Before signing up, please read all the event details carefully and familiarize yourself with the club’s difficulty ratings and safety policy. I am not a guide. Sign up only if you feel you could do this event as easily if you were to do it yourself.
The Iceline is a desolate yet dramatic route beside Emerald Glacier and the President Range, offering expansive views across Yoho Valley towards Takkakaw Falls and Daly Glacier. To reach this stark land of rock and ice entails a stiff climb from the floor of Yoho Valley, but you are rewarded along the way with expansive views over the valley - so much visual bombardment, in fact, that you may be distracted from noticing too much the steep elevation gain.
The narrow trail leaves Whiskey Jack's parking area and climbs quickly through lush vegetation, with good views back to the falls. It winds steeply up the hillside, entering denser, old growth forest after 10 minutes. Switchback steeply through large spruce trees, accompanied by the constant roar of Takakkaw.
This is a 2 day event. Please email me to let me know if you have a tent or whether your vehicle can accommodate 2 for sleeping. We will Leave Saturday morning at 7 am sharp and drive to Field. We need to get to Takakkaw Falls early as the campgrounds may fill up quickly.
We'll set up tents and have an easy day hiking about Takakkaw Falls area. There are several easy hikes we can do for photography. We can have dinner in Field or you may choose to bring your own.
We will tent and car camp at the campground in Field or at Takakkaw Falls. You may bring your own tent if you wish. It is first come first serve there. We will need 2 spots at least and I am working on this at the moment. Let me know who has tents and who has a vehicle which can accommodate at least 2 people for sleeping. Otherwise you can make arrangements to stay at the Whiskey Jack Hostel, if they have space available.
Distance: 14 km round trip (21 km return if we decide to add the Little Yoho Valley loop extension)
Net Elevation: 700 m
This is a long day. Do not overestimate your ability.
The pace will be INTERMEDIATE. Please ensure that you have completed several D5 level hikes prior to registering. No beginners or speed demons please
Weather forecast at the time of posting the event is looking promising for Yoho. The event may be postponed or cancelled if the weather is not favourable.
Please only register if you are genuinely interested in this hike and have done hikes with similar distance & elevation gain in recent weeks. level. Cancellations only create additional work for coordinators who are 100% volunteers. Thank you for your understanding.
At 1.1 km, keep ahead where a trail branches left to Hidden Lake (we may do this 0.3km in & out extension on our way back down). The switchbacks now cease but you continue the steep climb to a second junction 0.2 km later. Turn right towards the Iceline, where the steep switchbacks resume. As you approach treeline, there are fabulous views directly across Yoho Valley of Takakkaw and Daly Glacier.
The gradient eases as you cross a boulder-strewn slope, and then a further climb takes you to a junction at 2.5 km. The Highline Trail, which runs to Yoho Lake and Pass, is to the left; you turn right, onto the Iceline.
The trail continues to climb, over the rubble of a glacial moraine. Wide views open up to the right of the cliffs of Yoho Valley. Around 3.7 km, the massive eastern flank of the Vice President finally appears to the left, and beneath it the immense Emerald Glacier. Desolate talus surrounds you, offset by the magnificent mountains and conifer slopes of Yoho Valley. The scene is wild, dramatic, and austere.
Now begins the highlight of the trail, as it traverses the barren rock and moraine beside Emerald Glacier. The route, over smooth limestone slabs, is lined with rocks and occasional cairns. Streams of water from the glacier run over the slabs and boulders. The trail crosses rolling moraines and passes a gray-green glacial pool, heading steadily north-west. Other peaks and glaciers reveal themselves as you crest successive moraines.
Around 5.7 km, just beyond the outlet stream of a second glacial lake, the trail divides. Right leads to Celeste Lake, an alternative return route. Bear left to continue on the Iceline for about 0.8 km (10-15 minutes), gently climbing to the highest point on the trail, the Iceline Summit. Clamber up a mound on the right for an improved view of the landscape surrounding you: vast swathes of tarn-dotted talus, barren peaks and glaciers of Yoho Valley and the President Range, and Mount McArthur and Isolated Peak across Little Yoho Valley to the north-west.
While the Iceline continues across the talus and past a third lake before dropping down into forested Little Yoho, for the day hiker, this highpoint makes an ideal turning-round point. You can savor the wilderness of ice and rock as you again traverse the moraines of Emerald Glacier on your return to the trailhead.
Required Items to Bring:
- Tent or car for sleeping
- Hiking Boots
- Water(minimum 2-3 litres)
- Breakfast Lunch & snacks for 2 days
- $ or pass for park entry
- Mountain weather/Wind & rain proof clothing regardless of the weather forecast
- Hiking poles
- Gaiters as there are snow patches
· GemTrek Lake Louise & Yoho map
· "Don’t Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies" by Kathy & Craig Copeland, Trip 13
· "Canadian Rockie Trail Guide" by Brian Patton & Bart Robinson, Trip 147