Loche Vale / The Gash / Andrew’s Glacier, RMNP

Loche Vale, Rocky Mountain National Park
Loche Vale, Rocky Mountain National Park

Loche Vale / The Gash / Andrew’s Glacier, RMNP

Loche Vale (‘The Loche’) is situated in Rocky Mountain National Park. Loche Vale is situated at the drainage junction of two gorges; Taylor Glacier, and Andrew’s Glacier. The upper Loche leads to Sky Pond and Glass Lake. The Loche Vale is a launching point to several routes. Andrew’s Glacier can be ascended via The Gash (a gorge known for it’s spires and gendarmes). This route can be tricky in winter. Extra care and evaluation should be taken just below the apron of Anrdrew’s Tarn. This area is usually windloaded and has a history of sliding.

To the north is Otis Peak. Otis Chutes can be dropped which will take you in to the Chaos Canyon drainage with Lake Haiyaha.

Fun facts: Loche Vale translates in to ‘Lake Valley’.


Routes

Winter route(s)

Map it
Map it

There are two routes to The Loch in winter. Both share their initial portion with the summer route, following the trail to Alberta Falls. I wouldn’t advice this route for a winter access to the Loche Vale. Instead, follow the route that branches off to the right (south) of the Alberta Falls Trail at the second wooden bridge from the Glacier Gorge Trailhead (GPS Coordinates N40.3066, W105.6414). The route ascends more directly than the summer trail – but is steeper in places and through trees. The trail eventually joins the junction of the trails leading to Lake Haiyaha, Mills Lake, The Loch and Alberta Falls (GPS Coordinates N40.2976, W105.6455).

Depending on the time year you will choose on of two routes from the trail junction. In early and late season you will proceed on the standard route. In winter, you will want to stay off the south slopes of the standard route. Some of these areas are avalanche prone when loaded and the evidence of slide paths is pretty obvious.

Winter route
Winter route

For the winter route, continue towards Mills Lake, and near the triangular hitching rail, the trail splits, the left-hand route going on to Mills Lake, and the right-hand route to The Loch. From here, the trail enters the streambed of Icy Brook, the frozen stream itself becoming the trail.Be vigilant as Icy Brook will be open in places. The incline gradually increases, until a final, steep ascent near the lake, surrounded by rocky walls of the canyon on either side. At the top of the ascent, you leave the canyon, and arrive at the northeast corner of Loche Vale.

Loche Vale Snow Profiles

Lock Vale Trip Reports

Trip Report: Loch Vale / The Gash / Sky Pond ~ 9.12.14 (Dryland)

Trip Report: Loch Vale / The Gash / Sky Pond ~ 9.12.14 (Dryland)

The Loch Vale never disappoints. While rainy and cloudy on the Front Range, the higher elevations were completely bluebird above the clouds. I includeMore...
Trip Report: Andrews Glacier / The Gash, RMNP 4.5.14

Trip Report: Andrews Glacier / The Gash, RMNP 4.5.14

Spring conditions are almost upon us. A quick look up to Andrews Glacier / The Gash via Loche Vale. Good snow is in from the trailhead, through the wiMore...
Trip Report: Andrews Glacier Apron / The Gash, RMNP ~ 5.4.13

Trip Report: Andrews Glacier Apron / The Gash, RMNP ~ 5.4.13

5.4.13 - As they say, everyday in the backcountry is a good day. RMNP received a lot of new snow. On the approach to the Loche Vale area I measured neMore...
Trip Report: A return to the Loche Vale, RMNP

Trip Report: A return to the Loche Vale, RMNP

The snow has been so amazing it seemed ridiculous not to rearrange schedules to hit this a second day in a row. We made first tracks after yet anotherMore...
Trip Report: Loche Vale "The Loche" ~ 3.24.13

Trip Report: Loche Vale "The Loche" ~ 3.24.13

Making turns in perfect snow to the Loche Vale in Rocky Mountain National Park. We took the switchbacks going up to the Loche area, but decided to takMore...
Trip Report: Loche Vale, RMNP ~ 1.23.12
Trip Report: Loche Vale RMNP ~ 12.27.11
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