Go to Jasper and see the famous Japanese ice axe from Mt.Alberta or the only quicksand in Alberta!
Raining in Jasper? Go on over to the Jasper-Yellowhead Museum which is found at 400 Bonhomme St – near the RCMP station – and costs about $6 per adult. Here you will finally have the opprtunity to see for yourself the great ice axe left by the Japanese team atop Mt.Alberta in the early part of Canadian mountainerring. A wonderful, relaxing, informative and modern musuem, this one in Jasper is not to be missed by any new-age adventurer wanting to see the past exploits. An original Jasper the Bear statue will greet you at the door, however, if you want a photo of Jasper the Bear outside, you can find one on Patricia Street on the north end of the main town park across from the fire hall.
In the 2015 season, Jasper hosted a tribute to Frank Smythe, famous climber and the first ascentionist of local peak Mt.Colin.
Quicksand, Lake Annette and Jasper Lake
Other rest day sights may include checking out the quicksand and the only good sunbathing beach in Jasper, Lake Annette, located about 10km north of town. This is the place to hang out in the summer to take in some rays, play frisbee, baseball all under the comanding views of Mount Edith Cavell.
Driving north of town about 30km is Jasper Lake on the north side of Highway 16. Park carefully along the highway near small hills with sand dunes and walk down to the lake. In the summer months this is agreat place to stretch and walk out, very very far across the lake without the water level hardly going above your knees. Very strange, very pleasant way to kill an hour and enjoy the mountains from the middle of a lake. Always take care venturing out into bodies of water you are not familiar with.
**Do not attempt to go near quicksand, this photo below was done with stunt kids!!**
The rain is gone, the days are heating up, Horseshoe Lake 25km south of town has been a cliff jumpers paradise for decades. A lake shaped like a horseshoe with cliffs starting at only a few feet to upwards of 80ft! Be extremly cautious if attempting this activity. Even if jumping into cold water is not your thing, walking about the beautiful Caribean blue waters is worth the short hike from the parking lot.
Evening is approaching now, your day is winding down, drive, walk or bike 3km from town east to Old Fort Point, a short yet magnificant hike to start your Jasper panorama photography. Take Highway 93A from Connaught Street ,cross Highway 16 and head south turning left to Old Fort Point road that crosses the bridge. Park in the lot. Walk up the wooden stairs and follow obvious trail to the top of two distinct bald humps. Moonlight fun!
From town the peak seen north, Roche Bonhomme, has a infamous profile- the indian lying down. Like many mountain ‘facial’ features, this one is actually very easy to spot and kids will ‘get it’ as the nose, chin, forehead, head plume and upper body very noticable. Start the trail across from Maligne Canyon Hostel finding the trail close to the drainage. Expect to be in the trees most of the way. Some minor scrambling above treeline will take you to the summit. Return the same way. It should be noted that the grey rock draninage sliver that faces west along the peaks west ridge has been used as a descent and is not recommended however would be a fun adventurous way to ascent the west side.
Marilyn Monroe’s Cabin #33
While Marilyn Monroe was filming the 1953 flick River of No Return with co-star Robert Mitchum, she stayed at one point in Cabin #33 at Becker’s Chalets about 7km south of town. I lived across the street from #33 for a number of summers in the early 1990s while working in the kitchen here which in itself was a wonderful memory as the owners are fabulous folk. Cabin #33 faces the bend in the river and if you watch this great old flick you can spot areas around Jasper Park where it was filmed.
Jasper has had a long history with totem poles in the Park. The famous Raven Totem Pole was erected in Jasper near the train station in 1915 and was removed in 2009 so it could be returned to its home in Haida Gwaii. In 2011 it was replaced with the Two Brothers Totem Pole also from Haida Gwaii. Many animals adorn this new pole which can be seen across from the main park in the center of town.
The Sidar Boulders
About 2km before Medicine Lake is a forested hillside on the left and a cairn sitting on a white boulder. This is the trail for Sidar Canyon and Big Slab. Follow the trail and soon come to a scrappy slide but the boulders are much better about 5 minutes further when the trail starts to go uphill. There are a number of wild faces in this jumble would be cool to hear if any got done decades ago. Some plums look loose in spots so assuming maybe not. Anyone?
First recorded route (2006) where the trail steepens:
Fancy Gym Class(V0/1) start low off the right end and go left to high hold. Fun but watch flake stability.
Old Man Lying Down(Roche Bonhomme) 1992 Descent
This downclimb is certainly not recommended, but was used to check out the large concave slab wall to the north, however, once descending this slabby, narrow and steep watercourse(may be fun going up?) and with failing light, and no flashlights, we opted to not risk traversing that way and have never since returned. Any routes up there? – the view of Jasper would be magnificent. Best just to return the same way if you go up this prominent Jasper landmark, through trees.
Maligne River Wall
Park for Sidar Canyon, cross the road and walk back towards Medicine Lake. Pop down into a dry creek bed which is easily seen from the road. The unclimbed steep north wall may be some time before an ascent.
Old Fort Point East Face
The hike up Old Fort Point is easy but gives a great view of Jasper. If you take the main trail and avoid walking up the pretty grass slopes, you’ll pass this slab before topping out onto the summit. From a stump, climb the crack or try a full smear on either side. If you descend down the main trail #7 east into the woods a wall was climbed just off the trail in 1992, but may be hard to find in the trees. Obscurity at its true barebones finest!
Another way to hike up Old Fort Point can be seen in the photo with the train car in the foreground. Has this wall ever seen a route?! You can still get up Old Fort Point by hiking up this very different and recommended version on the north side. There is a route line partly up the tower on Mt.Tekarra because my friend Arnold and I tried to climb it in 1993 but bailed.
Pyramid Lake is apparently the lake referred to in the great Blue Rodeo song “Cynthia”; I have many personal fond memories of my late teens at this lake.
Sunwapta Tree Snake
There are many odd shaped trees in the woods, but here is a real good funky one after you cross over the Sunwapta Falls viewing bridge to the other side. For those whom are interested in Mother Nature’s odd shapes!
Oldest Trees at the Icefields
While on a Crevasse Rescue Course in 1993, I learned that the stand of trees that reside north and west of the toe of the Columbia Icefields, on the hilly shoulder that rounds over toward Snowdome. Not sure what year but seems like a good reason to pop into one of the Parks Info Centers and see what further info you can get.