From the carpool location we will drive to Chateau Lake Louise and take the trail to Saddleback Pass. From there we will go to the top of Saddle Mountain (2,433 m) and venture a bit beyond the peak along the ridge. After returning to the pass we will descend via Sheol Valley to Paradise Valley. From there we will hike to the Paradise Valley Trailhead on the Moraine Lake road (car shuttle required.) Saddle Mountain offers excellent view Bow Valley, Mt. Temple (3,400 m) Mt. Aberdeen (3,152 m), Haddo Peak (3,070 m), Fairview Mountain and other peaks (see attached photos.)
We will be hiking as a group at a very moderate, but consistent pace with only short stops for drinks, snacks and adjustments to the equipment. The group will stop at the Saddle Mountain for lunch, and will likely stop at Lake Louise for a snack or meal before heading back to Calgary.
Difficulty: Intermediate D3-D4
Trail Length: 12-15 km (return)
Time to Complete: 6-7 hours
Elevation Gain: 600 m
Drive Time to Trailhead: 2 hours
Expect and be prepared for: some scree; sunshine; wind at the top; unexpected weather changes; need for snacking and drink on the way up; superb 360 degree view from the top of Saddle Mountain.
Required items to bring:
o hiking boots (gaiters recommended to prevent fine scree from getting into your boots)
o hiking pole(s)
o Park Pass (if you have one)
o gloves (recommended for Saddleback Peak)
o food and drink sufficient for 6-7 hours
o sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, mosquito spray
o something to sit on at lunch break (piece of foam, garbage bag)
o pants and jacket/shirt which will dry quickly (no cotton); windbreaker, rain jacket, warm fleece; spare pair of dry socks; dress in layers, have something warm to put on when we stop at the top
Hazards: Sheol Valley is a grizzly territory. We have to hike together as a group, never fewer than four people in one cluster(Parks Canada can fine $5,000 those who disobey.) Route has no cellphone coverage. Drop from the east side the Saddle Mountain ridge is in most places a vertical cliff. Caution has to be exercised when hiking or scrambling along the ridge.