Camping at Gwillim Lakes

We spent a magical weekend backpacking into Gwillim Lakes. This is truly my favourite West Kootenay hike and an overnighter was the only way to do it justice!

Hiking in

It took us 2 hours to drive from Nelson to the trailhead and the consensus was the road was in better shape then last year. The last few kilometres were still rough, but were much less an ordeal then remembered, whew!

We schlepped on our backpacks, and began a slow and steady climb to Drinnon Pass. Sunday’s skies were relatively clear and the wildfire smoke only hazed the very distant mountains.

fullsizeoutput_36ae

Looking up at Wicca Peak, on top of Drinnon Pass

We arrived at Gwillim Lakes after about 3 hours of hiking. The campground was a busy place over the long weekend, but we timed things right and got a choice campsite.

Upper Gwillim Lakes/Almost Lucifer Pass

The afternoon’s plan was to make it to the top of Lucifer Pass, a mere +414m climb and 1.5km from the campground.

After climbing to the Upper Gwillim Lakes, we struck a course for the pass, eyeing up a chute that seemed to contain the least amount of giant boulders.

fullsizeoutput_36b4

Approaching Lucifer Pass

fullsizeoutput_36b6

Halfway up Lucifer Pass – Looking back at Upper Gwillim Lakes

Our second move was a bad one. We cut a course straight up to the pass and this landed us in a complex boulder field with large amounts of undercut snow. After much tired problem-solving on the hot rocks, we decided to call it and head back down to camp.

IMG_2910

Almost Lucifer Pass – there is is up there!

Night at Gwillim

The campsite was getting busier with new tents by the time we returned. We headed over to the cooking area by the lake and made dinner with the mosquitoes and flies (there were heaps!).

Watching the sunset glow and fade over the distant peaks was a beautiful way to end the day. The mountains shifted from blue to purple to red and the mirrored pools at Gwillim shone with light.

fullsizeoutput_36bd

Twilight over Gregorio Peak

Just before bedtime, the full moon rose over the distant mountains, huge and brilliant.

Morning Smoke

We awoke to find that wildfire smoke had settled thickly in the Valhallas overnight. The distant peaks had vanished into the sky and the near mountains were glazed over.

The smoke gave everything a mysterious apocalyptic edge. We went for a short walk around one of the lakes to take some pictures, then we packed up camp and headed home.

fullsizeoutput_36b0

Clear Panorama on Sunday

fullsizeoutput_36d0

Smokey Panorama on Monday

fullsizeoutput_36d1

The trail home, down into the smoke

fullsizeoutput_36d2

Smoke at Drinnon Pass

Advertisements

One thought on “Camping at Gwillim Lakes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s