Gibbon Pass and beyond

The phenomenal autumn weather continues to persist in the Rockies, and the dwindling daylight hours lead me to another bike and hike (scramble) this Sunday. This is the ideal time to do bike approaches, as the foot traffic has subsided for the season, and you can let it rip on the downhill without worry of running down a hiker or spooking a horse. The temperature read -4ºC when I left the Redearth Creek trailhead, and I was glad to have a pair of winter gloves for the bike ride in towards Shadow Lake Lodge. I enjoyed a snack outside of the lodge (closed for the season, bring your own snacks) before continuing up the trail to Gibbon Pass. Basking in the sun at the pass, I decided I had the energy to scramble up a small peak to the east, and was rewarded with a much improved view of Mount Ball, Shadow Lake, and the Bow Valley corridor. Around 35 km round trip, the 30 minute, 10 km descent was a riot on the bike, often breaking speeds of 40km/h!

01_gibbon_ge
The cyclable route ends around 10km up Redearth Creek, then you must hike in to Shadow Lake Lodge and beyond
02_redearth
Redearth Creek is not much of an exciting ride in and of itself – wide double track. The speed factor on descent was interesting without a soul around however!
03_bike_stash
I stashed my bike on a comfortable bed of moss
04_ball
Mount Ball looms above treeline from the picnic tables outside of the Shadow Lake Lodge
05_sll
Temperature was a balmy 1ºC in the sun
06_larch_trail
Hiking up through larch meadows towards Gibbon Pass. This must be fantastic during large season!
07_gibbon_pass
Gibbon Pass was a great place to soak in the sun and contemplate Storm Mountain
08_scramble_gibbon
Storm Mountain rises up behind a sea of larch trees that have all shed their needles for the season
09_summit_gibbon
The view from this small summit grants a unique view of Copper Mountain, Pilot Mountain, and Mount Brett
10_ball_shadow
Glaciated Mount Ball and Shadow Lake
11_ice_formation
Fascinating ice formation
12_old_man_beard
Usnea, aka Old Man’s Beard
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