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A Ramble Up Roche a Bosche

Moderate Scramble
Elevation [m]: 
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
Net Elevation Gain [m]: 
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YDS Difficulty: 
Much Bushy Sidehilling To Avoid Deadfall
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
The Snaring and Celestine Lake Roads are quite a decent area for scramblers looking to explore the eastern side of Jasper without delving too deep into the backcountry.  After having rambled up Coronach Mountain the previous year, when Eric asked if I would be up for a mid-week daytrip with a very gloomy forecast over the weekend (there was a heavy rainfall warning for town over the weekend!) heading back to Celestine Lake seemed a good choice.  Confirming that we would both bring bikes was an even better choice, it might be hard to walk in to Celestine Lake again after feeling how nice the peddle up (and cruise down) can be.
The Celestine Lake Road itself can be a little interesting in places.  A one-way-timed road (i.e. there are specific intervals when you can drive in, and other times when you can drive out), there are some patches where the road leaves a very narrow tracks above the Athabasca River and the guard-rail pillars do not look super load-bearing!  
After loading up on coffee in town, we set off along the road and Eric's mighty Volvo forded the fearsome Corral Creek and was a short time after at the trailhead.  Biking up the 'trail' (it is really a road) was actually quite nice, though a bit of a tuff puff in places.  Later on in the day the ride could have been quite toasty but with an early morning chill to the air we quickly made our way up and before we knew it were at the junction with the North Boundary Trail and soon after at Celestine Lake itself (with only a wee bit of deadfall requiring lifting the bikes).  A quick break at Celestine Lake for pictures (there was a particular patch of paintbrush that looked very nice beside the lake) we set off along the shore aiming for the flats on the SE side of the lake.  Trying to minimize the amount of bush we aimed for reaching Coronach Creek and then working up ledges on the western side of the peak.  

Setting off from the Celestine Lake Trailhead.


The Celestine Lake Campground is quite a nice place, especially if you have it to yourself.


A patch of paintbrush near the lake.


Views from the far side of the lake.  Beaver Bluffs (left), Roche a Bosche (centre), and Roche Ronde (right).


Looking west from the far side of the lake towards Roche de Smet.


Characteristic bush around these parts.


Looking up towards Roche a Bosche (slopes on the right).

To avoid the worst of the bushwhacking (with much deadfall having deposited around the creek) we ended up sidehilling for a while.  Stiffer mountaineering boots rather than the hiking boots I was wearing would have been very advantageous!  Progress was slow but steady and eventually we reached the lower end of the rockbands guarding the summit and kept traversing until a weakness could be found (otherwise things would be quite, quite steep).  Our access ended up being also quite steep (but thankfully short), only requiring a few difficult scrambling moves.  Easier terrain above lead to the summit ridge and wide-reaching views of the Snake Indian River Valley to the west, and a whole sea of hazy peaks stretching southwards.  A few false summits later we were atop the peak itself where a decent sized cairn was found along with a few summit-shrubs (this being not the most lofty of peaks).

Some interesting scrambly bits on the ledges.


Higher up things became considerably easier.


Working back south to find a break in the cliffs to get to the summit.


Wide views from the point where we gained the ridge.


Eric reading the register on the summit, very few entires!

We were joking on the way up that there was a decent chance that, if we found a register, Liam and his Dad might be the only entries.  Sure enough after digging the cairn a bit we found a glass jar with a few pieces of paper.  Liam and David had actually ascended the peak twice with ours being the first entry in 12 years!  We had originally hoped that we would have enough time to ramble up the backside of Roche Ronde.  With a long way back to the city for Eric the descent to the creek, re-ascent to the peak and bushwhack back to Celestine Lake made us pause and realize that maybe we would have to save that for another trip.  Not wanting to head right down in the thick of things by the creek we took a falling traverse around the lower base of Roche a Bosche on pretty decent terrain (it would have been much nicer were it not for all the sidehilling we had done on the way up!).  If heading up the peak this way it would be no more than a bushy easy scramble.  Before too long we made it back to the very refreshing Coronach Creek and soon after Celestine Lake.

Looking south from the summit.


Looking northish from the summit.


The range of peaks along the western side of the Snake Indian River.


There could actually be a decent ridgewalk coming off Roche Ronde.


Looking back down towards Celestine Lake, there is a lot more lake than is visible from the campground.


Eric on the descent/traverse back down to the lake.


Nice mossy forest for descending in places.


Back at Celestine Lake, Roche de Smet in the background.

On the return back to the car bikes proved their worth.  We made it from camp to car in just over 20 minutes (including the uphill from the bridge over the Snake Indian River at the end).  A very nice quick way to end a day!


Very glad to have bikes for the way back!


No sign of other folks along the road or trail today.


Not a bad day trip, have to come back to ramble up Roche Ronde at some point!

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