canada general moosling snow trip reports


On Sunday we revisited Boom Lake two years after I first went there. So this time around I was wise to the fact there really isn’t much elevation gain, and it’s basically a rolling trail both ways. At the moment the trail is a mangled mess of tracks left by hikers, dogs, snowshoes and skis – or perhaps that’s the way it normally is.

It’s not the best trail for the Chariot – you can get it along, but with difficulty at some points, as it tends to be a bit off-camber and narrow in spots. The Ergo would have probably been a better bet, but you just can’t beat a Chariot nap, so I want to keep using it while I can!

the bridge of peril

There’s still a ridiculous amount of snow around.

onto the lake

And at least the Moosling is eating bread now, even if he turns up his nose at pretty much everything else. Well, by eating, I really mean sucking on, and spitting out most of it. But it’s a start.

bread eating

(And as Brendan noted, it went Boom once while we were there)

canada general moosling snow trip reports

The Lake O’Hara Expedition

Seeing as Finn was nearly seven months old, we’d been thinking it was high time he went out for an overnight ski tour. Then the other night we were having dinner with friends, and over cupcakes and charades a plot was hatched. The next day five of us, plus baby, were booked into Elizabeth Parker Hut.

the snow wiggles

It’s roughly a 12 km ski in, 11.5km of that on a nice wide road. The way in is mostly uphill (although I questioned this later, as the way back seemed to be about half uphill as well). And as you ski along, there are helpful little kilometre marker signs on the trees. So after you’ve hauled a heavily loaded Chariot for at least five kilometres, a little sign appears telling you “1 km”.

stopping for lunch

We started at around 11am, and although it was snowy to begin with, it had cleared up nicely by lunchtime.

onwards and upwards


Arriving at the hut about five hours later (we took it slowly, and had a long-ish lunch) we were faced with a choice. There were only two people in the big main hut, so heaps of room for us… or we could open up the little cabin, which was unoccupied, and was only supposed to sleep six. We picked the little cabin.

hut baby

Finn settled in on the big bunk beds and started playing with our nalgene bottles. And anything else he could get his hands on. Who needs toys when you have random objects?

toothbrush baby

After dinner and Smores we collapsed into sleeping bags. Finn was in his polar fleece sleeping sack on a blanket between me and Alex, but by the end of the night it had cooled down, and he was inside my sleeping bag. As a result, most of my top half was not inside my sleeping bag, as although he is small, he has a tendency to sprawl. I’m tempted to try the down quilt idea for further camping with baby adventures.

the view out the front door

Light filtered into the hut the next morning. Two of our number had already disappeared, hoping to ski out a more interesting way, over a couple of passes and a glacier. The rest of us gradually got up… admired the mountains, ate lots of food, drank tea, went for a ski to check out Lake O’Hara (yep, it’s a lake, and it has some very nice mountains around it).

lake o'hara and plateau

Then more food was eaten, and we gradually got our things together to start the ski down. Well, I was thinking about it as a ski down. We had all that elevation to lose, and it had been uphill all the way here, right? We waxed our skis once we reached the road, thinking it would be sufficient for climbing the few hills that were between us and the car. And although there was a really sweet downhill between km 9 and 8, the rest of the road back was pretty rolling. Although it did take us only two hours to reach the car, so it couldn’t have been that bad.

on the way down

Distance: 12km one-way

Elevation gain: 500m

Recommended skis: This could be done on anything from skate skis to heavy touring-for-turns gear. We were on heavy skis, as a few of our party were looking at an interesting route onwards from the hut. And they do make hauling a fully-loaded Chariot uphill a lot easier.

Packing: The Chariot had the Ergo shoved behind the infant sling, along with a blanket. The nappy/diaper changing kit was beside Finn, then our down jackets were stuffed in around his feet and across his legs. Then the back pockets were loaded up with a drink bottle and Finn’s spare clothes (plus the squeaky monkey), and a small backpack was strapped on the back with a few of my things in it (like hut booties!). My sherpa carried my sleeping bag and change of clothes, as well as all of the food.

Nappy/diaper planning: I used disposables for this trip, because hauling all those wet cloth diapers just takes up so much space! (I did the long haul flight to Australia with cloth – just to see if it could be done) I’m interested in trying gDiapers for trips like this in the future – they have inserts you can put into cloth diapers, and then dispose of down a long drop/burn/bury when they’ve been used. And the guys at Ground Truth Trekking use them – and if anyone has thoroughly adventure-tested a product it’s them!

Accommodation options:
We stayed in the ACC’s Elizabeth Parker Hut. If you’re feeling rich you could use the fancier option of the Lake O’Hara Lodge (not cheap!), or the cheapskate option is just camping – although you’ll still need to pay $9.80 per person for a wilderness pass.

canada general snow

to the inkpots

The avalanche danger has been very high recently, so a lot of the more interesting backcountry skiing has to be avoided at all costs. And most of what’s leftover has to be approached with a healthy dose of paranoia.

So on my day off I went and did what was basically a hideously ungroomed nordic trail, with no avalanche danger whatsoever, as it was so flat and far from anything that could conceivably be viewed as a skiable slope. But still pretty.



We kept the mountains at a healthy distance, and there were signs of natural avalanche activity everywhere.


The Inkpots


But there was sun! And even if the downhill back to the car didn’t involve floating through fresh powder, well at least it was downhill.