ilanarama: a mountain (mountain)
[personal profile] ilanarama
After a week of camping we were ready for a little luxury. Instead, we got a lot of luxury! Britt had made reservations at the four-star Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, right on the famous glacial lake. It's ridiculously expensive, but staying there, right on the lake, meant we wouldn't have to drive up the crowded access road or find parking, since we wanted to do several well-known hikes that begin at the lake.

Since even the cheapest room was pretty pricey, Britt had splashed out for "Concierge Level" service. We took the elevator straight up to check in at the 7th-floor lounge rather than waiting in line in the lobby. This lounge also had an amazing breakfast spread every morning, and a huge array of appetizers and an honor bar from 5-7pm (you could easily make a dinner out of it, which we did several nights), and our 8th-floor room had a dormer window seat looking out to the lake.


When we woke in the morning the weather was dubious, but this was our vacation and we were going to hike, damn it! We packed our rain gear and fleece and headed out to hike up to Lake Agnes, over the Big Beehive, and out to the Plain of Six Glaciers teahouse, where we would have lunch. Despite the weather there were a lot of poorly-equipped hikers in jeans and sandals, though the crowds thinned as we got higher up and farther out.

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After sandwiches and hot tea, we continued to the end of the trail where we'd get a view of Mounts Victoria and Lefroy and the Abbot Pass, or at least as good a view as we could considering the weather. We did get to see a pretty impressive avalanche while on the trail, though - heard a rumble, looked across the valley, and BOOM!

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From our farthest point the lake looked very small and far away, which was kind of amazing since from our hotel room Mount Victoria looks like it's RIGHT THERE. You don't see the river flats at the bottom of the glacier or the long gradual rock-covered section of the glacier. We hiked back along the lakeside trail, which was thick with people despite the rain.

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The next day the weather was much better. Good thing, since our object was 9003-ft Mount Fairview, the highest point in this park accessible by a trail rather than by ice axe and crampon, and we wanted the fair view! Still, with a climb of more than 3260 feet from the lake to the summit, it wasn't a trivial hike - along the lines of a Colorado fourteener with more oxygen. These trails were far less crowded than the easier ones on the other side of the lake that we'd taken yesterday (though we saw about as many people as you might expect on a Colorado fourteener!) and the other hikers were all adequately equipped.

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The trail started up through a ferny forest, but soon we broke out onto the rocks. The views were definitely more than fair - I'd call them fantastic!

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From the eastern edge of the summit we could just see a little corner of Lake Louise. We could also look east and north to the Icefields Parkway, our next destination.


We really wanted to make a big loop through the Paradise Valley to return to the hotel, but there were signs warning of grizzly bears and restricting hikers to groups of four or more close together, and we couldn't get anyone else to come with us, so we went back the way we came. We did make one side-trip to an excellent viewpoint of the lake (the things that look like waterbugs are rental canoes) and hotel:


A lot more pictures, a lot fewer words in the Flickr album

(sorry this is taking so long to post! I hope to get going on this again!)
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ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)

August 2017

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @


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