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Grande Cache Hiking and Camping (7/6/2018)

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The Basics:
Event Type:Overnight
Event Location: Grande Cache, Alberta
Date(s) & Time:Fri, Jul 6 2018, Sat, Jul 7 2018, Sun, Jul 8 2018  5:00 PM  (Carpool Departure: 5:00 PM   *log in for location*)
Registration Cut Off: Tue, Jul 3 2018 12:00:00 PM
Event Duration:2 days, 2 nights
Difficulty Rating:D5: Difficult
Event Coordinator(s): Ryan
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Member Cost:$17.50/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 18 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:2
Minimum Group Size:3
Number Registered So Far: 8 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes

Prerequisite for this trip: regular hiking (this means attend weekly events), pace of 5 km/hr, and must have experience hiking previously in the mountains on trails with >500 m elevation gain. To register, please sign up on the waiting list. I will only be adding people to the list for this event if I am satisfied that they meet these requirements. Dogs are permitted, subject to the event coordinator (Ryan)'s approval. Dogs must be kept leashed at all times while we are camping and hiking. If you do bring a dog, please ensure that you follow "No Trace" principles, including picking up up and disposing of your pet's waste properly.

The Plan: PLEASE NOTE - CAMPING LOCATION HAS BEEN CHANGED. We will camp at the Sheep Creek Provincial Recreation Area, located just outside of Grande Cache, AB. The trailheads for all of the hikes described below are all located in very close proximity to the Grande Cache townsite. The trail descriptions are based on information provided in the Grande Cache & Area Trails & Adventure Map. On Saturday, we will hike to the summit of at least one of (and, if we have enough time, two of) the following peaks:

MOUNT LOUIE: Day Hike (summit elevation 1,844 m / 6,050 ft) Distance: 5.5 km / 3.4 miles one way | Gain: 714 m / 2,350 feet
We will follow a steep trail up the northwest facing ridge. Exposed, erosion- resistant conglomerate rock is found for much of the way. Views soon present themselves, and the combination of alternating terrain and great scenery make this hike a local favourite.

GRANDE MOUNTAIN: Day Hike (summit elevation 1,988 m / 6,520 feet) Distance: 5.3 km / 3.3 miles one way | Gain: 768 m / 2,520 feet
Grande Mountain, with its slopes rising directly from the townsite, is Grande Cacheís closest neighboring mountain. This trail allows easy access to great views of Grande Cache and the surrounding area via a steep power line which forces its way up the mountainís southern flanks.

AMBLER MOUNTAIN: Day Hike (1,905 m / 6,250 feet) Distance: 3.8 km / 2.4 miles one way. | Gain: 381 m / 1,250 feet
At just over 1,900m, Ambler Mountain is a small mountain. However, it does just reach into the alpine environment. With a trailhead at an elevation of 1,525m/5,000ft, itís a reasonable goal for a wide variety of people.

During the evening, we might also complete a short hike (6 km return) from our campsite over to Eaton Falls.

EATON FALLS: Day Hike Distance: 3.0 km / 2.0 miles one way. | Gain: 15 m / 50 feet overall
For many who venture into Willmore Wilderness Park on foot, this is their first destination. The trail (actually a very old fire access road) begins from the southwest corner of the Sulphur Gates Staging Area. While there are a few hills to tackle at the start, most people should be able to manage if they take their time. A lesser trail branches right from the main trail and leads the final 0.6 km to the falls. The falls themselves are cut deeply into loose, crumbly sedimentary rock. Caution: Refrain from venturing under the cliffs, as rocks frequently dislodge from above. NOTE: due to construction closures at Sulphur Gates, we will need to follow a horse trail that connects to the trail to Eaton Falls. This may add 0.5-1 km of distance each way to the hike.

On Sunday, my preference would be to hike to the summit of Mount Hammel. This will be a more difficult hike, and we will only attempt this if everyone in the group can demonstrate based on Saturdayís hiking that they are capable of this challenge. Otherwise, we can complete a hike to the summit of any one of the peaks described in the Saturday itinerary that we do not complete on Saturday. We will need to break camp very early to do the Mount Hammel hike hike (my goal will be to be on the trail by 9 AM).

