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How to plan your summer mountaineering trip #4884
Back To Discussion List Written: 2017.07.21 by: Robin Tivy

At this time of the year, lots of people are trying to plan an alpine meadow rambling trip. Myself included. So I get lots of emails asking for ideas. What we are looking for are uncrowded areas where there is reasonable road and trail access to an alpine area, ideally with a few little lakes and meadows, and some peaks you can ramble up. Typically ones that the locals know about, but not "world class" destinations like the National Parks.

Well here is the answer. In the past two years, I've made a point each summer of investigating certain alpine areas known to locals. This year I have put together a list of the "top 30. I call them "Alpine Rambling Areas". Here are the top 30 Alpine Rambling Areas in British Columbia. (You can also find them in the Index under "Alpine Rambling".

From the alpine rambling main page, first click on the map. This brings up a map of all BC showing a star for each area. Then to investigate any area, just click on the icon on the GMap. This brings up a page summarizing that area. Eg: Berg Lake area. To really investigate the access to a given area, click on the regular GMap link on the area page itself. This brings up a regular GMap, showing the boundaries of the area, and the roads and trails.

For example, next month I'm planning a trip to the Telkwa Range near Smithers. It has a big peak but obscure peak in the center called Mount Forster, and is surrounded by alpine terrain with lakes and meadows. Or at least I hope so. So when I bring up a Gmap for the Mount Forster area, I see there are two main access roads to get into that area.

So I have a general idea of going in from the south. So the next thing I want to know is about the nearby campgrounds. It's nice to have a swim and enjoy the area after a mountain trip. So I spent a couple of weeks putting all the Forest service and provincial campgrounds into Bivouac. So that allows you can plan your road trip as well as the alpine. To see campgrounds in the surrounding area. To do that, pick one of the peaks as a center and use "GMap Form". Set the radius to 50 km, and turn on the Campgrounds layers, and turn off the Mountains and roads layers. That way you can see the campgrounds on the map without all the clutter of peaks and roads.

For example I'm planning to go into the Mount Forster area up near Smithers. So I launch "GMap Form" from the Mount Forster page, for 100 km around Mount Forster. I see various red campground icons. Looks like the Helen Lake Rec site might be relevant. So I click on it, and see it is a small site with swimming. Looks nice. Think I'll go there and write a bulletin, and get some photos.

There may be other great alpine areas with easy access known to the locals that we haven't discovered. Often local guidebooks have good potential ideas for a given area. That's the reason Bivouac has a list of all the guidebooks in BC, sorted by rough areas. Right now the books are sorted into some big regions such as "Northern BC". But I intend to improve this list by tying books to the areas you see on the front page map.