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Mount Willis - A White Goat Wilderness Gem
Timestamp Free: 2018.10.19 - 04:26:33
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Front Ranges / Cataract Group
  (2 days)     Elevation Gain: 2000m
Participants: Eric C, Vern D
Difficulty: 3: A moderate scramble up typical Rockies choss.
A remote trip up the relatively untraveled Mount Willis in the White Goat Wilderness
By 07:00 on Friday, Eric and I were hiking along the 2km road to the offical trailhead for Nigel Pass. The old Nigel Pass trail descends immediately south from the parking lot, but the bridge over a raging Nigel Creek is no longer there, so an alternate route has been put into use. It's a boring road, but the going is quick and soon we were cutting through a horse corral and crossing the creek via three log bridges before setting off on the proper Nigel Pass trail under a brilliant blue sky. Frost was on the bushes and grasses and fall was firmly in the air. The trail was well maintained, apparently the Brazeau Loop is one of Jasper National Park's jewels and so the trail is well maintained.

[photo]MountWillisRoute.jpg[caption]This is our day one route, first up to Cataract Pass and then all the way to Willis at the top right.[/photo]

The trail does have one annoying habit. Every time it crosses a gully system it loses and regains height, rather than snaking along the same contour line around the nose of the ridges. I'm not sure if this is because it was originally a horse trail (so who cares about such things as maintaining elevation) but it was especially annoying on the way out.

[photo]willis003.jpg[caption]More of the terrain on the Nigel Pass trail - the mountain on the left is unnamed, a very common theme for this area as there are very few named summits here.[/photo]

After ascending a steep section to the pass, the views behind and ahead of us improved dramatically. A deep blue sky combined with the fall colors in the foliage and shrubs along the valleys and streams presented us with that unique September palette that has to be experienced to be believed. We descended briefly to cross the Brazeau River on small boulders - the river was very shallow...

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