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Elysium Mountain and Mount Pattison

Difficulty: 
Moderate Snowshoeing
Elevation [m]: 
2420
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
43.5
Net Elevation Gain [m]: 
1300
Total Elevation Gain [m]: 
2500
YDS Difficulty: 
2
Ascent Time: 
Ascent Time: 7:00 to the Pass, 4:15 to Elysium, +3:15 to Pattison
Bushwhackyness: 
Pretty Much None
Tripdate: 
Saturday, November 9, 2013

With winter finally time to dust of the snowshoes and hit the slopes. A large swath of Jasper is closed off until February due to caribou conservation so Steven and I chose an objective in one of the areas still allowed, up on the western side of the Victoria Cross range Elysium Mountain and Mount Pattison over two or three days, depending how much post-holing there was.

To get to the mountains you first have to head up to Elysium Pass using a recently decommissioned trail that is still in pretty good shape. The trail works a long ways westwards and slowly gains elevation up to a viewpoint below Emigrants Mountain before descending down to the pass. The lower parts of the trail were still in fall condition with only a thin coating of snow making conditions slippery (but helped for nice descent) but three quarters of the way up the post holing started in earnest and slowing down progress considerably. Snow was not supportive at all and views were minimal on the way up and it seemed a long way to the pass, eventually around sunset we reached a decent campsite and hunkered down for the night for what would be a long day in the morning.

Heading up from Elysium Pass to Elysium Mountain is a simple process just find a way up through the trees and keep going. The morning greeted us with a brief temperature inversion making for neat photos and pleasant temperatures and after trudging through snow for a few hours we were on the ridge and excited that the skies were still clear and views were fabulous. After getting up to the still fairly rocky summit, views were even nicer with lots of the Victoria Cross peaks looking very impressive. From the summit of Elysium, Pattison looked still a long way away. Head over to Pattison was an easy affair but we had to take our 'shoes off in a couple places due to boulders. Ascending the northern side of Pattison had even more boulders but soon enough we were on our second summit on the day by which time clouds had moved in and views diminished. On both summits we couldn't find any registers but they could have been buried in snow and ice, it was hard to tell. Heading back to camp we had to avoid a few lakes of questionable ice quality and did a bunch of gain and loss to get back to the pass on Elysium's south ridge. After packing up camp we rambled back down the trail which went surprisingly quickly and things were looking up until the last 50m or so. In order to get back to the road we had to cross two sets of train tracks (at an official crossing) and as luck would have it just when we got there a train was passing, which then decided to stop blocking off the crossing (and extending onto the horizon in either direction). It took a solid half an hour after the train stopped before it got going again and then at last we made it back to the car.

Cant wait to head back to the Elysium Pass area in the summer, should be awesome!

 

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