Aug 1, 2008 at 10:48 am #1230450
I am hiking the LaCloche Silhouette trail beginning Sept 14, planning a 6 day 5 night circuit. I have a couple of questions and your responses are appeciated:
-we are considering a single night at a non-established site (we did sign up for a site but it is an alternate and the mileage doesn't fit our plans). How big a deal is this?
-Campfires are allowed only at established sites. Will the Bushbuddy be a problem for cooking enroute to sites?
-Any other recommendations, must-see's, don't bothers, etc are greatly appreciated.
I'm eager to do this trip as I had to cancel last year due to family illness. Will be taking a camera and will post trip report and gear list afterward.
PaulAug 10, 2008 at 9:46 am #1446522
I know you are out there.
Also, I would like to add a question for the missus. Any luck with cell phone reception from any of the bluffs? It would ease her mind. I'm not thrilled about toting the phone but some things you just have to respect.
PaulAug 11, 2008 at 4:13 pm #1446692
it just so happens i'll hiking the exact timeframe as you. in sept 14 out sept 19. here's the sites i'm staying at
18 h49 (in 6 years i've never been able to book h48, so hard)
day 3 will be a hump, but i've done the trail in 4 days (death march), so it shouldn't be too bad.
as for you questions. pretty much forget about any cell phone reception. i highly recommend a gps in addition to your map and compass, it helps, particularly between hansen township and silver peak where the cairns can be confusing (over the years people build their own, without realizing they leading hikers astray). stay to the southern part of the ridge. the gps helps though, as if you need to backtrack you can be sure to not be lead astray by the same incorrectly place cairn again. it's possible to camp off-site, however, it depends on which section of the trail your on. let me know which day you concerned about making you site and i'll see if i can assist (i've hiked the trail 5 times, so I'm familiar with the layout). it can be tricky to find wood in some of the rocky sections, but generally you head a back into wooded areas even in these section periodically, so your bushbuddy may be fine. i still just use my msr pocker rocket.
also indespesnible are hiking poles and good boots (soft rubber for traction, as the rocks can be very slippery when wet). you probably know this, but just to be safe.
there's a tonne of views (i like the view before decsending moose pass near h23). the hansen township section is in my opinion one of the tougher parts to hike, but one of the most scenic there's silver peak, but given you doing the trail in 6 days, it might be a bit much to make up (depends on your pack weight, fitness level, timing, and sanity). it can take 3hrs just to hike up and back and the closest campsites are 1.5 hrs either way. you may want to skip it, unless you're willing to add another day, or you don't you don't mind hiking in the dark. plus, you won't be dissappointed by the other views, and it gives you something to go back for antoher hike.
hope this helps.Aug 20, 2008 at 10:40 am #1447842
I just now saw your post. Same dates! We are expecting to start out about 9:30a, but who knows. Driving over from Michigan golf trip on Saturday, 7 hour drive.
Our itinerary is not ideal due to late booking:
14th – H16 (long haul)
15th – H59
16th – H59 again – no sites for 30 km. We are thinking of off-trailing down what appears on the topo to be a valley heading north off of H23 to Moose Lake (1.5 km).
17th – H34
18th – H49, same as you! Is this a mistake or is it intended for more than one party.
I was originally going solo but two buds got interested when I was telling them about it and have joined up.
Pack weights range. I have modified mine from 12 lbs base to 14 lbs to accomodate different styles in our group. One of our group is a gadget guy and could be toting 35lbs base. (the only "wrong" style is to stay at home)
Ages range from 41 – 53yo but we're in decent shape; play basketball, bike, no bad knees, so we're hoping we have the degree of difficulty covered for 6 days.
Thanks for your info. Anything you can add based on the above info is appreciated. Looking forward to running into you on the trail.
