Approach Beta for Hydrophobia and Sorcerer from the Waiparous

You can drive to within a 45-minute walk of  Hydrophobia by approaching through the Waiparous as opposed to the long walk past the Sorcerer.  This trip can range from full-on early in the season when the creek crossings are often ringed with ice walls and the ruts savage to almost two-wheel drive terrain later in the year. I've also driven into the small lake below the Sorcerer from the South Ghost along the cut line you walk on, but that's fairly serious 4WD action even with four studded snow tires, winch, chainsaw and so on. From the end of the Waiparou approach the Sorcerer is about an hour, 45 minutes for Hydro.

Here's some beta compiled from Scott Semple, Shawn Huisman, Mark Cosslet and others on approaching through the Waiporous:

1)      Continue on SR940 past the Ghost gate for approximately twenty minutes (10miles or 16 KMs). Some people don't go far enough.

2)       Turn left onto Waiporous Valley Road .  This is indicated by a big, green, highway-style sign on the right. It's very obvious, but takes longer to reach than you might think. The sign for the North Ghost Recreation Area is not the Waiporous.

3)      Five minutes down Waiporous Road (1.7 miles or 2.75 KMs), take the left-hand fork that drops down toward the creek. Depending on traffic and snow, this may be more or less well-travelled than the Waiporous road.

4)       Ford the first small creek.  If this is a problem, don’t keep going; the second one is bigger.

5)       Shortly after the creek crossing, you’ll pass Camp Chamisall and some other buildings.  There’s a rocky but easy road on the left—follow it, keeping the creek on your left and the camps on your right. If you suddenly find buildings on your left and the creek is getting farther away, turn around. You may be on the cut line from hell known for excellent mudbogging among Calgary motorheads.

6)       Follow this road for about 12km, to a major creek crossing. At  one point you will climb up a hill for a couple of hundred meters, but the creek is still immediately below you on the left. If you get more than a half K from the creek you've blown it, retreat. It may be possible to drive around this hill on the gravel flats  when the creek is well-frozen, but the hill doesn't take any extra time.

7)       Cross the creek just after the small yellow sign on the left.  This can be technical if it's "half frozen," easy if it's fully frozen. This is the first crux

8)       Within a couple hundred meters, take a cutline south (left). This is narrow but OK driving.

9)       At the next fork, go left on a narrow trail.

10)   The rutted trail/road takes you up and over a hill through the trees.  (Chains or studded tires recommended early season.) This hill has some deep ruts, but if you've made it through the second creek crossing and the ruts aren't too icy you should be good to go.

11)   The trail drops down to a huge meadow/bog; the last drop is short but  steep and can be ascended on the return with some speed.  Follow the trail along the right-hand side of the meadow; it eventually crosses back to the left. Watch out for a crevasse in the bog, you have to cross it and some places are better than others.

12)   If the bog crossing is successful, follow the ruts for another couple of K and park on top of a small hill where you can just see the edge of Hydrophobia. There are quad ruts that continue another few hundred meters toward Hydropohibia, they can be negotiated when frozen but not snow covered, otherwise they are a good place to get stuck. From the parking area  it's about 45 minutes to Hydrophobia and 45-60 minutes to The Sorcerer.

13)   Hydrophobia is in the cirque directly ahead, The Sorcerer is in the cirque to the left of the big buttress that separates Hydro and the Sorcerer. 

14) To reach Hydro head straight for it, climbing over a small ridge and then trending right into the Hydro drainage at a boulder field with some big boulders (possible good bouldering in the summer). More than one party has somehow gotten off-track here, keep your bearings. Alternatively for easy navigating, walk down into the drainage below the parking area to the major gravel flats, hang a right up the drainage until the first small creek comes in on the left. This is the Hydro creek, follow it to the climbs. It's usually easier to walk  on the sides of the creek, but if you follow it you won't get diverted.

15) To reach the Sorcerer walk south, paralleling the buttress, and you'll hit the Sorcerer drainage. Stay relatively low, there's a good game trail that follows a small crest most of the distance. Don't get too high, you'll just drop back into the Sorcerer drainage when you hit it. No snow takes about 45 minutes, snow about 60.

Good luck!

WG notes: Click on this link for a typical Ghost story. There are a lot of options for getting stuck if you deviate from this route, plus some even if you stay on it. You need a good 4WD truck and operator, and it's probably not a bad idea to go in with two vehicles so if you stuff one you can use the other to pull it out (this implies that you have a tow strap, a climbing rope will work but is expensive for one-time use). Tows out of the Waiprous range from $300 to $1,000. Cell service is non-existing to very sporadic and depends on whether you're using Telus or Rogers/AT+T. Good luck, driving in the Ghost is always half the fun!