Marc Ankenbauer's 10+ year quest to jump in every named lake in Glacier and Waterton National Parks for charity.
168 lakes. Only 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
-- Marc jumped into Fisher Cap Lake on Sunday September 8th, 2013 to complete his goal! --
Read about Marc and how this project started...

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes – Good Livin’

Margaret and Ipasha Lakes delivered beyond our expectation which is a tall order.

I’ve been here and working on this project for a decade now and that gives you a long time to create expectations.  This area truly awed us.

My trusty off trail companion Pat and I saw a three day weekend of hot, sunny days and decided to pounce.  We hauled it in through 85 degree weather to Glenns Lake Foot Campground and posted up for two nights.

We even ended up with a little grotto to rinse off just by our campsite.
In the morning over oatmeal we decided a little whisky in our coffee couldn’t hurt anything.

Aside from ruining our already lousy coffee we felt no ill effects.

We were the first people heading up trail in the morning which brought us face to face with many a spider web, some still being staffed.  Be sure to keep your mouth closed.

There was a great patch of grizzly bear hair on one of the DNA traps.  That’s one of the best samples I’ve seen through the years.
Above Mokowanis Lake we had to leave trail and continue up valley.

The heat was filling the waterfalls to capacity.  Above those falls was the hidden treasure we had waited eons for.

On the way we did some filming using my new Olympus OMD EM5.  I’m so happy with how small but powerful it is.  I hope you enjoy what it’s been producing too.

Margaret Lake simply put, punched us directly in the mouth.

There was grizzly bear digs everywhere, so we were far from alone.

The only animals we really saw though were a group of Bighorn Sheep up on the side of Mount Merrit.

Bighorn Sheep

We decided it would be better to push up to Ipasha Lake so we could take our time back at Margaret.


Nothing but an hour of alder bushes and crazy thick ground cover in-between us and # 153 or # 16..

11 mi

Depends on if you are counting up or down, the math gets confusing now a days.

Ipasha was a beautiful body of water.

Ipasha Lake

Cold and blue with chunks of ice still hanging on the walls of Ipasha Peak.

Cold and blue with chunks of ice

Clouds were collecting around Mt. Cleveland and seemed to be coming from the north.  We decided that it might be a better idea to scoot back to Margaret Lake so we didn’t get stuck any further from camp if the sky opened up.

Comparing the terribly thick alder we just pushed through to the cold water of Margaret Lake, we decided it was worth trying to walk the lake.

Getting cold feet

There was a small shelf of rock that we walked which kept us out of the schwack, but it was SO COLD!!  We couldn’t stay in the lake any longer than it took to find even the smallest little beach of rocks.  We stopped and freaked out letting our ice cube toes melt back to flesh.  Then repeated the process over and over.

It was better than the alder.  Virtually anything is better than the alder…Trust me.


Pat pointed out while we were walking the lake that technically I had now been in Margaret Lake.

While that was true, there is no way that could suffice.  I wanted to go swimming.

There’s an amazing point of rock that juts out into Margaret Lake but to get to it you have to ford the outlet of the lake.

Cold water

The creek was moving way to quick so we actually had to wade across the lake portion so we didn’t get swept away.

It was well worth it.

Water's edge

The weather had calmed down, the sun came back out and we had a perfect spot all to ourselves to take in the majesty of this seldom visited area.  So many remote peaks that I’ve had to imagine this whole time.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Mt. Merrit one of the six 10,000’ peaks to our left and way off to the north was Mt. Cleveland the highest point in the park.  Ipasha Peak, Mt. Kipp, Pyramid Peak and the Lithoid Cusp ringed us while we jumped in water like we were in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Safety first for lake jumps

Note to those reading, you have to be careful jumping off cliffs in life in general much less in this remote a place.  Normally I just get a shore to walk into, but we had this perfect little point so we had to take advantage.  Just be careful out there folks.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Sick shots though, huh?  Thanks OMD EM5!

