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       HIKING THE "WHISTLERS"

 
Hiking Whistlers Mountain
(from the Jasper Tram)
Article thanks to Canadian Rockies Access Guide - Dodd/Helgason Lone Pine Publishing
BACK TO JASPER TRAM

"Many visitors, having passed from the montaine through the subalpine to the high alpine zone in seven mintuer, will understandably be tempted to go no further the the upper terminal. They are missing a lot; it is almost like the difference between watching a travelogue on television as opposed to travelling yourself.
The views improve immensely as you ascend the Whistlers. What's more, the relatively easy trail allows the walker to experience a true alpine experience.

The trail to the rounded dome of the summit is well marked, and there are rock stairs in some of the steep places. Although some people will find the ascent steep, every step is worth the effort, even if you don't make it to the top.

Up here, only miniature plants a few centimeters tall can grow. Some take 25 years to flower, so don't spoil it for others by picking them or trampling on them. The most prominent alpine flowers include yellow alpine cinquefoil, white dryas and round moss campion, the last looking like a green pincushion with pink and lavender flowers growing through it.

In several spots, side trails afford closer views in each direction. Be warned that fat ground squirrels and marmots patrol these trails, experts at begging from the visitor. Don't give in.

The trail climbs steeply, and then levels off briefly before turning right for the final push to the summit of the Whistlers, which was named for the whistling of marmots. Marmots are much eaiser to find than the smaller pika. They love to sit upright on rocks when they are not eating, building up a thick layer of fat to carry them through winter hibernation.

The large summit area is level. There is a log book and direction finder. To the north is Morro Peak, marking the beginning of a long mountain ridge called the Colin Range, which stretches back towards Jasper townsite and culminates in the sawtooth peaks of Hawk and Colin. Closer at hand, to the northeast, is the rounded mass of Signal Mountain, the beginning of the long Maligne Range on wich a splendid backpacking trail winds.

South in the direction of the Columbia Icefield (and Athabasca Glacier) are Mt. Christie and Kerkeslin, and Brussels Peak. Turning southwest, you see the imposing mass of Edith Cavell with its spectacular glacier. In the distance to the west is the white pyramid of Mount Robson, monarch of the Canadian Rockies at 12,966 feet, and usually eveloped in clouds of its own making. Northwest is Monarch Mountain, Snaring Mountain and Pyramid Mountain, the latter built, the locals joke, thousands of years ago by the ancient Egyptians.

Closer at hand, the complexities of the Athabasca and Miette valleys are revealed, and you should be able to spot most of the 50 lakes in the region. Once, two mighty glaciers met near the site of the present-day Jasper townsite, one coming down from the valley from the Columbia Icefields, the other from what is now Yellowhead Pass. When the glaciers began to melt, large chunks of ice remained. When this ice melted, it left water-filled depressions in the gravel

The especially energetic could really experience the mountain by hiking all the way down to the road in a few hours. The 4.5 kilometer (2.8 mile) trail (marked as Train No. 5) heads down to the upper terminal, and then left to loop down towards the trees, under the tramway, ending near the hostel 0.9 kilometers from the lower terminal. Now that's experiencing a mountain."

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Athabasca Falls     EDITH CAVELL VALLEY

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