Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Spectacular Icefields Parkway – Part 1

27th June: Jasper to Columbia Icefield

Odometer: 106 km, Start: 9.00am, Finish: 5.15pm, Avg: 16.0 km/h,
Weather: Mostly cloudy, some sunny intervals, Temp: 14-20°C
Bear count: 5, Moose count: 1, Mosquito Bites: 31, Hills walked: 0
Road Conditions: #93, 2-3m shoulder, but is poor for cycling. Perpendicular cracks every few metres make it a bumpy affair. The scenery takes your mind off it though... Traffic light and limited to 70-90km/h. Restaurants at 54km, 104km. Hard 5km climb @9% at end of ride. Otherwise reasonably gentle climbing most of the day. Ascent: 1130m up/440m down.

My friend Bryan from Vancouver had pre-warned me of the poor riding surface of the shoulder on the Icefileds Parkway. It was quite bumpy and annoying, but the views kind of took your mind of it reasonably well!

Two views early on the Icefields Parkway

I met up with Mirjam and Frans from the Netherlands quite early on and we were evenly matched and cycled the rest of the day together. Which was very nice. We later met up with two further dutch cyclists for a loose five on the road.

The two Dutch girls
And me makes five!

The mountains were spectacular, even though the cloud cover was quite extensive. They were high mountains too, lots of peaks well over 3,000m. We climbed steadily most of the day from 1,000m at Jasper to 2,000m where we are camped just above the Columbia Icefield tonight.

Our target is the mountain in the middle
Our wide valley is about to narrow...

As we headed towards the Columbia Icefield the wind got up making it tough and the wide valley we’d been cycling through for most of the day got narrower. We then had to climb sharply, up the lower Sunwapta Pass slopes. A nasty 5km @ 9% at the end of the day!

Approaching the Columbia Icefield
The Columbia Icefield

All five of us are camped together tonight and have been chatting in a shelter on the campsite (they kindly spoke English for me!) as the heavy showers rained down. Hopefully it will have cleared by the morning and we can enjoy the spectacular Icefields Parkway (part 2). 


Jason Dalton said...

I think it should be their language tomorrow!? Amazing pictures… brilliant!

R & A said...

Caught up again, you certainly deserve those rest days. Great reading. Like the sound of the electrified fence.

R & A said...

Out on to the flatter terrain, should be interesting photos.

R & A said...

Am Liking views but not the way you are doing it car would suit R

R & A said...

I think the lorries and cars were being kind giving you a shower, they obviously noticed you were getting tired or hot