MOUNT HAMELL: Day Hike (summit elevation 2,130 m / 6,986 feet) Gain: 1,128 m / 3,700 feet | Allow 6 - 8 hours round trip
Mount Hamell is the striking mountain to the north of Grande Cache. Its slopes feature everything from small, peaceful meadows to harsh, barren rock faces. As well as good hiking and scrambling in the summer, in winter there are a number of icefalls. You wonít be disappointed, so be sure and bring camera and binoculars since the scenic panoramas open up early and wildlife is abundant. Also, take a moment to marvel at the crazily folded rock strata which makes up the east face of Mount Hamell and the upper walls of Hells Creek gorge. From the top Mount Robson is visible to the south, and the Sir Alexander group to the west.

There are a number of hiking routes up Mt Hamell. Our best option is to hike up the south face of the mountain, which has an easier grade. There is also a route up the north-east ridge, but my understanding is that this a much more difficult hike due to its steepness.

South access: Distance: 9.8 km / 6.0 miles one way. This straight-forward route follows a forest look-out access road up the south side of the mountain. However, its relatively easy grade is more than made up for in distance.

Did you know? The Town of Grande Cache has a program called Passpo rt to the Peaks. A book can be purchased at the Grande Cache Tourism Information Centre that provides a trail description and map for 21 peaks that are located in the vicinity of Grande Cache. At the summit of each peak, we'll find a mailbox that contains a stamp for that peak which can be used to mark a certificate in the Passport to the Peaks book (if you have not yet purchased the book, or do not bring the appropriate page with you, it's also possible to get the page stamped at the Grande Cache Visitor Centre, provided that you are able to provide them with photographic proof that you were at the summit of a particular peak). The mountains in the Passport to the Peaks program are rated as Bronze, Silver or Gold. The Bronze Mountains are typically day hikes with simple wayfinding. The Silver and Gold Mountains involve either multiday adventures, more advanced route finding or require a significant river crossing.

Mount Louie, Grande Mountain, Mount Hamell and Ambler Mountain are all rated as Bronze Mountains, and represent four of the six Bronze Mountains in the Passport to the Peaks. Hikers who have reached all six peaks are eligible to receive a commemorative pin and to have their names engraved on a plaque (besides the four mountains above, the other bronze peaks are Mount Stearn and Flood Mountain). Several of the peaks in the area, including Grande Mountain and Mt. Hamell, are also ascended every summer by runners completing the Canad ian Death Race.

Logistics: We will depart at 5 PM on Friday from Edmonton, and will arrive at Grande Cache, and the Sheep Creek Provincial Recreation Area, late in the evening. We will camp for two nights in Grande Cache; expect to arrive back in Edmonton by mid- evening on Sunday. The campground has basic services (pit toilets, picnic tables, firepits). There is a source of running water at the campground, but please note that Alberta Parks warns that the water may not be potable. I would recommend bringing water, or at the very least a water filter.

Camping fees will depend on the number of people who are staying on each site. The normal fee is $26 per site, plus a $12 reservation see per site. We will be permitted to have up to two tents, and one vehicle, per site.

Required Items to Bring:
Sleeping bag, pad
food for the weekend
bear spray
Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.
hiking poles

How to Get There:
Event Directions:To reach Grande Cache from Edmonton:
  • Travel east on Hwy 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to Hinton
  • An exit to Highway 40 is reached 2 km past Hinton. Travel north on Highway 40 to Grande Cache.

    To reach Sheep Creek Provincial Rec. Area, continue on Highway 40 through Grande Cache for 25 km. The Provincial Recreation Area will be on the right (between Highway 40 and the Smokey River)
  • Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):900Km
    Carpool Departure Time: 5:00 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 $207.00 (calculated at total Km * $0.23, effective Tuesday, May 21, 2019). 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.


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    - 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:$17.50/Person
    Cost Includes:Camping costs will vary depending on the number of people who ultimately participate in this event, and I will update everyone about the expected cost just prior to the trip. I am estimating a cost of $17.50, assuming that 6 people attend, on two campsites.
    Make a Payment:Although there is a cost for this event, you do not pay through the EOC. Please review the event details carefully for information about how/where to make your payment.
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    Suggested donation amount for this event is: $2.00/Person.

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