PaulAug 20, 2008 at 6:37 pm #1447935
h49 is one of the only sites on the trail that can fit multiple tents (possibly upto 4). i pretty much stay at this site every year because some keener always get h48 before me (h48 is considered to be one of the best sites on the trail, proulx lake is very serene). i had one hiker stay will me on h49 one year because he underestimated the distance to h50. given the popularity of the trail and the time of year, i could see why they'd book a couple of parties on it.
i booked my sites one week after the 5 month maximum booking time. i wanted h21 on my second night (had to take h20), h37 on my fourth night (had to take h38) and h48 on my fith (had to take h49). if you really want you site you almost have to book on the day the 5months booking time frame come into effect. i was only off by 4 days and had to take 3 alternate sites. i happy about h7 though, topaz lake is beautiful and has great swimming.
my pack will come in with food and all to about 35 lbs. base weitght is about 20lbs. i'm travelling solo (well not exactly, my dog will be with me as per usual). my dog carries her own food.
h16 isn't that bad of a trek. if your on the trail by 9:30am, you should get there by about 4pm. there the usuall up and downs; the only real obstacle is a 1km uphill section between baie fin and three narrows (h7 and h8). it wide and used as a portage as well, but is steep. your second day will be easy, only about 3hrs max to get to h59.
h59 on your second day is right across from me. i probably won't see you the first day, but i'll drop by h59 (or feel free to come by h20) on the second night.
the valley your planning on go off trail is technically diffcult. the drop from h23 is one of the steepest pitches in the park and it's a hill/ridge covered in scree (go down one at a time or really close together to avoid knocking any rocks on your mates). you might find a spot in there, could be tricky though because once you go down, your pretty much going back up the ravine due north the other side along a quaint waterfall. there a few spots on the way where you could break out camp though (i had to one year when i went with a friend who thought they were in better shape than they were, mind you we were doing the trail in 5 days) check on your arrival day as sometimes there are cancellations. ideally from h59, you'd want h22,23 31, 32 to get over to 34 the next day. to go from h59 to h34 is possbile, but would be a good 10 hrs of hiking. and you'd be rushing through one of the best and challenging sections of the trail.
oh…and my buddy mentioned you can get cell phone reception in 4 or 5 of the higher outcrop areas (around h23 before decsending to moose pass is one).Aug 21, 2008 at 7:43 am #1447990
I also did the trail in 3 nights (3 1/2 days) back in 2005
For me, the Hansen Township section is where it starts getting hard, then the descent off the Ridge and back onto Killarney Ridge. The most technical part of the trail is getting on and off Killarney Ridge.
Because the trail is so technical you should carefully monitor your feet for hotspots and the beginnings of blisters. If you can get your hands on a product called Bodyglide and apply it to these developing hotspots you will be much happier towards the end of your sojourn.
Cheers,Aug 26, 2008 at 6:13 am #1448574
Thanks for all the good advice. I will check with registration for openings once we arrive.
I'm not sure about the cell phone yet. Based on your friends advice and the fact that two of us have parents in frail condition we may bring it. I've never had one along before and am not sure how much faster we could hump out anyway.
Derek, I look forward to seeing you on day 2. I'd buy you a cold one but I here the beer cart doesn't go out on Mondays. Best of luck with your trip.
PaulAug 31, 2008 at 2:23 pm #1449418
I finished the trail on the 14th. I did it solo and planned on a leisurely 7 days but got impatient and did it in 6 days though 5 days would have been easily manageable and 4 days aswell if you want to hike all day.
My pack weight changes dramatically depending on my mood before a trip. This trip was bad in this detail and i ended up carrying 65 lbs plus and additional 6 lbs of water. Yes i realize that is insane but I couldnt go without my 10 lbs of camera gear and tripod and i was ready to suffer the consequences.
I stayed at sites H5, H18, H31, H35 and H46. All of which are fine camp sites though a bear visited at H35. And in reference to one of the above posts you can definitely do Silver peak. I simply dropped my pack at the bottom and ran up in just 35 minutes spent some time there then 35 mins back to the bottom. Good luck on the trail and good luck finding a camp site off the trail near H23 since that gorge is very steep as stated in a previous post.Sep 4, 2008 at 10:12 am #1449962
My group needed to, and was able to, bump our trip up and we are now starting on September 7. I am afraid we will miss you. I'll post a link to some pics afterward. Thanks for the good advice.
