mount Victoria.

From Lake Oesa we will take the Yukness Ledges to the Opabin Plateau.  This is 2.4 km (1.5 m), but with only a 60 m (200’) elevation gain.  We will hike out to the Opabin Prospect, and at this point we will need to determine what else we can do, with the understanding that we cannot miss our 4 pm bus.  I suspect we will head back to the bus stop via Mary Lake, but could make a diversion to the Alpine Club of Canada’s Elizabeth Parker Hut.  From the Opabin Plateau back to the bus, via Mary Lake will be 3.6 km (2.3 mi).

Note:  I will need to get reservations for Lake O’Hara by April 20th of 2018.  If I’m unable to get reservations I will need to propose a different day hike to the team.

All meals not included

Day 10: Tuesday, August 7, 2018

This is a 21.3 km (13.2mi) loop with 690m (2265’) of elevation gain, and will take 7 – 9 hours.  A strenuous hike.  This will be a 7:00 am departure.

This is the last day of our trip and the intent is to take you to an area that has the heaviest concentration of high-impact scenery.  We will start at the base of Takakkaw Falls which is over 380 m (1246’) high.  From the trail, we will have incredible views of Daly and Yoho Glacier, and will hike below the ramparts and cirque glaciers of the Vice President Mountain.  At the beginning, we are heading up never ending switchbacks, but eventually we come out above tree line, and the trail becomes less steep.

We will eventually come to our highpoint of 2100 m (7250’) and then we will descend down towards the Little Yoho Valley and the Stanley Mitchell Hut of the Alpine Club of Canada.  We will continue descending to the base of Laughing Falls and then it is relatively flat trip back to the van. 

All meals not included.

Day 11: Wednesday, August 8, 2018

We have about a two-hour drive back to Calgary International Airport, and will arrive at the airport at around 11 am.  Your flight should be scheduled after 2 PM. Transportation to airport included.  Breakfast not included.

What to Bring A detailed packing list will be provided to trip participants after they register. Please note that your maximum baggage weight for Talus will be 30 lbs per guest (we will be able to leave extra clothes and etc. in the van).  Inside frame packs, wine size boxes, or soft fabric bags are acceptable.  Not acceptable: outside frame packs, large plastic containers, suitcases or oversize items.
Registration Procedure Please carefully read the above detailed trip description and itinerary, and contact me if you have any questions. Then, if you decide to join this adventure, please contact me (email, phone or snail mail) and I will send you the registration paperwork, consisting of the Registration form, the Health and Physical Condition Questionnaire and Release of Liability form. Complete these forms and send them to me by U.S, Postal Service (or Canada Post) with the deposit (check payable to “ADK” or the Credit Card Authorization) to reserve a spot. Please note that original signatures are required on all forms. Spaces are reserved in the order that complete and acceptable registration forms and deposit payments are received, so don’t delay.
Trip Leader Bill Summers