Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fryatt Valley Backpacking

I crawled into bed around 1:30 am on Thursday evening. I was just getting home from a great climbing session at Lost Boys in the Jasper area. After onsighting the 5.10b, and taking numerous falls on another 5.10+, a few friends and I went out for a beer in Jasper. After all, it was the eve of my birthday! This late night put Jo and I on a bit of a late start for our 3 day trip up the Fryatt Valley. After grocery shopping, snagging our backcountry permits, and picking up the requisite fireball, Jo and I were on the trail sometime around 3:00 pm on Friday afternoon.

It's an easy 12 km along the Athabasca river to the first campsite.

With our late start, the first campground was to be our destination. Jo and I made up some pesto-cheese-pasta that was fantastic! We also had a bit of the fireball and snacked on some delicious organic dark chocolate. It was a perfect birthday!

Jolene slept so soundly that night! We both awoke in the morning full of energy. We packed up camp and headed to the headwall area and the ACC hut, about 10 km & 600 m from the lower campground. It was a beautiful day, and the going was easy.

Falls near the Brussels campground.

After the big ski traverses of spring, early summer mountaineering, and plenty of sport climbing as of late, the relaxing pace of backpacking felt great.

This trip was something of a anniversary. On our first trip to Jasper, Jo and I did this same trip, and fell in love with the Canadian Rockies. It was this same trip that inspired our move to the Jasper area.

We made our way up above the headwall. After some 4th class terrain, we began to wonder if we were still on the trail to the hut. We weren't, but we quickly found the trail again.

Sydney Vallance ACC Hut

We visited the upper lake and shot a few photos before heading back down to the headwall campground.

Originally, our plan was to attempt to link up the Fryatt & Geraldine Valleys via a remote alpine pass. However, with our late start on day 1, this was not going to happen. We were quite content to enjoy a simple backpacking trip! We awoke Sunday morning and began the 22 km march back to civilization. It was great to have another backpacking trip with Jo!

Jolene enjoys the northern icefields parkway.