Hike: Whistler Mountain - Jasper national Park - Alberta, Canada

Quick Summary

Difficulty: Moderate - Hard: Steep, but groomed trail
Distance:
Elevation gain:
Time taken: 3 hrs up, 1 hr down
Date of Hike: 1994, 1991
Cool points: Ok View, Can buy food at the top.
What it's Not: A good hike to get away from people
Recommendations: If you are with a family, do take Gondola up, there is still a bit of a hike (30 mins worth) to get to the top of the peak that would be a challenge for younger hikers.
Notes: If you Hike up, you Hike down, no free rides.
Whistlers High map

"Map is Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, Department of Natural Resources. All rights reserved."
map from the website http://toporama.cits.rncan.gc.ca/toporama_en.html

Ramble on about the hike

I have been to the top of Whistler mountain 3 times. Once when I was very young and I barely remember it (it may have been a different mountain even). The second time was on my first hike up a mountain with two friends, and the final time was on the gondola ride to the top with another group of friends.

On the trip where we hiked up the mountain, we had driven to Jasper with the intent of going on a 'real' hike. Because we were in Jasper, you have to camp at one of the established camp sites. We chose to stay at the __________ campsite located a couple of kilometers south of the Jasper town site. The nearest mountain to this camp site is Whistler mountain, and that is what lead us to choose our mountain to conquer.

We chose to walk from the campsite to the trail head, this walk was along the campsite road, and then the road up to the gondola lift. (if you want to go on this hike, probably a good idea to drive to the base of the hike, there is lots of room to park). Once we made it to the gondola lift, we decided that we would hike to the top and ride down on the lift, we were mistakenly told that this was allowed.

The initial portion of the hike was through the trees, with no view of anything. The only exception of this is when you cut across the gondolas cut-line. At this early on stage of the hike that we were in for some real exercise. We were told that most people make it to the top of the hill in about 3hrs, we were told that the fastest hike up was by some army guy who ran up the entire mountain, apparently he did it in 15 minutes. So being young and stupid, we thought we would make it up in about 1-2 hours. by the time we got to the gondola cut line, we were an hour into out hike, and no where near the top of the mountain, with the steep portions of the hike ahead of us.

The trail comes out of the trees at one point, where it veers up the mountain. It follows the edge of a rock slide up the rest of the trail. After alot of huffing, and puffing and resting, we made it to the top of the gondola after a bit longer than 3 hours from the onset of our hiking trip.

The remainder of the hike to the top of the peak is fairly easy for anyone in reasonable shape. it is also the portion of the hike that provides the best views. I remember that there was still patches of snow up on the mountain (probably not from winter, but from a recent snow fall) We spent some time sliding around and having a snowball fight in the middle of summer. We decided that it was time to head down.

Once we made it back to the top of the gondola lift, we were told that no ticket, no ride. So off we set down the mountain. Of course down was alot faster than going up, however it was still very tiring, using muscles that I normally do not use. On the way down, I happened to glance over at the slide, we saw what looked like a 'sasquash, or big foot' type creature. I kid you not!, it looked like a harry human sitting on one of the rocks proping his head up with one of his hands. (sort of like that statue from ancient times with the guy looking like he is really thinking hard about something). It was really freaky, it looked like he was not moving at all looking at us. Of course it was not some sort of big foot, it was just a log in amongst the debree (sp?) of the rock slide. I think I have a picture of it somewhere, I'll put it up if I can find it.

when we got back to camp, needless to say we were three tired hikers. From that day, Robert and myself have been hooked on hiking, he is the person that is usually dragging me off to the mountains, or vice versa I am hauling him out.

The second time I went to the top of whistler was with my girl friend, and a couple of her friends. We took the gondola up the hill, it was ok, we got the tourists speech as we went up, and it provided a good view for the whole trip up. Once at the top, we still had about 45 minutes up to the top of the peak. So it was the kind of think you can do in a few hours if you are in Jasper, and don't have a full day to stomp up the hill. I forget how much it cost, but no doubt the price is gone up considerably, as since then the parks are charging alot more for everything.

Lessons Learned on this trip.

If you are hiking up a real mountain, even with a good trail, so be in reasonable physical shape. We were quite out of shape, this was our first hike of the year, and believe me we felt it for days afterwards.

Bring a camera if you are hiking, just encase you do see bigfoot :-), or just for the great views from the top.

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