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Haffner Creek - After the Burn # 5828

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Date: 2004.08.04
Vantage Point: From path to upper valley

Caption: The remains of Haffner Creek after the big fires in the summer of 2003. Vermilion Peak is at the left and the W slopes of Stanley form the right side of the picture.

PhotoDescr: The Tokumm Creek fire spread all of the way to the upper valley of Haffner Creek to Ball Basin. Nothing was spared to the treeline on either side of the valley except some slopes and bit of forest below the E facing cliffs of Mount Haffner. In fact, if you look to the middle left you should be able to see some green there.

My friend and I attempted Mount Ball in early August and were unsure of how the fire would affect using Haffner Creek as access. You see, when I was up there in 1991 I found the bushwacking very brutal for the Rockies, and when we climbed Beatrice Peak the register contained numerous comments about the bushwacking, some referring to it as Cambodia. Those days are gone for a while now. We got permission for a bivi permit and found that with everything burned the going was actually quite good, very difficult hiking though. I did however find out that slide alder can be just as much of pain in the ass when 80% burned and drooping as when it is alive.

One other thing I wanted to mention is that if you look to the middle right edge of the picture you can see a creek running down to the left. That creek comes out of a cave at the base of the cliff band that you can see above it. In fact, 2 other small creeks further to the left and not visible in the picture start in caves in that cliff band. When we attempted Ball in 1991 we walked along the lower band and encountered the creeks (don't ask what we were doing there, remember at that time the whole valley was thick bush)

After much thought and looking at the maps and TRIM, that water can only come from 1 of 2 places. Old snowpack in the S basin of Stanley (less likely )or water from the benched Stanley Glacier flows out the backside to Haffner Creek. I will be back to investigate this further when I attempt Ball next summer, or go back on a trip to find some more Trilobites.

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