Aster Lake Ė July 19-20, 2004

Elevation gain:       570 m
Ascent time:         
Descent time:        5:30
Roundtrip distance: 22km

Backpacking with Mark and Josh.

An utterly disappointing trip to Aster Lake, where we planned to summit Mount Joffre, Warrior Mountain and Mount Cordonnier in three days. With 40-50 pound backpacks, the hike to Aster Lake was grueling, to say the least. The water level of Hidden Lake was extremely high, making travel along the shore slow and physically demanding. It also started to rain quite heavily at this point Ė an unfortunate foreshadowing of things to come. It didnít help matters when I took the wrong trail, shortly after passing Foch Lake, and ended up near Marlborough Pond.

We finally arrived at Aster Lake, where the clouds had cleared enough to give us a decent of Warrior Mountain and the beautiful surroundings of the lake. We did spot a grizzly on the slopes above the campsite, but it quickly moved away when our presence became known to it. The bear had an almost white coat.

Since the weather forecast had predicted rain for the day and clearing for the next two, we were still very optimistic about having great weather conditions to do the ascent of Joffre in the morning. During the night, it rained almost constantly and a porcupine, making quite a racket right outside, kept up me a great deal. I found out in the morning that the noise was the animal gnawing on the straps and rubber handgrips of my hiking poles. We awoke to steady rain the low-lying clouds covering the summits of everything in sight. When the conditions hadnít changed by 11 am, we very reluctantly decided to pack up and head back. During the return trip there were periods of terrific rain and the cloud cover got even worse. Getting around Hidden Lake again was awful (I swear the level of the lake had risen another foot overnight!) and by now we were all starting the feel the strain of the heavy backpacks. As I said, I very disappointing trip. 

Taking a rest at Hidden Lake; the weather was quite nice at this point


Traversing the lower slopes of Mount Sarrail


More traversing


Another rest to admire some pleasant scenery on Mount Sarrail


Foch Lake, with Mount Marlborough behind


The wrong way; we went straight at Foch lake, instead of right and ended up here


A decent look at Mount Warrior, upon arriving at Aster Lake; this was as good as it would get - clouds enveloped the mountain for the remainder of the trip

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