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Hiking to Maligne Pass and Rambling up Replica Peak

Difficulty: 
Easy Scramble
Elevation [m]: 
2792
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
34.5
Net Elevation Gain [m]: 
1150
Total Elevation Gain [m]: 
1650
YDS Difficulty: 
3
Bushwhackyness: 
Pretty Much None.
Tripdate: 
Monday, June 13, 2016

Near the end of 'ski season' this year I was trying to plan an overnight trip up into Maligne Pass which sadly didn't work out schedule - wise. With snow receding at a quick rate it seemed like it might actually be fairly dry up around the pass and worth taking a look. Depending how the weather was looking I was planning on either hiking to Maligne Pass itself or rambling up nearby Replica Peak and pleasantly ended up with both! While the Maligne Pass trail itself is in some sort of quasi-decomishened state (and is no longer even included on some maps) it is still in good shape and gives quick access into then area. Owing to the fact that the pass is ecologically fragile Parks only allows for one group to camp in the area at a time. The upshot of this if you do manage to wrangle a permit you likely have the area to yourself!

 
The Maligne Pass Trail shares the same approach as for the Poboktan Loop setting off from the Poboktan Creek warden station. Getting on the trail at the not so alpine hour of 930 made a quick pace necessary to make the plan feasible. After about an hour the junction is reached with the Malgine Pass route shooting off north while the trail towards Poboktan and Jonas Shoulder continues eastwards. After junction the trail is still pretty decent with a number of bridges still in place (though a few are showing considerable signs of wear). The trail is also fairly free of bush and can be nicely followed until near the Avalanche Campground where things get swampier and less easy to follow (yellow squares of an old park sign 'flag' one such section).
 

Crossing the bridge to get to the trailhead from the parking lot.

 

The trail to the junction is in fabulous shape.

 

The junction between the Maligne Pass Trail and carrying on towards the Jonas Shoulder.

 

For a no longer maintained trial, it is still in decent shape.

 

Some of the bridges are still quite sturdy.

 

Other bridges are a little less than sturdy.

 

Looking up at the unnamed ridge north of the parking lot.

 

Even in the bush quite a nice area for a stroll.

 
After the Avalanche Campground the trail moves away from the the drainage and heads up towards Maligne Pass itself. It is hard not to be impressed by the clear water of the lake beside the trail (though out of view above are several other, one much larger, lakes with more 'alpjne' colors). With the weather not looking too certain and rain coming down in the valleys to the north and south I kept on the trail towards the pass to wait and see if things would clear up above.
 

Getting into the alpine the views really open up.

 

Still a very clear trail.

 

A calm tarn beside the trail.

 

Lots of water still draining this time of year.

 
The trail was in quite good shape with only a few soggy spots near small melt water creeks flowing down the valley and only two wee patches of snow. Speaking of snow the 'backside' of the Endless Chain ridge looks like it would be an excellent place for a ski camp, lots of variety of terrain and not too long of an approach either. I kept going until the trail started to plunge down into the valley to the north and reckoned to try Replica from the connecting ridge (given all the flowers in the area picking a line up that avoided trampling about like a drunken elephant while ascending the peak seemed like a good plan). Seeing Mounts Charlton and Unwin from this angle was quite neat.
 

The views start to open up further north towards Maligne Lake.

 

A marmot seemed a bit startled by a human walking around.

 

At the low point of my day along the trail looking down the valley towards Mount Charlton and Mount Unwin.

 

Up at my 'lunch bench' surprisingly flat and with good views!

 
Working up towards Replica Peak on the northwest ridge was quick traveling and before long a grumbling stomach reminded me that it was time for lunch. Thankfully nature provided a very flat scree bench that made a good place to break out the stove and cook up some soup. From the soup bench the last slope of Replica could be seen and it looked dry and not bad. Fortified by soup and coffee I made my way up easy scree to the base of the summit slope. As far as scree goes the summit block is quite loose and fairly steep but the runout is minimal even with a big tumble so not too much to worry about. An octet of narrow switchbacks and the summit ridge was reached. I can see how on a clear day this would be an excellent viewpoint, even with the distant giants blocked from view it was still a great summit view.

 

Neat texture in the rock below Replica Peak.

 

The rest of the ridge leading up to the summit.

 

It takes a bit of height before the other tarns in the alpine are visible.

 

Not far from the summit ridge at this point.

 

Tarns, tarns, everywhere.

 

The summit block is accessed by a steep scree slope.

 

Still some cornices lingering on the summit ridge.

 

Great views even with the clouds from the summit.

 

Looking down towards the tarns beside the Endless Chain Ridge.

 

After some rummaging around the summit cairns to find a register I made my way down retracing steps down the summit block scree and then following scree and rocky stream beds to regain the trail. Once back on the trail it seemed like the weather was finally about to move in with rain coming down to the south so diverting to the Avalanche Campground for some coffee waiting out the showers seemed an ok scheme. About 45 minutes later the sun was shining again and I was merrily bounding down the trail back towards the car

 

Stopping off for a bite of dinner at the Avalanche Campground.

 

Back at the junction, taking the sunny side of the road back to the car.

 

Still had the parking lot to myself at the end of the day.

 

Quite a nice line, have to head back in the future both summer and winter!

 

This turned out to be a very pleasant daytrip. If possible save Replic

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Comments

With what you mentioned about only one group being allowed to camp at a time, is that up at the pass? Are more ppl allowed to camp at avalanche campground? How would we inquire about a permit? We were planning on camping somewhere in the pass this wknd, but didn't know about these restrictions! :(

By Carolyn

The best people to talk to is are likely at visitor center in Jasper. The Avalanche campsite is the only site that shows up on Parks's new online registration https://reservation.pc.gc.ca/Home.aspx system and can have multiple parties (but if you want to camp at one of the older sites further north you have to get a random camping permit instead).

By Ben

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