Siyeh Pass – Glacier Park Hike

I’ll start by saying this hike is certainly on my top 10 of all time list presently.

The views are nothing short of spectacular for 70% of the hike duration.  I’ll summarize anything else worth noting in point form since I’m sure there is plenty of detail elsewhere on the internet.

– We started off Sunrift Gorge at and ended at Jackson Glacier Overlook, taking the shuttle pack to Sunrift. This, as it turns out, is the hard way with 1241m (4071ft) of altitude gain.

– We exited the through hike at Jackson Glacier Overlook however I would really recommend not taking this entrance as it is very forested and used very little.  The best way to do this hike would be to start at Siyeh Bend and exit at Sunrift Gorge in my opinion.

– Siyeh Pass was seriously windy when we were there. I was trying to talk to a ranger who was asking about trail conditions and we could barely have a basic conversation due to wind noise.

– The trail was still snow bound in a few places when we passed through, particularly approaching Siyeh Pass via the south side. We needed to bypass the trail in this area since there was too much snow and the trail was not visible. Our GPS route reflects this fact as we approached the pass. An ice axe might be handy as well as basic route finding skills.  Hiking this in August would be the best time.

Here are a few photos and the GPS track.  I didn’t set my altimeter from a known point so elevation on the GPS track are not likely to be correct.

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Helen Lake and Cirque Peak

Several weeks ago I headed to Lake Louise for a weekend of hiking. My favorite hike of the weekend was to Helen Lake and onto Cirque Peak near Saskatchewan River Crossing.

The hike into Helen Lake is packed with great scenery once you get past the initial, relatively short, climb through the forest. Closer to the lake you are likely to see a Marmot or two.  The horse flies are very thick around the shore. We saw fish jumping in an almost continuous fashion munching away on the flies.

Helen Lake Trail

The trail leading up to Lake Helen
The trail leading up to Lake Helen

Once at the lake you have the option to do an easy scramble up Cirque Peak. Although the slog up is not the most exciting – largely large rock with some scree – the view from the top more than makes up for it. Visible from the peak is Bow Lake/Falls/Glacier, as well as the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge.

Bow Lake, Bow Glacier, and Portal Peak in the distance.
Bow Lake, Bow Glacier, and Portal Peak in the distance.

Looking out to Bow Lake and Portal Peak

Lake Helen is straight ahead, a few hundred meters lower.
Lake Helen is straight ahead, a few hundred meters lower.

View from Cirque Peak

Families might enjoy hiking to the lake together, with the more energetic members continuing on up to Cirque Peak, while the rest enjoy hanging out at the lake.  The experience could be less pleasant if the bugs are bad at the lake.

Picture quality is not up to usual standards as we forgot our camera and ended up using the cell phones camera for the photos.

View from Cirque Peak







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Please note that my altimeter was not calibrated based on a known elevation and as such the max and min altitude could not be accurate. The change is altitude should be reasonably accurate.

Swan Lake Rangers Cabin

Earlier I had written about the US governments cabin rental program here . Back in July, I had a chance to try the service.

As I mentioned in my earlier post , I had reserved a few days in the Swan Lake Guard station in Montana. Overall I must say that I am very pleased with the service. Given that it’s up to the previous occupants to clean the cabin before they leave, I was a bit weary about what condition I would find the place in. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked through the door to find a very nice, and very clean cabin for me and my wife to use over the following days.

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Beyond the cleanliness of the place, my other surprise was how nice the furniture inside was. There were a couple of leather chairs, a nice futon, and to top it off, an extremely nice hand-made rustic style table and chair set.

The only area for improvement that I can see is security. There is an electronic door lock on the front door opened by entering a numeric combination. This is good except it seems they never change the combination. I had reserved the cabin some 6+ months prior to when I stayed there and received the combination upon booking. I think this could be improved upon by changing the combination once a month or so and then emailing it and the previous combination (if they haven’t changed it on time) to everyone who has a booking within that month.

Swan Lake Ranger Station Dining RoomSwan Lake Ranger Station Kitchen


I’m curious what other folks experiences have been like with these cabin rentals. If you’ve tried it, please leave a comment below and let everyone know how it worked out.

Turtle Mountain

Turtle Mountain is located in the Crowsnest Pass region of Southern Alberta, very close to the town of Blairmore.  While visiting family in the town I had the chance to scramble up the mountain.

This scramble is an easy one, involving little real scrambling.  The interesting aspect to this trip is that you are able to reach the source of Frank Slide, whereby a very large chunk of the mountain broke away in 1903, killing 7o+ people in the town of Frank.

Statistic are according to my GPS and might not be correct.

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I won’t go into details on the route since it is covered extensively on several other sites and in the following book which I used as a guide.  During my trip I only went to the first summit since the second had very little visibility at the time.

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Ogre Bikepacking Setup

I’ve been getting the Ogre ready for some bikepacking later this summer.

Ogre in Bikepacking Mode

The first piece of gear I got was a custom frame bag which my mother sewed up for me.  The sides are made from Terrain X-Pac, with the edges made from 1050 denier coated ballistic nylon.  Here is a picture of the bag.  I’ve used it several times lately and have to say that I’m very surprised about how much it holds.


In addition to the frame bag, I’ve purchased two handlebar bags from Oveja Negra threadworks.  I have the ‘Lunchbox Handlebar Gear Bag‘ and the ‘Front End Loader Handlebar Drybag Mount‘.  One will go on my bike and one will go on the wife’s Troll.

I’m still deciding whether I should invest in a seat bag or just strap a drybag to a rear rack.

Later this summer I’ll post an update about how this works out.



Bryce Canyon National Park – Day 3

On the third day of our Utah vacation we decided to visit Bryce Canyon.  It’s a stunningly beautiful place as might be expected.  Some things that I noted were as follows.

▪   The jaw dropping scenery is very dense so don’t expect anything resembling solitude, or the sense of wilderness.

▪   You certainly don’t need more than a day at this park due to its size.  Most of the scenery is packed into a few trails.

▪   This park will make anyone seem like a pro photographer!

We hiked the Navajo, Peekaboo, and Queens Garden trails and would certainly recommend them.