Twin Teahouse Trek of Terror

Trip Start Feb 16, 2011
Trip End Jun 11, 2012

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Friday, September 16, 2011

Twin Teahouse Trek of Terror (a lesson on adjectives)

It was an eerily cold Thursday morning as I recoiled in the horror of having only one hour to nap after work before heading downtown to meet the Grand Nature Club. Waking up tired, I quickly got dressed and walked briskly in the cool morning air towards my fate. Upon meeting Pavel and Marc at the Mount Royal Hotel, we drove up the never ending highway towards Lake Louise. Thankfully we found a car park as we arrived and fearlessly we braved our souls through hoards of snap-happy tourists towards the trailhead.

We strode up the steep incline, eager to leave the marauding masses below us and before long we reached the unnaturally shallow Mirror Lake which had been mysteriously transformed into a puddle. To avoid the Little Beehive with its evil, swarming adversaries, we ventured left and up along the base of the Big Beehive which loomed above us like an unscaleable castle wall. The final stairs left us breathless as we reached the Lake Agnes Teahouse - a serene oasis in a landscape of terrifying beauty which surrounded us. Pausing only to acquire our beverage voucher for the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse, we encircled the perimeter of the lake and were faced with the seven switchbacks of doom. Perilously we climbed in one direction before being forced to turn around and face the opposite direction. The switchbacks took their toll on our enthusiasm and drained us of our energy so we collapsed and cautiously studied the map to find the next route to our destination.

Three trails of terror presented themselves before us, each more horrifying than the last. To continue straight forth would bring us to the Plain of Six Glaciers – an obvious route, but awash with onerous tourists. To our left would mean venturing along the top of the Big Beehive and possibly tackling giant, evil, buzzing foes and certain death. To our right meant tackling the ominous Devil's Thumb which stuck out before us like a mocking tongue on a playground child. The only choice was to conquer this Devil’s Thumb, stand upon its vantage point and prove to all of humanity and the terrifying landscape below us that we were gods.

Turning right, we clambered up the first set of escarpments which set out to defy us. As we continued along the side, we viewed the unobtainable beauty of the Plain of Six Glaciers which stood before us in the distance. After ten uneasy minutes, we reached the base of a dusty and challenging vertical ascent. Digging deep into our souls we muster all the energy we required, we cautiously and slowly started the ascent. Our laborious breathing forced us to stop several times and curse the difficult environment and trail route before we eventually made it up to the top of the ascent. Our joy in reaching this point alive was immeasurable and I spotted a mountain goat off to the side. It seemed to make the challenging tasks of hillside scrambling an easy task! We didn’t halt long on the saddleback before turning right again to make the final assault on the Devil’s Thumb. The ground underfoot was deeply scared and each step was made with caution and acrobatic skill. Two cairns marked the vantage point from the top and proved that we weren’t the only souls to make it to this point alive. The team congratulated each other as our terror was replaced by wonder and amazement of the beauty that was set out below us. Behind us on the right the Plain of Six Glaciers stretched down with blue glacial fingers to Lake Louise. In front of us were the Chateau Lake Louise, the Big Beehive, Lake Agnes and the Little Beehive. Far in the distance lay the barren summer hills of the Ski Louise area and the entire Bow Valley. It was truly a sight to behold and we stopped to have lunch and recharge our batteries.

The daunting task of returning down the same steep slopes lay below us and we tackled the task with care and attentiveness. The return leg was no match for our mountain skills and we soon reached the junction that we had left from. This time we took the straight-forward path down the side of the mountain to the valley floor that we had seen before from above. Battling through the endless stream of tourists which marked the trial like marching ants, we climbed the final sections up to the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse. It stood before us like a beacon of hope and after pausing to regain our strength, Pavel, Marc and I went up for some light refreshments. There is nothing quite like a cup of peppermint tea and a butter and jam scone to lift the spirits!

We raced down the valley slope and around the shoreline of Lake Louise where the inescapable facts of only having one hour of sleep in the last twenty-four hours and hiking for 6 hours caught up with me. I plodded back to the car and slept on the drive back to Banff. After a quick bite to eat and a shower, I lay in bed from 6pm to 8:30am exhausted but content.

How’s that for a story?
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Tom the Terrible on

Jolly stirring story old chap! Well done :)

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