Joffre Lakes

It was time for my annual winter hike to Joffre Lakes.  This is a short but for some people strenuous hike.  Only Clara was with me, she is one of my few friends with enough physical shape to do this hike in less than four hours.  As many of you know, the last thing that I want when visiting the backcountry is people giving me trouble.

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We followed the usual trail touching all three lakes.  We had amazing views of the Matier Glacier.

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Then we went into the forest for the first part of the hike.  We have to go through some steep slopes adding difficulty to our snowshoeing.

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The second lake has a fascinating emerald green colour during the summer.

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Middle Lake

Some foot bridges need to be crossed with great care, Baby the Chow didn't have problems at all.

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To reach the third lake, we created a route going parallel to the creek.  Doing this, we reached the last lake in less than 15 minutes.   With snowshoes, if you follow the traditional route, it can take up to 30 minutes.

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In the latter part of the 1960's, continuing into the 1970's, John Howard's "Alpine Crafts" guiding company ran mountaineering courses into the area on a fairly steady basis.  Many of the classic easier routes to the peaks were developed during this period.   

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Upper Joffre Lake and Matier Glacier

I am not a climber but I know that some parts around the Upper Lake are avoided because of the avalanche risks. 

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After reaching the lake, the trail forks, the right branch continuing up the valley towards Mount Taylor and Tszil Mountain.  

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Coming back, we decided to skip the last part of the forest and keep going through the Lower Lake.  A group of hikers were following us and seemed to agree with us.

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Lower Lake and tired Clara

Click here for video of Upper Lake (AVI format 4.6 MB - 30 seconds)

Round trip: 11 km (6.88 miles)
Elevation gain: 400 m (1300 feet)

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Round trip: 360 km (225 miles)

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