Watchtower Basin Jasper National Park Sept 11-13, 2016
A group of Assistant Hiking Guide Candidates with the Canadian Ski and Mountain Guide Program spent 9 days hiking in Jasper National Park, mostly in the Maligne Lake Corridor.
Here are some observations that we noted.
In general there seem to be less new snow in this end of the park, and conditions greatly improved with good weather after September 10th.
Of note, it seems that several alpine tarns and lakes in the area were either at low levels or had dried up. This seemed unexpected after a relatively damp summer.
A 3 day backpacking trip in the Watchtower basin was undertaken with groups camping in the alpine in the upper valley at 2200m and crossing to the north and then west into a small unnamed valley for the second night.
A small summit north of Watchtower (439538) was ascended then easily descended via the north ridge.
This sub peak has steep contours on the map, however the terrain did not reflect what is shown on the map and it is easy travel.
One group also climbed a small summit (445545) NE of the pass.
We camped above treeline on a rocky bench below a small tarn. The water levels in this drainage were also below normal flow values and water was present, but not always obvious.
Temperatures reached freezing values overnight on the 11th and 12th.
There were no recent signs of bear activity.
A spectacular area especially with the fine conditions during the last 2 days of the trip.
Peter Amann MG
Steve Ludwig SG, HG=