Jasper hike out-cabin October


Oct 27th, 2016, 07:41 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 1
Jasper hike out-cabin October

Hi everyone!

I'm planning a 2 day, 1 night backpacking trip in Jasper and looking to stay in a back country cabin. Preferably a cabin that supplies bedding, but not the whole fancy experience with food and catering, just the middle grade cabins with mattress and a wood stove. It's for two adults, and we're aiming at around 10-15 km per day. It's October, and not much snow out there yet, so this will be an on-foot hike out. We're experienced hikers and backpackers, but have only ever bedded down in tents, so slightly unfamiliar with the best cabins out there. It's for this coming weekend, so pretty short notice, but as this is in between the hiking and skiing seasons, it's usually pretty quiet tourist wise, so we're hoping there will be availability.
If anyone has done a one night stay fitting of my description and could make a recommendation it would be greatly appreciated!
Ps. Primitive cabins are a welcome option as well, just that if we could find one that supplies bedding it would be preferred.

catharsis is offline  
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Oct 27th, 2016, 12:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Actually, there's quite a bit of snow out in the parks now - certainly fairly bare in the townsites other than right after a snow fall, but once you get up just a bit in elevation, winter is most definitely here. Banff has a snowfall warning now with 20+cm expected on parts of the parkway. People are skiing along the parkway in Jasper and Banff NPs. Any backcountry cabin is likely to require tromping through snow, possibly quite a lot of snow - I would check trails conditions very carefully. You need to be prepared for snow and cold.

There's not going to be anything with bedding provided and I don't think any of the basic (ACC) huts are likely to be realistic options either. In Jasper NP, there are only a very few cabins/lodges other than the ACC huts. And because of weather, safety issues (avy runouts) and winter caribou habitat closures, the lodges generally operate from about June to late September. Tonquin Lodge, I believe, shut after Thanksgiving and has a two night minimum. Shovel Pass lodge is July-August only (very snowy now, I'm sure). Tonquin Valley Adventures closed as of Thanksgiving. They reopen for skiers in February or March, depending on the timing of the caribou habitat closures.

At the moment, the only options would be Alpine Club of Canada huts, and those are very rustic. They have cooking facilities, and usually a wood stove, but outhouses and only mats for bedding. You would need to book through ACC, and then also purchase wilderness passes (from the Parks Canada office) for each person for each night.

It would definitely be very snowy up to the Fryatt Hut, and I'd not go anywhere near that headwall with avalanche safety gear/training once the snow starts falling. It also would be a very long hike, especially in snowy conditions.

The other option is the Wates-Gibson Hut.

However, the Edith Cavell Road is closed to traffic for the season, so it's a very long walk up to the start of the trail, and the trail conditions indicate that trail is snow covered. Even at the best of times, that trail is pretty mucky, so I can't imagine it would be a fun hike with snow. It's about 15+ km if the road is open (albeit mostly flat), probably add another 8-10 km to hike up the road.

Hut is basic - wood stove, propane cooking facilities, outhouse, water from the lake and one big loft with large sleeping mats. There is availability this weekend, but as I said, you're looking at a long hike and trail reports indicate snow covered trails. Also, you would need to confirm with ACC that there's still firewood - the hut closes as of November, so there may or may not much in the way of firewood there at the moment.

To be honest, I would get some up to date beta on trail conditions, and see if it's even worth heading out. Sounds like Jasper will be getting snow today/tonight with quite cold temperatures the rest of the week. I suspect only the very valley bottom trails will be hikeable. Your best bet is either a Hi wilderness hostel (if it's open, Athabasca Falls is a good location) or just get a good deal at one of the PHAs in town and do a day hike if possible.
kgsneds is offline  
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Oct 27th, 2016, 12:06 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Two corrections

- Wouldn't go on the headwill WITHOUT avy gear

And the Wates-Gibson Hut shuts as of November 1 (which is why firewood stores may be low)
kgsneds is offline  
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Oct 29th, 2016, 11:19 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Please stay at the HI Hostel outside Jasper.
There are a couple cabins that are also operated by Hosteling International that you can rent at the desk at the main hostel.
I have stayed several times at this hostel. The kitchen is good and you can do laundry and get a hot shower.
tomfuller is offline  
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