Monday, August 13, 2012

The Rockwall Trail

When "Plan B" turns out to be better than "Plan A" it makes for an extra special adventure. My friend from Vancouver, Patrick Thrift and I were chomping at the bit all year to have redemption on the Earl Grey Pass Trail, but because the trail is in lousy condition, we opted for the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park. The 60km ish  long trail from Flow Lake to Marble Canyon covered some unreal-sensory overloaded- eye candy terrain. On a perfect blue sky day, the run took us up and down three amazing mountain passes (somehow I can swear there was four?- Maybe just a long false summit that I forgot about in the moment of delirium). The trail is almost a big loop, taking you back to the HWY about 15km to hitch back to the car. We got off at 6am as we new it was going to be a long day. It took 2:20hrs to get over Numa pass and another 2:20hrs to drop down into the valley and get to the top of the next pass. The hardest part of the run was trying to take in all the amazing terrain- it was easy to forget some of the grunting sections, because you were too busy blow away by it's beauty.  What makes this a great trail is the choices of running just 25km or 40km instead of the whole 60km. Any of the shorter loops are just as worthy as they all take you up into the high alpine.
It took us just under 10hrs 30min to run with just under 9,000' of climbing, so the legs enjoyed the glacial creek at the end of the run. I'd highly recommend this run as it should be on every trail runners bucket list.

Flow Lake

Almost up on Numa Pass

what we thought was the last pass looking back , was just another false summit

Just one more pass

The rock wall on the left rises another 3'000'

Helmet Fall- one of Canada's tallest

Huge mud slide debris pile

New growth after the huge fires from a few years back

Marble Canyon

Cold Cokes we stashed in the river at the end


nelson said...

Randy, this trail looks awesome! Would love to do this some day. Too bad the Valhalla run didn't happen this summer but maybe next year. Nice pics.

Ben said...

Great post and pictures. I am planning to run the Rockwall in August, and am trying to get a sense of how long it will take. I saw that it took you a little over 10 hours, but I was hoping you could give some context for your pace (i.e., how fast you are on other trails or race distances).

Thanks in advance.