Sentinel, Eiffel and Wenkchemna - Moraine Lake area

20 km    850 m elevation gain

I've wanted to see this area for a very long time but it's basically inaccessible most years due to crowds and having to pre-book a shuttle (I think it was supposed to be a lottery in 2020).  We had a debate about when to drive to the parking lot from the Chateau and compromised with a 6:45 arrival.....and there were no spaces.  We had to wait for someone to leave, ah the stress!  People do come up here to watch the sunrise so happily a few of them were heading back out.

First up was a little detour up the Rockpile for a view of Moraine in the early morning sun (above).

We headed onto the trail at 7:20 after having a pastry in the car.  The sun was glorious.  Switchbacks take you up about 350m to the edge of Larch Valley then views open up.

We continued up to the larger Upper Minnestimma Lake which was about 60% frozen still.  

Sentinel Pass is directly behind the lake, at first we thought it would be no problem but after dealing with the first couple of patches of snow/ice before a steep hellish looking climb we decided today was not our day.  

The view was still outstanding though.  We descended past smaller Lower Minnestimma Lake.

At this point we noticed people on the shoulder of Eiffel so we headed up there to continue the adventure.

The view was pretty good from there also.  It was completely deserted, enjoying this beautiful area without crowds was magical.

We had a fantastic vista of the 10 Peaks from the other side.

Since it was still a perfect weather day we went back to the trail junction to follow the Wenkchemna Pass trail to see what that looked like.

I could have sat listening to this stream all day, the air was so cool and fresh.

The Wenkchemna trail was essentially flat which was nice, we followed it to a view of Eiffel Lake and the pass itself.  Plenty flowers were out and we had a closer up view of the extensive moraine behind the lake.  

Eiffel Lake and the pass. 

Finally we accepted we'd need to head back down.  The Moraine Lake Lodge is right at the bottom of the trail so we stopped in for some homemade soup and treats. Splendid afternoon!

Table with a view.

We drove back to Lake Louise where we enjoyed some canoeing in the early evening sun.  What a perfect day.


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