Skyline Hikers of the Canadian Rockies

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2022 at Whiteman Pass

May 1, 2022

Dear 2022 Skyliners, Life Members and loyal Skyliners from camps past, it is with profound disappointment that your Executive, supported by our Council, has voted to cancel our 2022 camps at our White Man Pass camp in British Columbia. We needed 200 Skyliners to cover our 2022 costs, but paid registrations stalled at 130 by the end of April, versus about 200 Skyliners at this point in 2016, the last time we enjoyed White Man Pass camps. Your Camp Managers and Chief Hike Leaders worked hard to try and bring the numbers up, but the last minute registrants were insufficient to avoid a >$60k budget shortfall.

Your Executive, with Council’s help, is exploring securing an alternate back-country experience in the Canadian Rockies, so we can at least offer the Skyline Experience this summer. We hope to confirm the details this week and make an announcement by Saturday May 7th. What does this mean for Skyliners who have paid their 2022 Camp Fees? If our alternate Skyline Experience is of interest to you, paid-up registrants will be given the first option to secure limited spaces, in the order that their registrations were received.

If you do not wish to consider OR are unable to attend the proposed alternate, Skyline Hikers will refund all Camp Fees during May, with the exception of your 2022 Membership Fees.

Despite this setback for 2022, your Executive and Council continue to plan 2023 camps with our National & Provincial Parks partners, as the pandemic recedes. Please also be aware we will be carefully re-examining how to make our current operating model more robust and fiscally sustainable. Please join us as a volunteer on our “New Sites/New Ways" sub-committee preparing future camps in the Canadian Rockies.

In closing, I thank you for your ongoing support of Skyline Hikers and look forward to seeing you on the trails in the future..

Regards, Michael Taylor, President, for the Executive Skyline Hikers of the Canadian Rockies

The information on this page is no longer valid for 2022.

Our 2022 camp is located on the British Columbia side of the continental divide and on the Banff National Park boundary. This is a popular site with our hikers and was last visited in 2016 and 2009 (see video).

This year's camp dates are:
  • July 18 to 23
  • July 25 to 30
  • August 1 to 6
  • August 8 to 13
  • August 15 to 20

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The camp is located inside of Whiteman Pass (as shown below) between White Man Mountain and Red Man Mountain. The camp offers easy access to the trails along the continental divide, such as Redman Shoulder (shown below).

Photo courtesy of Kristina Sinzig  Photo courtesy of Gerry Sinzig

The easy trail into camp starts at the Cross River road and is about 4 km in length, with one bridge and a total elevation gain of 470 meters.

A choice of 5 or 6 hikes will be offered each day from camp. Each day hike was led by an experienced volunteer leader. Hikers should be prepared to hike over rough trails (many above the tree line) for 5 to 25 km per day with elevation gains of 200 to 1000 meters. Hike times will average 6 to 7 hours per day including stops.

Photo coutesy of Susan Harris  Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Sinzig

Photo courtesy of Wendy Aitkens

Photo coutesy of Kristina Sinzig  Photo coutesy of Kristina Sinzig

Camp life provides an interesting contrast to the peacefulness of the trail. Meal times in the dining tent are happy, noisy affairs. The camaraderie continues around the evening campfire where a description of hikes planned for the following day were given. It is also a time for singing, recounting of the day's events and telling of tall tales.

Photo courtesy of Dawn Nordman  Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Sinzig

  Photo courtesy of Robert Vanderzweerde

Maps

Topographical Map References:

  • Mount Assiniboine 82 J/13
  • Spray Lakes 82 J/l4
  • Kananaskis Lakes 82 J/l1

Gem Trek maps:

  • First choice: Kananaskis Lakes, Scale 1:50,000
  • Second choice: Banff & Mount Assiniboine, Scale 1:100,000

Shown below is a topographical map from the Government of Canada's GeoGratis service (used under license). Click on the map to see a larger image.

History of the Area

Captain John Palliser (see picture) was the leader of the Palliser Expedition which explored the prairies and southern Rockies from 1857 to 1860. Can you imagine approaching the front ranges of the Rockies with no map of any kind and nearly all of the features unnamed? Palliser split his expedition into three groups. Lt. Thomas Blakiston went south into Waterton; Dr. James Hector explored the Bow Valley, Vermillion Pass and Kicking Horse Pass, the North Saskatchewan and Athabasca River regions. Palliser travelled to the headwaters of the Kananaskis River and went down the Palliser River to the Kootenay River valley. The Palliser Expedition produced some of the first maps of these mountain areas and named many of the prominent features.

White Man Pass (2149m / 7050 ft) (also known as Cross Pass) was named by Palliser in 1858. Father Jean de Smet had crossed this pass in 1845 and may have been the white man the natives referred to in conversation with Captain Palliser. It could also have been the white men in James Sinclair's Red River group of immigrants that traversed the pass earlier in 1841. Father de Smet built a "Cross of Peace" at the summit of the pass; hence the name of Cross Lake near the pass and the Cross River west of the pass. White Man Mountain, 2977m /9768 ft , is on the south side and Red Man Mountain, 2905m / 9531 ft, is on the north side of White Man Pass.

Spray Pass (1935m /6350 ft), River, and Lakes carry a descriptive name associated with swiftly moving water.

The majority of the peaks and lakes in this area were named by the Interprovincial Boundary Commission Survey team who surveyed the 1000 kilometre long Continental Divide between 1913 and 1924. These men were working in the peace and beauty of the Rockies while many of their friends, relatives, and former co-workers were among the troops fighting the horrific battles of WW1 in Europe. Patriotism was high during and following WW1 and many names relate to this conflict commemorating military people, battlegrounds, and warships.

R.W. Cautley was the Alberta representative on the survey and was responsible for detailed work in and near the passes. The British Columbia representative was Arthur Wheeler who mapped the high mountains between the passes. Wheeler was co-founder of the Alpine Club of Canada. He probably saw more of the Canadian Rockies than any other person with the boundary survey and four decades in the Alpine Club.


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