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Bryant Creek Backcountry Hut Snowshoe (3/30/2018)

PRE-REGISTRATION & PAYMENT REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page. After you sign up at the bottom, you will be presented with information about how to pay. Late payments are NOT accepted for this event, in any circumstance.

You are STRONGLY encouraged to read this page in its entirety before signing up. If you'd like to attend, we ask that you abide by our rules and procedures as a time/cost saving process (with an end result of keeping membership free and lower cost events).

The Basics:
Event Type:Adventure
Event Location: Mount Shark Trailhead
Date(s) & Time:Fri, Mar 30 2018, Sat, Mar 31 2018, Sun, Apr 1 2018, Mon, Apr 2 2018  6:00 PM  (Carpool Departure: 6:00 PM   *log in for location*)
Registration Cut Off: Sun, Mar 4 2018 12:00:00 PM
Event Duration:3 days, 2 nights
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult
Event Coordinator(s): Mark G
You must be logged in to get the Event Coordinator contact information.
Member Cost:$40.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 18 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:6
Minimum Group Size:3
Number Registered So Far: 2 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No

Registration Instructions: This is not a trip for beginners. Traveling in the backcountry, particularly in the late winter, does have significant hazards. If you are interested in attending, first add your name to the list for the event, and then please contact Mark to discuss. Open spots will preferably be given to members who have previously attended conditioning events that have been organized through the Edmonton Outdoor Club, and have good experience hiking and snowshoeing.

This event will be a snow shoe to the Bryant Creek backcountry shelter, where we will be staying. Using the shelter as our base, we will have opportunities for day snowshoeing (or hiking) from the hut We could be able to view Mount Assiniboine up close.

The Bryant Creek shelter can accommodate up to 12 people. A booking for 6 people has been confirmed for both Saturday (March 31st) and Sunday (April 1st).

Because this trip will be taking place in late winter, my expectation is that there will still be plenty of snow along most of the trail at this higher elevation. Everyone must bring good snow shoes. I will have my backcountry cross country skis with me and will be setting tracks for everyone to follow.

Trip Plan: I have set the start date as Friday March 30th on Good Friday, as it would be best that everyone leaves Edmonton in the evening and stays in the Canmore/Banff region on Friday night, to enable an early departure on Saturday. I have not yet booked accommodations for Friday.

We will be beginning our hike at the Mt. Shark trailhead in Kananaskis Country, within Spray Valley Provincial Park. Mt Shark is accessed from the Smith-Dorrien Trail road (Hwy 742), 36 km south of Canmore. We’ll begin by cross country skiing on the Watridge Lake trail in Spray River Provincial Park. After descending to, and crossing, the Spray River, we’ll enter Banff National Park after hiking about 5.5 km on relatively easy terrain. Continuing along the Bryant Creek trail, we will pass through forested terrain, reaching the Bryant Creek shelter after hiking a further 8.3 km (total distance, 13.8 km from the trailhead). Over this 8.3 km distance there is about 150 m of elevation gain. Along the way to the shelter we’ll pass the Big Springs backcountry campground (9.6 km from Mt Shark trailhead). I'm anticipating that the time to reach the shelter will be about 4 hours including break stops.

Although we will be staying in a shelter, as a group we will need to carry most of the gear that would normally be required for a backpacking trip, including stoves and fuel, food, water filters, sleeping bags and sleeping pads. The shelter provides space for up to 12 people to sleep overnight wooden platforms, as well as a common cooking area. The Bryant Creek shelter is heated with a wood stove (firewood is provided). An outhouse is located near the shelter. More information is provided about the Bryant Creek shelter here.

Day snowshoeing option: We will be staying at the shelter for two nights, and will have one free day for day skiing/ or snowshoeing in the area. Our major goal will be to complete a day trip that will take us towards, and likely into, Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park, where we'll be able to view Mount Assiniboine (the "Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies") up close.At minimum we will aim to reach the Alberta/BC border at Assiniboine Pass, where Mount Assiniboine will come into view (about 10 km from the shelter, for a 20 km return day trip). Preferably, we'll continue for 2.1 km further towards Mount Assiniboine Lodge, where we'll get a closer view of Mount Assiniboine from the top of a bluff overlooking Lake Magog (a lake at the base of Mount Assiniboine) - this will be about a 25 km return day hike. There are additional options to continue even further, but these will depend on the group's pace and the conditions in the area.

