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An Early Winter on the Mountain


Peter
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It sure seemed like a nice day for a walk up Whistlers Mountain. Mixed sun and clouds and just a few snow flurries dusting through. A bit different en route, though; +3°C at the trailhead, -5°C at treeline, and -10°C at the summit. Add winds gusting to around 50 kph and the chill factor dropped the temperatures to around -30°C! I was hoping it would be a bit warmer for the last weekend in September.

The first part of the hike is a 1000 metre grind through the forest, but once past treeline, the vistas open up. The last part of the hike is much more interesting, and includes just a few hundred metres of extra elevation gain to reach the summit.

Of course the extra elavation meant the winds started picking up, too, and we started putting on layers. For the ascent up the north slope, the wind was mostly blocked by the mountain, but there were still enough gusts to make it a bit chilly. We'd started out wearing fleeces, but soon added softshells, windshells, and later, toques and gloves.

Mr Moose

This was the first dusting of snow for the season, so it wasn't very deep. We were carrying ice cleats just in case, but for the time being we were okay. Nice views of the Athabasca valley and Yellowhead Pass 1200 metres below, and the town of Jasper.

However, we'd reached the crest and the winds were now steady and very cold, the kind of conditions where you hide your face behind your hood to stop the wind from giving you frostbite. We zipped up tight and snuggled in behind our multiple layers.

On the summit. With the cold, we didn't linger. We just grabbed a bunch of photos...

Indian Ridge

...and headed back down.

Jasper Townsite

The snow had eased off, and the overcast had given way to sunnier conditions. Once out of the wind, what had been a frigid grind became much more pleasant.

Pyramid Mountain

By the time we reached treeline, the temperatures were back to normal - just a lovely day for a Fall walk in the mountains. Looking up at the same peak the next morning, though, we realized more snow had fallen overnight. Our 'light dusting' had become 'snowbound'. Couldn't have had better timing for our hike!

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Edited by Peter
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