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

We had to eventually head out, but it was hard.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

This was GOOD LIVIN’.  I had tried to get to this spot for years.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

I’ve even been snowed out trying to get here with my brother about five years ago.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

The weather could literally been anything and it was calm, warm and inviting.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

We must have been really good to a puppy or picked up the right amount of litter or something.  We did not deserve how good the living was at this moment.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Can’t stay here though.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

So we pushed on towards camp, undoing all of our efforts.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

We headed back down the headwall towards those amazing waterfalls and a cup of red wine in camp.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

The next day we more hot, sunny weather and time to kill.  We did some filming at Cosley Lake.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

We ate jelly beans and floated around like porpoises.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Eventually you always have to do the push out to the trailhead.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Hot is great when you have lakes everywhere, but open meadows and uphill is less pleasant.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Luckily through the years I had met the Belly River Rangers and they were able to scrounge up two cold glasses of lemonade before we headed uphill to the car.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

It was a hot slog up the last few miles to the Chief Mountain Trailhead

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes

Spectacular trip.  One of the epic ones.

In moments like this trip you just wish you could snap your fingers and extend it to all your loved ones and everyone who can’t make it to places like these.  I felt like this trip was a gift and its always more fun to give a gift then receive one.

Alas we have to just enjoy the moments we are given, and be thankful for them.

Ipasha and Margaret Lakes


P.S. – I’d love to hear what you guys think about this post and Glacier Explorer so far. Please let me know in the comments below.

Whitecrow Lake – 40 degees and raining.. Care for a dip?

Good Evening,I am going to tell you a tale. A tale of cold, wet water. A tale of a portly bald man with a farmers tan. A tale…..Of Whitecrow Lake!

Jump Stats brought to you by The Jump Tracker 3000

  • Whitecrow Lakes - Jump #118

    Whitecrow Lakes – Jump #118

    Lake: Whitecrow Lake
  • Lake Jump: #118
  • Completion Date: August 4, 2009
  • Distance: 27 miles
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Off Trail Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation Change: 2200 feet
  • Length of Trip: 3 days
  • Lake Jumpers in attendance: Brian Roys & Pat Cattelin


Whitecrow Lake sits at the base of the largest mountain in the park, Mount Cleveland. It also sits at the base of one of the most charismatic mountains in Glacier, Stoney Indian Peaks.

This Whitecrow Lake I speak of could have been anywhere on Tuesday, as it was shrouded in clouds.

The first day we hiked six miles into the Belly River region of the park.  The views were amazing!

As we sat there waiting on the rest of our party, the rain and clouds rolled in. By nightfall it was as if there were no mountains. Only rolling forested hills could still be seen though the white misty haze.

A perfect way to start a large day with the intent of swimming.

On Tuesday morning my friends Pat and Brian and I headed off for Whitecrow Lake. This was going to be a long day.
To even get to the point that we could start moving off trail and up towards the bowl that holds Whitecrow we had to walk seven miles.

So, bushwhack aside, we had a 14 mile day plus what ever else we would find.

It passed rather quickly and we started working our way through brambles of vegetation.

UP and UP and UP we went. It was strange because although it was not raining at the time, we eventually walked up the slope far enough to have reached the cloud cover.

If you have ever stood in a cloud, you know that while it is not exactly raining, it certainly is not dry.
There is moisture suspended in air and it coats everything around you. Hard to explain, but you get wet. That is the main point.

The lake was still lovely as is, but it would have been much more spectacular on a nice day. To have the largest mountain in the park looming large above it and assisted by the gnarly spires of the Stoney Indian Peaks.

I can only imagine.

Imagine, I must.

For, there were no mountains. Only lake. And mist..

Thanks to the “Hairy Beans” going for a swim was not a lonely endeavor.

I would like to propose a toast to those knuckleheads that go swimming with me on a 50 degree day in a frigid lake that is suspended in clouds. Yeah!!

I would like to give a shout out to “The Babb Press” for one of the greatest sandwiches that I have ever eaten on trail in my life.

Look at this thing, I can hardly force it in my mouth….Thanks guys!!

Back to the story,…Oh, and the “Hairy Beans” is our band name.

We officially lost our mind on the trip and adopted that as our band name. Our main song was a Muppets tune. Most have never heard it, but it goes……”Mahna Mahna”…..Over and over again. Luckily there is a cool whistling part in it too. But the phrase for the day was “Mahna Mahna”. Look it up, it’s a killer tune. A crazy nonlingual muppet monster sings it. Good stuff…

This is your musical act for the evening. Lets give it up for the “Hairy Beans”!!!