There is gradual elevation gain along the route for the first several 5 kilometres past the Bryant Creek Shelter. As Assiniboine Pass is approached, the trail begins to rise more sharply. In total there is about 350 m of elevation gain between the shelter and Assiniboine Pass. There is only a slight decrease in elevation over the last 2.1 km between Assiniboine Pass and Assiniboine Lodge.

There will also be other options for shorter day hiking options during the weekend (e.g. on Saturday after arrival at the shelter, or on Monday on the way back to the trailhead), such as hikes to the shorelines of Marvel Lake and Owl Lake, both of which are located near the shelter.

The Bryant Creek/Assiniboine Pass trail is classified as a Risk One Avalanche Zone. Characteristics of this types of terrain include:
  • Exposure to low angle or primarily forested terrain.
  • Some forest openings may involve the runout zones of infrequent avalanches.
  • Many options to reduce or eliminate exposure.
  • No glacier travel.

    The shelter itself is located in a wide valley. I am aware of an avalanche runout zone that the trail passes through about 1 km before reaching the shelter. As well, there are runout zones that are reached as Assiniboine Pass is approached. I will be keeping an eye on bulletins put out by Avalanche Canada, and if the conditions warrant we will modify our plans accordingly.

    More information can be found here about avalanche terrain ratings in the national parks.

  • Required Items to Bring:
    Individual Items:
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Pillow
  • Snowshoes
  • Weather appropriate clothing
  • Food for the weekend

    Shared equipment (please let Mark know if you are able to bring any of these):
  • Backpacking stoves - at least 2 or 3 for the group
  • Water filters - at least 2 for the group
  • Recommended Items to Bring:
    Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
  • Camera
  • Hiking poles
  • Microspikes

  • How to Get There:
    Event Directions:From Canmore: follow signs to the Canmore Nordic Centre. After passing the Nordic Centre, continue following the Smith-Dorrien-Spray Trail (Hwy 742) for 37 km until reaching the Mount Shark Road. Turn right, pass Engadine Lodge and a small bridge, and continue following the road for 5 km to reach the trailhead parking lot.

    More detailed directions are available here.
    Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):860Km
    Carpool Departure Time: 6:00 PM
    Carpool Location:   Log in for location
    Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
    Carpool Cost: The event coordinator(s) will help you to arrange a centralized carpool if you require it, but it's not guaranteed. Please DO NOT pay your driver en route. Passengers will pay the coordinator, and he/she will distribute the money to the carpool drivers. SO PLEASE BRING CASH!!! Approximate vehicle expense for this event is $197.80 (calculated at total Km * $0.23, effective Wednesday, February 21, 2018). This is based on $0.09/Km for maintenance, plus current gas price divided by 9. This cost will be multiplied by the number of carpooled cars, and divided by the number of carpool participants.


    - Registration is NOT COMPLETE until you've signed up and paid by the registration cut off date. The money must be in the EOC's possession by that date. No exceptions.
    - When a minimum group size appears, this is to let you know that the event will be cancelled with refunds to those who have already paid, if the minimum number of registered participants is not met. For any events where EOC needs a minimum number of participants, there will be absolutely no refunds of money if you cancel.
    - We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines at all times while participating in EOC events.
    - Please scroll through and read the entire online waiver when you sign up.
    - Details of this event are subject to undergo a change at any point in time, with or without warning.

    Cost & Payment:
    Member Cost:$40.00/Person
    Cost Includes:Backcountry fees, plus share of reservation fee for the shelter.

    If you have a Parks Canada Annual Wilderness Pass, please provide the pass number to me, so that I can provide it to Parks Canada. These passes cover the $9.80 backcountry fee. The trip fee for holders of these passes will be to cover the shelter fee and a share of the reservation fee including a small coordinator discount
    Payment Cut Off:Payment must be received by the EOC on Sun, Mar 4 2018.
    Make a Payment:Click here for the details. PLEASE PAY AFTER YOU HAVE SIGNED UP BELOW.

    Cancellation/Partial Attendance:
    Please review our Cancellation Policy carefully!
    *Note: Please see our cancellation policy


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