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Geraldine Lakes to Fryatt Valley Traverse
Timestamp Free: 2020.09.25 - 04:16:58
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Park Ranges
(1 days) Elevation Gain: 1500m
Participants: Logan Elliott
Difficulty: 3: An easy 3. Even with a GPS track you'll have to read the terrain and do some minor routefinding to find the way that works best for you. Very rocky for much of the day, even on the trails, so sturdy ankles are a must. Thick bushwacking was necessary for the route I took but it only lasted a couple km. You could theoretically scramble up and around the treeline but the exposure would be much greater.
Total distance about 45km, so some may not be willing/able to complete in a day.
Snow and glacier hazards may be present along the route if attempted before August. Bypassing would depend on how comfortable you are with scrambling.
A mostly unmarked, unnamed, seldom-attempted route that links the ends of the Geraldine Lakes and Fryatt Valley trails in Jasper. Very rocky, some bushwacking to be had, and options for scrambling.
I started at around 7am at the Geraldine trailhead. Pushed hard to get past the 4th lake as quick as possible since I was unsure of how long the traverse would take me once I got off-trail. On Gaia Topo there is a GPS track that takes you to the 4th lake and beyond (official Parks Canada trail ends at 2nd lake), but use this track with caution as it leads to a bivy site for climbers attempting Mount Fryatt. Once past the 4th lake and with most of the elevation already complete, you will want to descend into the valley beyond instead of following the Gaia track and sidehilling above it.
Once up past the 4th lake, I descended into the unnamed valley (use caution - it is quite steep) using an old drainage path where the slope eases up a bit. I crossed the valley to the southwest of a beautiful lake and then continued up to the sloped of an unnamed mountain. Instead of descending further to the 2nd lake in this valley, I began sidehilling south across the mountain, gradually ending up heading south-east towards the pass that provides safe access to the Fryatt valley. The bushwacking is heaviest during the sidehilling, but I found this to be an advantage as I would not have attempted to traverse such a steep slope without the protection of the trees that allowed for endless handholds and safety points. I do not recommend going below 2050m of elevation as you increase your potential for exposure as well as missing the "ledge" that I was sidehilling to get onto.
Eventually the trees become less numerous as you get to the beginning of the pass and the bottom of the drainage that comes down. Mt. Lapensee and Mt. Belanger should be to the south-east of you at this point in relatively plain view. Continue up the stream, over myriad boulders and rocks up the valley/pass....
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