PaulSep 4, 2008 at 12:54 pm #1449994
Killarney is a beautiful place. I went canoe camping there, although we did day hike the ridge, which included hiking the slot or the notch or whatever that was called. Compared to what I see here in the east, I thought that the hiking was "easy" (but very nice and scenic).
I can't remember if we tried our cell phones, but I doubt they will work. It is a long drive in on the access road, but if they work in town they may work in the park. I have heard, but didn't get to go, that the fish and chips at the place by the dock in town is a must, so you may want to check that out (they closed by the time we got out). My only complaint/concern about Killarney is that they still! feed (or allow) the bears at the town dump as a tourist attraction, which seems like a very, very bad idea. It would be nice if some of our more enlightened Canadian neighbors put some pressure on them to stop that.
Although it is a canoe forum (the best canoe forum), there will be lots of information and lots of very knowledgeable (and hopefully helpful) folks at myccr about killarney. One of the most popular spots in Ont. to canoe:Sep 4, 2008 at 5:37 pm #1450051
glad you were able to move it up. where you able to get some better sites?
good information on this page. silver peak can be done, but like i said depends on your time and fitness level. the poster that ran up sounds like he's in good shape. if you are able do it, but if you trekking from h34 or 35 to 49 consider you timing carefully. h35 to h46 would allow for more time.
for the poster who canoed in killarney. the section you hiked is call 'the crack'. the 'hills' in killarney do not have the elevation of the appalachians, however, what makes killarney challenging is that you are going up and down all the time. out of 78km, there's probably on 10km where the trail is linear. if you get the chance hike it one day. the scenery is amazing.
that said anyone in good shape can hike it in 5 days, comfortably 6, and for pure enjoyment 7. if you not in shape take 7 to 10 days.
but yeah, a trip report would awesome. it would a great to know about any obstacles on the trail from somebody that just hiked it. the data you get from the park rangers isn't always the greatest.
have a great trip and enjoy the solitude.Sep 15, 2008 at 11:39 am #1451183
I assume you are on the trail but if not here is a very brief synopsis (details and photos to follow).
Magnificent trail! We found it very very wet on day one, the mud will slow you down. 13 hours of rain a couple of days prior. The gray rock is very slippery when wet but the roots are treacherous slippery. 3 guys, 6 spills, no injuries. White granite sticks even when wet. Be prepared for wet feet.
Will your dog have booties? I could see her pads getting chewed up.
Elevations are not major but I agree, this trail can test you with constant ups, downs, scrambles and talus. Now we're not that young anymore so 6 days dished out plenty of tough. 5 days would have been a death march, 7 days would have been a brisk hike.
We caught good weather, two brief thunderstorms with hail, two overnight rains. Dry days otherwise and campfires each night. Nothing to put you off the prescribed route but pools of mud in lowlands.
We were able to make final itinerary changes at the trailhead and had a great layout. People who booked in April had a terrible itinerary. Go figure. Hope you are on the trail and enjoying it. I look forward to trading notes.
PaulApr 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm #1496830
@chrismorganLocale: Southern Oregon
I thought I would continue this here. Looks like a pretty cool trail, and might just make me want to take the drive. Any idea if the trail is closer to the 78km or 100km quoted in different places? A guess as to the elevation gain, or if it is doable in 2 nights/3 days? 40km a day is just about my max on moderate (i.e. the Appalachians) terrain.
ChrisApr 25, 2009 at 8:11 am #1496910
Glad you are thinking about this trail. I never saw this thread or I would have replied to the original poster.
So, to answer your questions. The trail is 78 km long, the 100km length is from back in the day and is incorrect but everyone still likes to say it is a 100km loop…who knows why.
Honestly, I've tried searching for the elevation gain before and came up with nothing. Someone must have it. I'm actually part of a Killarney Forum so I can see if someone has it – let me get back to you on that.
