Lake Louise to Skoki Traverse

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Whitehorn
  • Location: Banff National Park (Lake Louise)
  • Activity: Hiking
  • Height: 2,637 m (8,652 ft)
  • Elevation Gain: 530 m (1,739 ft)
  • Distance: 2.8 km / One Way (1.7 mi)
  • Avg Steepness: 10.7°
  • Estimated Time: 1-1.5 hrs
  • Technicality: Novice
  • Fitness Level: Easy
I had this trip in my mind ever since I saw the book Ridgewalks by Mike Potter, but I didn't realize the book actually says Whitehorn-Richardson Ridge, not Whitehorn-Mount Richardson... So after checking my photos from Skoki backpacking trip, I felt it's doable to traverse all the way to Mount Richardson from Whitethorn.

To Whitehorn:
According to the book, you are not allowed to hike on the ski hill. I think the reason is something they use at the ski hill attract bears. So me being one and only the trillioner in the world, I decided to pay $30 for the lift which only took me to the half way up. By the way I should have bought lift + dinner combo ticket then I could have meal after a long hike... Anyway there is no route to Whitehorn... Just check ski resort map after getting off the lift.

To Richardson Ridge:
I am entirely assuming Richardson Ridge is at GR605035, if not please let me know. According to the book's route line on topo, I should be able to stay on the ridge all the way but a high point between Whitehorn and Richardson Ridge didn't look easy and because I had to lose elevation nearly all the way down to a valley, I decided to go down and bypass the high point.

To Mount Richardson:
Continue marching on the north ridge. I found a trail for south ridge route for Mount Richardson from Hidden Lake campground. I followed it to the summit.

Pika Peak:
I descended with east ridge of Richardson to get to Richardson-Pika col. You had to walk on glacier but don't think you need any gear even crampons.

I thought Pika was very true to the definition of "difficult scrambling" which is 4th class of up to 3 m high (now we all know many peaks in scramble books go way more than that). I found there are few of these scrambles on Pika despite it looks way more difficult.

Not as definitive as Mount Richardson, but there was still trail from the col to the summit. If there weren't one, it would have been more puzzling. The route stays close to the cliff at lower part and after the snow patch, it became more of rubble slag. See page 13 for route line.

Descent:
I took the scree sidehill to get to near Hidden Lake. Again I didn't have problem finding a way since there was trail at the col but the trail suddenly disappeared right at a cairn... How strange. If you are coming up this way to the col from Hidden Lake, you can see page 21 for route line.

I used Boulder Pass trail to get back to LL parking.

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View of Lake Louise side.

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View of Skoki side from the top of Whitehorn.

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I was wondering how to get to Mount Richardson but I could see a trail.

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Lucky me! Now I have an extra.

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Richardson Ridge
  • Location: Banff National Park (Lake Louise)
  • Activity: Scrambling
  • Height: 2,680 m (8,793 ft)
  • Elevation Gain: 790 m (2,592 ft)
  • Distance: 5.2 km / One Way (3.2 mi)
  • Avg Steepness: 8.6°
  • Estimated Time: 2-3 hrs
  • Technicality: Novice
  • Fitness Level: Easy
Ski hill in summer. Left ridge is Richardson Ridge.

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Lucky me! Now I have an extra.

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To the highest point of Richardson Ridge. From the col, simply go right on that hill.

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So much green.

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Mount Richardson
  • Location: Banff National Park (Skoki)
  • Activity: Scrambling
  • Height: 3,086 m (10,125 ft)
  • Elevation Gain: 1,250 m (4,101 ft)
  • Distance: 7.5 km / One Way (4.7 mi)
  • Avg Steepness: 9.5°
  • Estimated Time: 4-6 hrs
  • Technicality: Intermediate
  • Fitness Level: Hard
Skoki. If you have been at Hidden Lake campground, this should be familiar to you. Mouseover for peak pointers.

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On the way to the summit of Richardson. Pretty straight forward.

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Very pretty view from the summit.

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Pika Peak
  • Location: Banff National Park (Skoki)
  • Activity: Scrambling
  • Height: 3,033 m (9,951 ft)
  • Elevation Gain: 1,530 m (5,020 ft)
  • Distance: 22.3 km / Loop (13.8 mi)
  • Avg Steepness: 7.8°
  • Estimated Time: 8.5-12 hrs
  • Technicality: Expert.2b
  • Fitness Level: Athlete
Now to Pika. Look quite interesting from here. Mouseover for route line.

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More panorama.

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It doesn't look scramble at all but it is and there is a trail to lead the way.

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I felt that Pika was the closest peak to the definition of difficult scramble. None of scramble sections were climber's and were all under 3 to 4 meters long. Not to easy like some peaks rated "difficult", or not too difficult like some peaks which technically it might be difficult scramble but height of it is like 10 m or even higher.

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Lake Merlin and Merlin Valley.

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South side of Richardson and Hidden Lake below.

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Impressive Wall of Jericho.

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Going down to Hidden Lake via a long scree ledge.

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Mouseover for route line to the Richardson / Pika col.

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Lake Louise wired around the resort to keep retard like me out.


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