Hamilton Spur is by far our most ambitious snowshoe trip. We climbed higher than ever entirely on snowshoes.
Starting from Emerald Lake in Yoho Park, we 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, the descent was fast and enjoyable.
Unfortunately, most of the trip was spent in the trees
The trees began to thin
Once out of the trees, it became much more interesting
We headed for the high point on the ridge above us. Mount Carnarvon is on the far right.
Too bad the clouds obscured some of the views
Almost at the high point
We turned back at this point
Heading back down
Mount Carnarvon, an unnamed peak and Emerald Peak
82 N/9 Hector Lake