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Looking for guide/group for day hikes in October...

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Looking for guide/group for day hikes in October...

Hello!

I have read so many forum questions and I have realized my timing is probably the worst.

But I am coming to Edmonton (from Argentina) for a work event in the first week of November, and I decided I cannot make all the way there without seeing some nature.

So I can add 2-3 days (Oct 28-30) to my stay to visit the rockies, and I am considering staying in Lake Louise for the scenery.

However, I can't find any activities... all the hiking guides say the trails are closed or not safe to hike on my own... tour companies have no activities up during that time.

The only things I found open were the Gondola and Upper Hot Springs, but I was hoping to do something more 'active'.

I am 37, moderately fit and enjoy 10-15 km hikes (with mild elevation gain).

Would you let me know if there are hiking guides willing to go out in bad weather conditions? Anyone who might do the icefield tour during those dates? Or what hikes can you recommend for a solo traveler in LL area?

I just read so many bad things about October... I am close to cancelling my visit and I think it's so sad! Such a long way from my country.

Thank you so much in advance!

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15 replies to this topic
Jasper, Canada
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1. Re: Looking for guide/group for day hikes in October...

The trails at higher elevations such as Lake Louise will be getting snowy and icy by that time of year, and there may be avalanche danger. That is why there are no guided hikes at that time of year. To possibly give you some basis for comparison, the Lake Louise ski area base is across the valley from the lake, and they usually open for the season just a couple of weeks later, in mid-November.

If you want to go on a glacier, or somewhere where there is possible avalanche danger, you will need to hire a mountain guide. They have the equipment and knowledge for these activities.

In late October, you can still hike at lower, valley bottom elevations. Have a look at the listing for trails in the area around Banff townsite. www.pc.gc.ca/banff There may be a small amount of snow on them, but likely very little. You do need to dress warmly though, including mittens or gloves, and a warm hat.

Edited: 10:37 am, June 01, 2017
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2. Re: Looking for guide/group for day hikes in October...

Thank you!

I am open to hire a mountain guide, but I am still very un-informed. I wouldn't know where I can go with him/her.

And risk of avalanche doesn't look so tempting for a solo traveler.

Maybe I should better stay in Banff. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me. I truly appreciate it!

Joji

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Banff
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3. Re: Looking for guide/group for day hikes in October...

Hello!

As krp329 mentions, lower elevation hikes are usually still accessible in October (depending on snow levels). I would recommend contacting Parks Canada (banff.vrc@pc.gc.ca) closer to your visit to discuss trail conditions, and if there are any closures/restrictions.

Enjoy your vacation in the Canadian Rockies!

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4. Re: Looking for guide/group for day hikes in October...

Thank you too!

I am just a little bit bummed that LL is not the best place to stay... but I am looking forward now to find a lovely place to stay at Banff and hike there instead.

I appreciate your suggestion for the links!

Joji

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5. Re: Looking for guide/group for day hikes in October...

There's no reason you can't stay in Lake Louise. However, it's not likely there would be much in the way of hiking options there in late October. So it might make more sense to stay in Banff or Canmore and do a day or half day trip to Lake Louise. Also easier in terms of getting there from Edmonton - by the end of October, you'd probably not want to drive via the Icefields Parkway unless you have solid winter driving experience.

As a clarification - Parks Canada (and Alberta Parks) does not close trails for snow/weather. Trails are open year-round except when there is a specific closure due to wildlife issues, severe trail damage or a need to protect delicate flora. Some roads, though, do shut in early October, thus some trails are essentially inaccessible. However, once the snow starts falling, where one can safely go depends on your equipment, winter backcountry experience and safety training. Parks Canada has a couple of excellent brochures about winter activities that show trails which are generally safe for winter usage.

If you wanted to hire a mountain guide - which would cost $450-550 for a day - you need to have a pretty clear plan. They're not hiking guides - you'd hire them with a set mountaineering/climbing goal - i.e. a day of rock climbing, a day on the glacier, a day learning crevasse rescue, a day of scrambling etc. What's possible is based on your skill level and what the guide feels is appropriate given the weather/conditions/skill level. Without your own equipment, you'd need to book with one of the handful of larger companies that can rent/provide equipment - all but one are located in Canmore.

Late October is unfortunately probably not a time when there's much that can be done. By that time of the year, the conditions are generally starting to get wintry (or at least very unpredictable) with snow on the glacier, so probably not a time when a guide would want to take a novice out. Also, days are getting short by late October, and you'd have to drive yourself & the guide round trip from Jasper or Canmore. Doesn't leave a lot of daylight hours for doing things.

I'd not give up on the idea of a trip, but would probably stay in Banff or Canmore and be flexible. You can get some great deals on accommodation then. If we get some good weather, you can do a bit of hiking. If it's not so nice, you can do quicker visits & perhaps have a nice meal in a place with a good view of a lake (i.e Emerald Lake or Lake Louise.

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6. Re: Looking for guide/group for day hikes in October...

To add to the information about low elevation walks and hikes around Banff townsite, here is the TA page on the subject https:/…Local.Walks.html

For a place to stay in the Banff area, but still with lovely scenery, take a look at the Rimrock, the Banff Springs, or - at the more economical end - the Juniper. Also try the Banff Centre.

Edited: 9:49 am, June 03, 2017
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7. Re: Looking for guide/group for day hikes in October...

Thank you so much for this sensible comment!

I helps a lot to plan. I am definitely staying in Banff then, and hopefully i will find good recommendations when I get there.

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8. Re: Looking for guide/group for day hikes in October...

Thank you!!!!

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9. Re: Looking for guide/group for day hikes in October...

2-3 days is very short for what Rockies have to offer. Weather in October could be quite nice and if you are here for nature beauty Lake Louise is place to be. There are plenty of trails you can do at any time of year but as I sad, two days is next to nothing.

You could choose some of the following:

Big Beehive/Lake Agnes, Little Beehive, Devils Thumb (weather permitted + you would need crampons in one section), Fairview Mt., Deception Pass/Skoki Lakes… All are accessible from Chateau Lake Louise.

You would need to rent a car to see Moraine Lake, Emerald Lake, Takakkaw Falls (if road is not closed), Peyto Lake (short walk from parking area), Bow Lake and Bow Falls (an easy hike). You could see all of these in one day.

An other option is to hike to some of ACC huts and stay there overnight (you would need to rent sleeping bag and bring your own food).

A group of us will be camping at Lake O’Hara in October but we will be there about week or two earlier. Otherwise you could have joined us.

A few months ago I have been to Patagonia and I drove your Route 7 from Mendoza to Cristo Redentor de los Andes. It is beautiful but Rockies are breathtaking. You will be sorry for staying only two days.

I wish you a lot of sun in October. You will be amazed and you will have an opportunity to make great pictures.

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10. Re: Looking for guide/group for day hikes in October...

I don't know that a mountaineering guide is exactly what you are looking for. Try these guys:

https://www.greatdivide.ca/

I haven't been out with them, but Joel is an old University friend of mine and he has lived in Banff for a long time. I don't know if they have a "season" but I see they do offer private hikes and they are locals, so I would think so long as they aren't traveling themselves, they can probably accommodate you.

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