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The Southern Great Divide Trail+, A Six-Day Spring Adventure
Timestamp Free: 2019.01.16 - 16:41:59
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Border Ranges
  (6 days)
Participants: Rick Collier, Mardy Roberts
Difficulty: 3: Moderate to difficult scrambling; some route-finding problems
This lengthy article details a backpacking trip from Akamina Pass to West Castle, during which most of the intervening peaks were ascended
I had long been fascinated with stories of the Great Divide Trail, that lengthy backpack from the Canada/US border to Jasper and Robson, and had read, with awe and enthusiasm, most of Dustin Lynx's book (Hiking the Great Divide Trail), a volume that parses this excursion into bite-sized chunks. I also had some climbing associates - David Mulligan and Christine Grotefeld - who had hiked most of the southern section (US border to the Crowsnest highway).

I had, of course, already been working on my alternative to the official GDT, a route that wanders down through much of the Front Ranges and takes in some countryside that is every bit as wild and forbidding as that which Lynx describes. I had hiked most of the pieces of this alternate route as the result of a large number of ramblings, most of which were attached to climbing one exotic peak or another; essentially I had knit together front country trails and ridges from Kootenay Plains to Blairmore. The only section left was the stretch between Blairmore and the border, about an 85 km crow fly. I did not want to simply follow the official GDT, partly because, well, that's the way everyone who hikes the GDT goes, but mostly to see if perhaps there might be a route that cleaved much more exactly to the true divide, the GDT path departing from this crest at the intersection with Barnaby Ridge and then drifting to the east as it travels north. But perhaps most importantly for an old scrambler like myself, I noted that the GDT passes next to (and occasionally ascends) most of the peaks that straddle the southern portion of the Divide.

So it was that I began to study maps, consult weather forecasts, and accumulate beta on the snowpack, hoping that it might be possible to follow Lynx's GDT in the south and then...

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