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Stanley Glacier Snowshoe

Where:

  • Stanley Glacier

 

When:

  • January 9, 2021

 

Who:

  • Ed, Craig, Tomonori, Dave, Phil, Rod, Ian, Lisa, Freda, Jacob

 

Trailhead:

  • head west of Banff on Highway 1 and take Highway 93 south from Castle Junction for about 10 minutes (just past the Alberta/BC border on your left-hand side)
  • it is a 45-minute drive from Canmore
  • the trailhead starts from the south end of the parking lot by the ‘john’
  • you cross over a bridge right at the start of the hike, and you need to make sure you take the trail up the mountain as opposed to along the creek (we ended up in deep snow and had to turn back once we realized we were on the wrong trail and needed our snowshoes which some of us had left in the vehicle)

 

 

Degree of difficulty:

  • 400 meters elevation gain to the middle of the valley
  • 8 km round trip
  • the snowshoe took us 3.5 hours as we lost a half hour with our misguided route at the start
  • the Stanley Glacier trail begins as a gentle switchback climb for 2 km thru an open area that was the site of fires in 1968 and 2003
  • after this initial climb, you enter the hanging valley, where the trail is flat for a km, and then a moderate amount of climbing starts
  • once you exit the trees you need to assess the avalanche risk to determine how far up the valley to proceed

 

 

Interesting notes:

  • the views are spectacular throughout the hike as the two fires opened up the vistas for 360 degrees
  • the hoar frost in the burnt-out area up the switchbacks was beautiful as the trees were completely covered
  • the icefalls are amazing on the south side of the valley, and we watched two groups of ice climbers scaling up them
  • across the highway is Mount Whymper and Boom Mountain and to the north is Castle Mountain
  • the valley is surrounded by Storm Mountain to the north and Stanley Peak on the south side as well as Stanley Glacier at the end of the valley
  • Stanley Glacier is an amazing hike in the summertime with the multitude of waterfalls in the upper valley