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Gargoyle Mountain

Difficulty: 
Difficult Scramble
Elevation [m]: 
2640
Round Trip Distance [km]: 
14.8
YDS Difficulty: 
4
Ascent Time: 
5:15
Tripdate: 
Friday, July 20, 2012

Gargoyle Mountain is a long scramble with bad scree on slab, some loose holds, but a phenomenal view from the summit. We started off parked on the Jasper side of Coral Creek and wandered across the creek until the bush became a little less dense before striking off towards the Eastern edge of Gargoyles approach ridge. There are numerous goat paths around here and there are many options for either sustained elevation gain up to the ridge crest or a more gradual approach (but with the sun rising and temperatures bound to be increasing getting on the shady side of the ridge was worth the high slope). The plod across the approach ridge goes on for a while with little change in elevation before reaching the rocky bulk of Gargoyle where you can either go left and wind around some scree slopes or right and chance some snow slopes (as was described in Eric Coulthards 2009 trip report). We decided to go left, scrambled up a small cliff band before turning back to gain the scree-covered ridge above the approach ridge. There are a number of 'climby' rock bands to get through (some of which are a bit comitting) but then the mountain lets up a bit and a long pitch of big blocky slabs gives some fun scrambling up to the summit ridge. The ridge is pretty exposed and we decided to leave our packs at a lower false summit to aid in balance (going across the ridge in anything but bone-dry conditions wouldn't be a good plan). At the summit we were surprised to see only 7 enteries (9 now including us) in the summit register since 2000, clearly this is not a very popular peak! As the forecast called for a decent chance of thunderstorms in the early afternoon we made our descent back to treeline quite quickly and manged to avoid any sketchy rain-soaked downclimbing. All in all this is a scramble which does take a lot out of you (with a bit more than 1600m net elevation gain much of that on loose scree..) but the view is well worth the effort.

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