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Hamilton Spur
Yoho National Park, B.C.
February 28, 2004

Distance: 11.8 km
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 1280 m

Hamilton Spur is our most ambitious snowshoe trip. We climbed higher than ever before entirely on snowshoes.

Starting from Emerald Lake in Yoho Park, Wayne, Dinah and I followed the trail to Hamilton Falls. (Next time I would park at the lodge down the road and avoid crossing Hamilton Creek.) The snow was excellent. A few inches of fresh powder over a firm pack provided good traction with little sinking.

When we reached the waterfalls – dry and unspectacular at this time of year – we started looking for a place to cross Hamilton Creek so we could reach the spur. Here the creek is set in a gorge with steep sides lined with rocks, but higher up the gorge flattened enough for us to climb down, cross the creek and gain the spur.

After trudging up the spur for two hours, we finally broke out of the trees. Small groves of trees broke up the white landscape, but beyond was a long, treeless slope. The snow was deeper, but we soon put the last of the trees behind us and reached a point where the grade eased. Here the snow was hard and windswept. We followed the broad, featureless slope to a high point. (I reached this same spot from Hamilton Lake three summers ago when I scrambled to the top of Mount Carnarvon). The ascent took four and a half hours. It was bitterly cold, and we didn't stay long. We headed back down to the trees where we had our lunch, long overdue. After lunch, we enjoyed a fast descent.

KML and GPX Tracks

Most of the trip was spent in the trees

Wayne ducks under a tree

We passed by a snow cookie

The trees began to thin

Ahead is the ridge we'll climb

Once out of the trees, it became more interesting

We headed for the high point

Looking down at the ridge we climbed

Too bad the clouds obscured some of the views. Tocher Ridge lies south.

Kicking Horse River lies far below

Almost at the high point

We turned back at this point

Heading back down

Just when we reach the treeline, we see blue sky for the first time

Mount Carnarvon, an unnamed peak and Emerald Peak

Following our tracks back in the trees

Wayne dislodges a snow cookie (mouse over)

82 N/7 Golden

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