I'm off on my fastpacking trip next weekend (4 July) so decided to go and scope out Cataract Pass beforehand as I was concerned that the snow level might be too high and, if that was the case, I'd have to rethink my plans. Lucky for me, the snow doesn't look too bad so I'm happy to give it a shot. If the snow melts too much, the creek crossings will be buggar to navigate as some of them are pretty wide and fast, so fingers crossed that won't be an issue.
The plan is to start at the Icefields Parkway just down the road from the Saskatechwan River Crossing and run the mountain system behind the Parkway all the way to Jasper. It's just under 200 km (can't remember the exact mileage) and I'll camp en route either in backcountry tent sites or will do some random camping. I've spent a lot of time researching the right gear, and have been tweaking this over the last couple of weeks. I'm just in the midst of putting together my food (the fun bit!) and first aid etc.
I feel pretty good about things. I've spent the last month having nightmares about all the things that can go wrong so have spent a lot of time reviewing my wilderness first aid, how to deal with angry bears, how to fight off cougars, falling off a cliff etc. I even bought the Survivor Man's book and will be packing some drier lint with me in case I need to make an emergency fire! It's amazing how the imagination can take you on some dark journey but it's also the catalyst you sometimes need to ensure that you're prepared for anything that might come your way. Having just run into part of the area, I now feel confident that it'll be a fun trip. I've taken a week off work but don't have any schedule of being anywhere on a specific day. As long as I get to Jasper by the end of the following week so that I can make it back to Banff in time for work on the Monday, then I'll be happy.
I think it'll be an amazing experience; I haven't done anything on this type of scale before, especially not as a solo trip, so it'll be interesting to see what I make of it. This could be the start or the finish of my fastpacking days!!! Either way, I'm excited.