We sang over and over again as we made our way back down through the alders and crud.
Alders make for great rappelling. They don’t get out of your way easily, but they don’t rip out either.

So you can rappel down the slope one alder after another…

For a few moments it cleared up enough to see Mokawanis Lake and Margaret and Ipasha Lakes. I still need the latter two.

Someday… I’m coming for you two…

Wet as it gets. On the way out had turned to absolute muddy muck. It has been a bizarrely wet season. We have had over three times the normal amount of precipitation.

Speaking of. As I write this it is raining and snowing out. Tonight the mountains around here are getting a nice dusting. August 14th…Eeeehhhh It’s going to make for an even shorter summer.
So, get out there and enjoy it. Its fleeting, that is for sure.

I wish all well this fine evening. Safe travels to where you may be going. Like a friend of mines dad used to say. “Keep it between the ditches”.

A great rule…Stick to it…

To Life,

Deer Lake – International Lake of Mystery – CAN #118

The International Lake of Mystery….Duh, duh. Duh….

That last part was supposed to be pronounced like it just happened in a mystery movie and some important fact was just uncovered.

Try it again,

The International Lake of Mystery….Duh, duh, Duh…..

How’d it go?

One of the main things about humor that I have found out in my life is that it is not real great if you have to explain it. You certainly dropped the ball, if you are at that point.


In comes the saga of “Deer Lake” in Waterton National Park.

So, Saturday was a first for me. I had to access a lake and it was about a quarter mile into Alberta, but it was about two and a half miles from a road and was directly west of the customs station.

So, this meant that the path of least resistance was hiking the boundary swath.

What is that you ask?

If you knew it or not, there is delineation that visually and physically separates the U.S. from Canada. In some places it might just be markers like this one.

In the plains they may just mow a separation.

When there are forests, there is a 40 foot wide swath or clearing that runs east/west along the 49th parallel. So, since Glacier and Waterton are on the border, there is a boundary swath running east/west and separating the park the whole way.

I swear!!!

Why, I’m not entirely sure…But there is.

So on this particular day the route to the lake was an animal path that runs willy nilly up the boundary swath. I was happy to see that there was even a path, but I suppose the animals think it’s pretty cool that we keep this big clearing for them in the middle of the forest.

My friend’s cousin, Curtis and I drove through Canadian Customs. Had a really nice conversation with the nice men at the port and headed down the hill.

At the bottom of the ridge, we had to ford the Belly River. The water is low enough now that it is safe. Earlier in the summer it would have been terrifying.

The deal with this whole hike was that we had to stay in the swath. If we left it, it had to be to the north. We had entered into Canada, so we would be illegally entering into the country if we walked out of the swath to the south and back into the U.S.

All of this sound odd and a bit silly? I agree, but that is international law. I’m lucky that they extended this option to me to begin with.

After the river we found a nice mucky swamp and because of this tiny little rule, instead of walking around the swamp to the south, we had to walk straight on through. There was no end to it if you walked north…

Straight on through it was. The muck on the bottom of the swamp almost sucked my sandals off of my feet. I then lost my balance and basically fell face first into the swamp. I dunked my boots and half my stuff. I came out smelling awful. Note* This was not the swamp, it was the swamp after it that we could walk around. I have no pic of the awful boundary swamp. I am sorry.*

But we were in compliance with the law!!! I want to continue to make that very clear!

So, finally we headed back up the other ridge after the dreaded boundary swamp. It was really a pleasant walk. The animals cleared a great path the whole way until we had to deal with that “1/4 mile into Canada” part.

It is funny to be walking through a perfectly clear and very wide path with thick, impenetrable forest on both sides. Odd feeling, for sure.

So, we schwacked our way over, under and around the forest for a good while until we found a pretty pleasant lake. I was surprised because many of the small, forested lakes are really not too pleasant.

I spoke with a few guys who work for Waterton National Park and they said that they had both flown over it through the years. One said it was almost dried up at the end of a hot, fire filled season. The other said that he saw a moose swimming in it.

Now I have.

Lake #118

On our return we even found an amazing moose skull hidden in the willows.