Sunday, 7 August 2011

Wandering on glaciers -- with pikas!

My guests this week really wanted to see (and maybe walk on) a glacier. There is no easier glacier to access than the Old Goat Glacier, who's trail head is just 30 min from my front door. The Columbia Ice Fields with the bus tours are several hours away. The Robertson and Haig Glaciers are big but hard to get to. Old Goat isn't big but it's close.

We have been up in this area several times. I have posted before here and here about how nice and easy the start of this trail is. Today we started early enough to get up to the glacier and wander around it.

The falls, as always, were great.
Lots of water
At least one of my guests was eyeing the cave greedily.
No accessible by any means I know
But the basin was beautiful today.
Looking down the access moraine. Snow field=easy way down 
Looking up from our lunch spot
From lunch, we headed up to the glacier. There's two ways to get there, easily viewed in the above photo:

  1. Stay left. Stay left all the way up the creekbed top the level of the toe then cut right across scree to the glacier's toe.
  2. Stay left to the confluence of the creek and the snow. Cross the creek on ice bridges then climb straight up to the toe.
Some of our party went up #1 and down #2. The others stayed on #2 for the up and down. There's no trails, but aside from the creek crossing, the stone (and even the mud, hard and stable) was good to walk on.
From up above the glacier's toe 
Making it up the ice
Crossing the ice bridges on the way down
The glacier has red algae growing on it, so looks pink from a distance. It's melting, so we were entertained by rockfall all day. The water falling off it removes the rocks and exposes the ice.
Extraordinary ice channels
Glissanding down the glacier and snow fields (or sliding on your stomache on an improvised snow sled, as one of my guests did) gets you down quickly and is fun.
At the start of the big descent down.
One of the many reasons I like this hike is the plethora of pikas and marmots.
My cuties 
This guy came within 5'
Fat dude on a rock
Fatter dude on another rock
I think my guests enjoyed this hike.
The Riddells at the falls

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