Columbia Icefields and Bow Summit, Alberta
Icefield Glacia, Canada
The Columbia Icefield is a surviving remnant of the thick ice mass that once mantled in the mountains of
the Western Canada. Lying on a wide, elevated plateau, it is the largest ice field in the Canadian Rockies.
Nearly three-quarters of the park's highest peaks are located close to the Icefield. It is ideally placed to
catch much of the moisture that Pacific winds carry across the British Columbia interior. Most of this
precipitation falls as snow, up to 7m a year. Since more snow falls in a year than can melt during the
short summer season, it accumulates. As time passes, the snow transforms into ice and begins to flow
outward through gaps in the mountains surrounding the Icefield, creating great tongues of ice called
glaciers. The Athabasca is the most-visited glacier on the North American continent. Situated across
from the Icefield Centre, its ice is in continuous motion, creeping forward at the rate of several centimeters
per day. Spilling from the Columbia Icefield over three giant bedrock steps, the glacier flows down a valley,
like a frozen, slow-moving river. Because of a warming climate, the Athabasca Glacier has been receding
or melting for the last 125 years. Losing half its volume and retreating more than 1.5 kms, the shrinking
glacier has left a moonscape of rocky moraines in its wake.
Warning by Parks Canada:
The glacier is dangerous. People have been killed falling into deep, hidden cracks called crevasses in the
glacier. For your safety do not cross the barriers.
(L) Rocky mountains are covered in part with glacia. (R) A welcome sign plate to the Icefields by Parks Canada
(L) Athabasca Glacier on the Columbia Icefields (R) A 1970's snowmobile car at the Columbia Icefields
(L) Athabasca Glacier on the Columbia Icefields (R) A snowmobile ( snow-coach ) tour bus at the Columbia Icefields
Warning by Parks Canada:
If you are living with heart or lung ailments, over-exerting yourself at this altitude is dangerous. The elderly are especially at risk.
Big Bend on the Icefield Parkway, Alberta
A mountain lake along the Icefield Highway
Icefield Highway which was viewed from aircraft to Tokyo, This photo was taken in May 2008.
Bow Summit, Canada
Peyto Lake (pea-toe) is a glacier-fed lake located in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies.
The lake itself is easily accessed from the Icefields Parkway. The lake is formed in a valley of
the Waputik Range, between Caldron Peak, Peyto Peak and Mount Jimmy Simpson, at an elevation
of 1,860 m. During the summer, significant amounts of glacial rock flour flow into the lake, and
these suspended rock particles give the lake a bright, turquoise color. Because of its vivid color,
photos of the lake often appear in illustrated books, and area around the lake is a popular
sightseeing spot for tourists in the park. The lake is best seen from Bow Summit, the highest
point on the Icefield Parkway.
(L) A trail map of the Bow Summit (M) Information recorded is released by turning handle of the voice machine.
(R) Information guide about Peyto Galacier
Waputik Mountains and Peyto Lake, Banff National Park
(L) Waputik Mountains and Peyto Lake (R) A rock flour ( glacial flour ) is flowing into Peyto Lake.
(L) Waputik Mountains and Peyto Lake (R) Icefield Parkway runs heading to the Canadian Rocky mountains.
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This information was provided by the Smokefree Hotel and Travel.
The article was written and photographs were taken by Junhaku Miyamoto, M.D.,PhD., in July 2011,
unless otherwise described.
Emerald Lake, B.C., Canada
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