On Saturday I went hiking with a group of friends. We drove out to Lake Louise and left a car in the parking lot that we were going to hike to from Moraine lake. The idea was that we would hike from Moraine Lake, through Larch Valley, over Sentinel pass and on to Lake Louise. But…Saturday morning, winter decided to start in Alberta. There was about 20cm of fresh snow in most places in the mountains. My room mate Rob and I really wanted to get the whole hike done, so we decided to split into 2 groups. Four of us decided to trudge on ahead to ensure we got the 23km done before nightfall. By the time we reached the top of Larch Valley, we were the first people on the fresh trail and had to blaze our own the rest of the way. Sentinel pass is a shale switchback that is fairly steep and was extremely sketchy considering I had no idea what was under the snow with each step.
The final ascent up Sentinel we were all thinking that if the weather didn’t clear up we might not be able to descend the other side. Unfortunately this turned out to be true. When we finally reached the top, we could hardly see 20m in front of us, there was no sign of a route down and the snow was getting heavier with a solid wind backing it. After a quick lunch we decided to head back down and hitchhike to our car at Lake Louise. I would like to take this moment to thank the nice couple that accepted my request for a ride. Here are some pictures from a truly awesome day.
The top of Larch Valley (notice the Larch trees) before embarking on the Sentinel ascent.
Climbing Sentinel, trying to find some sort of path