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Gargoyles in the Snow - Gargoyle Valley
Timestamp Free: 2020.01.18 - 02:48:12
Ranges: North America Ranges / Rocky Mountains / Canadian Rockies / Continental Ranges / Front Ranges / Sawback Range / Mystic Range
Participants: Neil Baker, Nancy Mickelson, Justin Brown
Difficulty: 2: A moderate and scenic hike in summer. A potentially more difficult slog when snow-covered. No technical difficulty.
I visited this area in late summer last year and was blown away by the dramatic scenery. Would have to return later to photograph these amazing stone creatures as I ran out of film.
It was our last day of a 5 day adventure to Banff to visit our friend Neil and spend some quality time in the Rockies for a change of scenery. We had originally planned to ski up into Wilcox Pass on the Icefields Parkway and spend our last two days climbing Wilcox Peak and Mount Nigel. Having experienced less than desirable snow conditions and unstable weather while previously climbing Mount Fable, we decided to head up to Cory Pass for a day trip instead.
We reached the trailhead at Fireside Picnic Site around 10 am, not exactly what you'd call an early start, but I figured it would still be enough time to circle around into the Pass and maybe even have time to summit nearby Mount Edith after photographing the Gargoyles. The nice thing about Banff is that there is so much to access within only a few kilometers of the town.
The first kilometer of the trail is a flat meander through beautiful Aspens spaced apart through rolling grassy hills and meadows. Less than five minutes into the trail we came across a small heard of deer grazing in the meadows and we watched as they bounced up the hill and out of sight after realizing our presence. The morning was a mixed bag with sun and a few puffy whites and blustering wind. Almost a sure sign that the weather could deteriorate as the day went on.
We decided to take the Edith Pass Trail at the Edith/Cory fork as it is a more gradual ascent than doing the loop starting with the Cory Pass Trail. I also knew that the ridge and meadows coming down the Cory trail were really aesthetic and I thought it would be nice to save the best for last as neither of my pals had been here before. The Edith Pass Trail is nicely forested and climbs with a very casual grade. On this particular occassion the forest was totally...
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