As for doing the trail is 2 days/3 nights…I'll say that I would not recommend it, but obviously it has been done. I think 4 days is a good timeframe, but you'll work for it. Fiends of mine have ran it in about 20-25 hours but they are lunatics. I think the fastest is 17 hours. Typically, you can expect about 35-40 hours of hard hiking to complete the trail, which has limited flat terrain…most of it is up and down. Usually, it's the knees that take the beatings on this trail.
Do you only have 3 days available? It would be great to get one more, but you can do it in 3…I just don't want to send you there to pull off a death march. One thing to consider is that there are no "outs" on the loop (aside from being picked up by a canoe). Once you go in, you either have to finish, or backtrack…it's great wilderness.
Send me a PM with your e-mail, and I can send you a pdf map of the trail. That should give you a better idea of the terrain. I really hope you do it!Apr 25, 2009 at 8:14 am #1496912
Here's a link to a guy who did it in 3 days…Apr 25, 2009 at 6:16 pm #1496983
Steven has it right; 40 hours of hiking (not running). Trail distances are so individual but I will try to offer something to give you some perspective.
Compared to the AT in Virginia this trail has more frequent elevation gains and losses. Total elevation gain though, I couldn't say. A number of sections have tricky footing, loose and rocky. We had good weather but in rain you will have to deal with long stretches on smooth, slick rock. To compare, if you've done Damascus NB, this is quite a bit more demanding.
Now two of us have passed 50 but were in pretty darn good shape for geezers. We had pretty light packs and did 6 days.
If people generally consider you a freak of hiker than you can do it. As example, in my youth I could do 20-25 mile days with a 55lbs pack on the Virginia AT but would not have wanted to tackle this trail in 2 days. Max elevations aren't impressive but gains and losses pile on.
The scenery may slow you down by a day. This is one of my absolute favorite trails.
Hope you go. If so, it would be great to hear how it went.
PaulApr 25, 2009 at 7:41 pm #1496996
@chrismorganLocale: Southern Oregon
All this talk makes me want to see if I can do it. I found an elevation profile here:
For whatever reason this seems to only detail about 70 of the 78km, yet it looks like their GPS track is a loop. The elevation profile looks no worse than our Knobstone trail here in Indiana – 8200 ft of gain over 43 miles, with 400ft ups and downs. Knobstone is 10500 ft over 50 mi with 300 ft ups and downs and people do the Knobstone in 2 days – in fact I attempted this earlier last year, but had to bail due to losing someone in our party – but footing is not a problem here. Given all this, it seems like it might be worth a shot, but I would be hesitant to do such a thing solo, in a foreign country (I know its only Canada, but I my car broke down in Toronto once and that was enough of a hassle), and without bailout options. This quote from the above trip report might makes me think twice:
"Although it is recommended to be completed in 7 to 10 days, care should be taken when planning a trip less that 4 days. Your permit will be stamped with the infamous "high risk" meaning you will have to pay for your own rescue if something happens." Great.
"High risk" stamp + different country + solo + no bailout options + no cell coverage + 20ish miles per day + variable weather + mozzie season = one interesting tripMay 3, 2009 at 10:42 am #1498747
Sorry for the late reply…I was actually out hiking.
Re-reading your posts, I think you may be one of those guys that can do it. Seriously, if you can march out 40km a day, even on moderate terrain, your probably considered a "freak" of a hiker…which is a good thing!
The high risk stamp is no big deal, I've had it before. But not to worry, leave your itinerary with me and I'll come get you. :)
Cell coverage if very spotty on the trail. I don't bother bringing a phone but friends on mine have and you can climb a high peak/ridge and chances are you will be good. There is coverage on top of silver peak (I used a phone there once).
I am very familiar with the entire trail and if you want to plan it out in 3 days, I can give you a hand and let you know where the really tricky sections are and whatnot. I also have friends that have done it in a couple of days that you can chat with about it to get an idea of their speed/distances and stuff.
Honestly, with all this hype about it you'll probably end up doing it in 20 hours or something crazy. It's a great trail, you really should do it.
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