Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year when the leaves turn golden and red colors. It is also an amazing time to hike in the Alpine, especially to see Alpine Larches. These trees can be found in the south eastern or southern parts of BC in alpine areas such as Mount Frosty in Manning Park, and the Canadian Rockies and can grow on rocky soil and in colder temperatures. The trees are known for their golden color and the best time to see them is in early to mid September. See: http://bcadventure.com/adventure/wilderness/forest/alpinela.htm
This past fall I had the opportunity of leading a group of keen hikers first on a camping trip to Mount Frosty and then two weeks later as a day hike. This article is about my camping trip.
Mount Frosty is the highest peak in Manning Park at 2408 metres in height, with an elevation gain of 1158 metres from the Lightning Lake entrance. It is not a difficult trail until you get to the base of the peak but one must be in decent physical condition as it will take anywhere between 8 – 10 hours to complete. Just before you reach the base of Mount Frosty, you are treated a spectacular grove of Larch Trees for at least 2 – 3 kilometres.
Most of the trees are tall and gangly while others are short. Each year thousands of hikers, photographers, and adventurers make the trek up to see these stunning trees and they are not disappointed. My first time hiking up Mount Frosty was in the summer of 2012 and it was stunning then, but in the fall it is amazing. I decided to camp up there in early September a long with a few others from the Vanhiker meetup group.
We stayed at Frosty Creek campground located roughly four kilometres from the peak. There is a log cabin shelter there, fire pit, outhouse, bear cache and a very small dried up creek. The site is big enough for at least 8 tents however, there are no tent pads. If you are going to stay at the campsite you need to register with BC Parks first and get your permit otherwise you could face a hefty fine. It was quite cool the weekend we went and the mountain received its first snowfall. Fortunately, I was prepared with a three – early fourth season tent, warm sleeping bag, extra clothing, and stove.
After setting up camp, we headed towards the Larch Meadows as they are called and we were not disappointed. Myself and one other hiker decided not to hike up the peak as it was quite foggy, so we decided to go to a lookout point just below the below peak. The peak can be tricky to climb as there is a lot of loose rock.
If you decide to hike Mount Frosty, here are a few things you need to know.
If you go in the fall:
- Always take extra extra clothing and base layers
- At least 2 litres or more of water and food
- Hiking poles if you use them
- Warm gloves
- If you are camping, a three or four season tent is recommended as it gets quite cold up there
- Warm sleeping bag
- Something to start a fire with
- Emergency supplies
- Good hiking footware
- Always leave a trip plan with someone
- Emergency blankets and first aid kits
- There is no cell service up there so you may want to bring one of those that work in the backcountry in case of emergencies
- Your camera. You will regret it if you don’t
- 22.2 km from the Lightning Lake entrance
- Estimated time 8 – 10 hours
- 1158 metres with the max elevation being 2408 and average grade 8.8 %
Mount Frosty has become one of my favorite fall hikes.
My Riorand tent (the green one) is rated four season on Amazon but it is really meant for early fourth season. It is on the heavy side but it has lots of room for one person but sleeps two. The green fly covers the tent completely and has kept me dry during rainy, and windy periods on the mountain. It is great if you are camping one or two nights.
It is a great little tent for the price and can purchased from Amazon. http://amzn.to/2EpMeAN
My sleeping bag was the warmest I have ever used.
The Mountain Warehouse Summit 250