Crypt Lake
A moderate hike to a nice lake on the international border.

Day 1 of a weekend trip to Waterton organized by Garnet.


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A number of us headed down to Waterton on Friday night, and set up camp in the townsite.
On Saturday morning, some seven of us took the boat across to hike up to Crypt Lake.
Crypt Lake gets reviews putting it as one of the best hikes you'll ever do, as well as most difficult.
To the average hiker, I can see why this might be so, but if you're into any scrambling it's not that spectacular.
Still a very nice hike, and on a 33 degree day, the water was awesome.

The trip around Middle Waterton Lake is prohibitively long just to get to the trailhead, so most hikers take a boat. The Crypt Lake shuttle crosses the lake a few times in the morning and afternoon, dropping off ~100 hikers to rush the trail at a time.

Rachel and Kelty on the boat ride over.

Mountain and Bear's Hump from the boat on the way over.

The beginning of the trail is a set of switchbacks through forest, broken by the odd view of a waterfall or the valley ahead.
After a way, the trail climbs enough to dip in and out of treeline as it traverses across a long mountainside.

Kelty along the trail.

Laurier rounding a switchback to meet the traverse.

Supposedly, there is a Twin Falls somewhere along the way, as well as a Hell-Roaring.
I took the short trail, and missed Hell Roaring falls, but have no memory or photos of Twin.

First waterfall of the day - Burnt Rock Falls

Closer view of Burnt Rock Falls

A dry streambed of red argyllite along the way.

Erratics near the trail.

A look back along the traverse below Vimy Ridge.

View back down the valley towards Middle Waterton Lake.

Crypt Falls and the tunnel through the mountain - Crypt Lake is in the cirque beyond.

Tarn below the falls.

Crypt Falls from above.

One of the high points of the trip is where the trail actually tunnels through the mountainside, lacking any reasonable way around.
With clear blasting, a ladder entrance, and a cable along the not-narrow ledge at the other side, it's hardly rustic, but still cool.

Tunnel through the mountain.

Laurier and Garnet at the tunnel entrance.

Past the tunnel and bit of ledge walking, you come through a last bit of trees to Crypt Lake.
While not abnormally spectacular, it is a nice lake in a high-walled cirque, and very welcome on a hot day.
The ice and snow was still melting into the lake along some edges, but we all jumped in at least a few times, and spent a few hours lounging at the lakeside.

Crypt Lake.

Garnet jumping in across the lake.

Crypt Lake.

Looking back across the lake from our break point.

Neat rock shelf we ate on and jumped from.

Jean-Francois cooling off in the water.

Garnet going for a leap.

Laurier in mid-jump.

Mike in the water.

Packing up to head back.

Everyone starting back down the trail.

Jean-Francois walks along a rocky bit.

Lake side of the tunnel

Ledge and cable above the tunnel.

Tunnel approach from the lake side.

Kelty in the tunnel.
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Laurier, Mike, Andrew, and Garnet coming out of the tunnel.

Fishies! Our only wildlife of the day.

After our boat ridge back, we went for another swim in Middle Waterton Lake at the public beach.
The next day we lost some people due to sunburns, injury and anniversaries, but some of us went back out for another hike.
See the Carthew-Alderson trail on page 2.

Photos taken by Garnet, Kelty, Jean-Francois, and Rachel.

Page 2       Page 3

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