Sentinel Pass

Elevation: 2610 m
Elevation Gain: 720 m
My Ascents:
July 5 2013, October 10 2011, September 23 2008

For once, my bi-monthly Friday off work coincided with a day off for Brianne. Stranger still, both of her parents had a free day that day as well (you’ve never met busier retired people)! Crux, as always, also had the day off. Seeking to take advantage of the rare alignment of the planets which resulted in us all having a free day, we pointed our wagons west and met at the Petro Canada on the Trans-Canada highway. From there, we pooled into one wagon and headed further west to Moraine Lake, where Brianne and I hoped that the weather would hold while we took her parents up Sentinel Pass – one of the most spectacular hikes in the Rockies.

The standard post-card view of Moraine Lake. You know a hike is going to be pretty when it already looks like this 1 minute out of the parking lot!

After sweating our way up “endless” switchbacks in the trees, the hike finally starts to pay off in Larch Valley with views of Eiffel Peak (left) and Pinnacle Mountain (right).

One of the locals. A friend for Crux?

The million dollar view of the Valley of the Ten Peaks from above Larch Valley. From left to right: Mount Babel, Mount Fay, Mount Bowlen, Tonsa Peak and Mount Perren.

Scouting out the “tourist route” up Mount Temple…still a lot of snow through the grey and cream colored bands.

Crux having his lunch hand-fed to him during a pit-stop at the Minnestima Lakes.

Karen and Gary carefully make their way across an outlet stream.


Above the lakes, things got snowier in a hurry – we had to cross several steep patches of snow to reach our destination.

Another party crossing one of the larger snow patches as they descend.

The triumphant conqueror: Karen atop Sentinel Pass! Her screams of joy could be heard echoing all the way down Paradise Valley! ;)

The view down the pass to Paradise Valley. From left to right: Mount Lefroy, the Grand Sentinel, the Mitre and Mount Aberdeen.

Scouting out a potential scramble route up one of the Lake Louise giants: Mount Aberdeen. A touch snowy for now but the major snow-filled gully (classic descent route for those climbing the glacier on the peak’s other side) looks like a viable line of ascent from here!

The impressive Grand Sentinel below glaciated Mount Lefroy.

One of my favorite views in the Rockies and it’s not even from a summit (shhh…don’t tell anyone)! From left to right: Mount Fay, Mount Bowlen, Tonsa Peak, Mount Perren, Mount Allen and Mount Tuzo loom large above Larch Valley.

One of the Minnestima Lakes a long ways down.

Crux in his usual spot – atop a pile of snow.

Gary found a warmer – but no less scenic – spot to sit.

Despite heavy rain in Calgary and Canmore, everyone up Sentinel Pass enjoyed the warm July sun!

Family photo before heading down in search of ice cream.

Gary and Karen make their way down the steep, switch-backed slope of Sentinel Pass.

Brianne crosses a scenic creek on the way out.

The Fay Glacier dominates the view on the hike out.

Steep couloirs and a large cornice guard the summit of Mount Fay above the bergschrund.

A large icefall lower down on Mount Fay.

Enjoying the scenery – big and small! Another great day in the Rockies with great company! We should all have a day off at the same time more often!