May 7, 2012
Lipalian Mountain is one of those that’re highly visible just across the valley from Lake Louise and has some ski hills on its sides. It’s not a major summit by any mean, but does offer some great winter opportunity. In particular, it forms the classic Pumpkin ski traverse with the nearby Purple Peak and Unity Peak. I wasn’t interested in tagging Unity Peak due to avalanche concern so this was my second objective of the day, after summitting Purple Peak in the morning.
From the summit of Purple Peak I had to lose 50-100 m elevation on the connecting ridge, but nothing major in terms of technical difficulty. It took me about 40 minutes from Purple to Lipalian and the views were mind-blowing especially looking towards the giants by Lake Louise.
It was only 9:20 am, so that means I still had lots of time. I managed to convince myself to traverse to Unity Peak. The first thing to do was to get back to Purple Peak and from there I descended the ridge connecting Purple to Unity. From the col, the route described in Chic Scott’s Summit and Icefields looks pretty avalanche prone especially since the sun was out on full force baking that south slope. Since I was soloing, I didn’t want to take a chance, so I headed back down Purple Bowl. There’re some steep slopes too. I knew Josee and Fab ascended Unity from an alternative route, and I started to look for their tracks. I could even hear their voices up on the ridge, but I couldn’t find any ski tracks… I did see some avalanche paths offering a “direct” route but weren’t sure about the stability, so I abandoned the idea of ascending Unity. (For those of you being curious, I made a successful ascent of Unity Peak on December 12, 2012).
I took a long lunch break at treeline, and leisurely descended back to car. It’s funny that I used 4 hours on the way down, but 3 hours 10 minutes on the way up… On the way back, I noticed there’s even a ski run from parking lot to Temple Lodge, not just the road… Oh well, I’m getting familiar with this area anyway.
I went to Lake Louise lake shore for some photographing. Even though it’s off-season and it’s Monday, Lake Louise is always busy… On the way back, I decided to take Bow Valley Parkway. I saw a grizzly bear on roadside and took some close photos on him…