Cory and Edith Pass {Banff National Park}

Cory and Edith Pass {Banff National Park}

Cory and Edith Pass has been on my list for awhile; from what I could tell it would be worth the climb and then some.

A few weeks ago when we were in Kananaskis, it was so hot that wearing a tank top and short shorts felt like way too much clothing.

  • On the morning of hiking Cory and Edith Pass last weekend, scraping ice off the car windows was required.

That’s the thing up here in the subarctic, we just have two seasons – hot and cold. Apparently cold came last week and someone forgot to tell me.

Nonetheless, I forged on and was happy to see the temperature up to 12 Celsius by the time my little feet hit the trail. Under the sage advice of Speedy, I agreed to do the loop clockwise (climb Cory Pass and descend Edith Pass) as it lends itself to the best views.  The first kilometre or so is a gentle rolling trail, then you take a left to climb Cory Pass and everything changes; prepare yourself to climb like Superwoman.

Sometimes you just aren’t Superwoman.

Donloree Cory Pass
Coffee … I think I needed to drink more coffee that morning while having breakfast with my nieces! A quick hat adjustment and eye rolling on the choice of such a heavy top while the sweat rolled down my back and then back to climbing.

I found myself tired and unable to catch my breath; I took a ton of ‘picture breaks‘ during the 5 kilometers of climbing.

Luckily for me, the beauty of the hike warranted a lot of stopping to just take it all in.

Cory Pass with Mount Rundle views
What? Don’t you have a small snack and a water break 2 km in to look at Mount Rundle? No judging allowed!

After all the climbing, when I thought my lungs and legs were going to go on strike, we arrived at Gargoyle Valley.

Such an interesting and unexpected place!

Gargoyle Valley
Almost there! Around the corner is Gargoyle Valley and Mount Louis.

Surprises are always fun. I had no idea Gargoyle Valley was up there, I was going for views of Mount Louis. The small meadow underneath the gargoyles is the perfect place to sit and have a snack while some adorable and rather fat chipmunks try to steal your apple.

Make sure to do the loop! Whatever you do, don’t go back the way you came!

The gargoyles guard the trail to the backside of Edith Mountain and if you don’t know to keep going, you will simply turn around and miss the best parts of the hike.

Gargoyle Valley
The gargoyles stand like sentries over the pass – foreboding and watchful.

The views of Mount Louis are stunning. 

I think I stopped about every 12 feet to take another picture. Walking through the valley between Mount Louis and Edith Mountain is a bit eery. Silence fills every nook and cranny and the temperature drops about 10 degrees. Despite how cold it was and how I could barely feel my fingers, I took my time.

Cory Pass, Edith Pass
Thus begins the descent and some incredible views!
Cory Pass, Edith Pass
Mount Louis is stunning!
Cory Pass, Edith Pass
The shade was chilly, but with views like this, cold must be embraced!

It is always an amazing experience to find yourself somewhere that many people don’t and to experience hidden corners of the world in the peace and stillness which they exist day-to-day. Taking time away to do something hard for a glorious ending is always worth the time, sweat and lack of oxygen, at least in my books.

Cory Pass and Edith Pass
Floating above Cory Pass!

After passing through the valley, I was so glad I followed Speedy’s advice.

Climbing down the rock fall on Edith Pass is much easier than up.

Edith Pass
Trekking through this is harder than it looks. At least when you’re descending you can see where you’re going. Up would definitely require some scrambling!

The last 6 kilometres of the hike were done in record time compared to the stop / start / try to breathe in the thin air adventure of the climb portion of the hike.

I give Cory and Edith Pass 8 stars – it is a must do!

If you’re interested in hiking up to a gorgeous limestone monolith, you MUST do Cory and Edith Pass.

Finding your way to the parking lot and your way around the loop is pretty benign, nonetheless, I made you a hiking guide with some tips a la Donloree.

Have you hiked Cory and Edith Pass? What rating do you give it?

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