Mount Cory is located just to the northwest of Banff. Along with its neighbor Edith, Cory is a popular ascent in Banff National Park, one of four connecting national parks in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Two notable features distinguish Cory Mountain, a 300 meter vertical groove on its southwest face and a gaping, dark cave, also on the southwestern flank known as “Hole in the Wall”.
Cory has a variety of routes listed below including a standard scramble. The lower flanks offer several technically difficult sport climb routes on firm limestone, but none universally published as of this date.
The Trans-Canada Highway dissects Banff National Park east to west as you come in from Calgary. Bypass the Banff town exits and take the Bow Valley Parkway exit. Turn right and follow the scenic parkway (90% of the time there are bull elk visible from the road) for 1.9 km. Pull off to the right on a small shoulder good for two to three vehicles. It is imperative that you are at the right spot, as I went up the wrong rib on this mountain years ago and was forced to redo this route in 2005 to complete it. There are several large ribs coming down from Mount Cory. You want the eastern most rib which is identified as light-colored shaley cliffs with a deep ravine to its right.
You will be required to purchase a national park pass as you enter the park. This pass is good for all four national parks. If you plan many visits to Canadian National Parks within one year, you should purchase an annual pass. There are no permit requirements to climb in Banff National Park, but all camping is regulated. There is also a backcountry permit required if you plan on spending a night in the backcountry versus the town campsites. This can be obtained via the parks website which is included in the camping section below. Park headquarters are located in Banff and you will drive through the manned kiosks as you enter the park.
This is active grizzly country, therefore, you should always have bear spray on your person. We have had an increase in activity so far in 2005.
When To Climb
If you want a dry scramble objective, it is best to climb Mount Cory from June through September. However, I climbed Cory in March with snowshoes, crampons and alpine ax and had a solid experience, although this does make for a more challenging objective. There are no published or obvious backcountry ski routes on the mountain. There are small ice climbing routes located between Mount Cory and Edith.
The Rocky Mountains of Canada South Book lists 6 routes:
1) South Ridge - Scramble
2) SW Chimney - II 5.4
3) SW Face (Moss Crack) - II F6
4) SW Face (Clockwork Orange) - 300 m - III 5.5
5) SW Face (right of Clockwork Orange) - up to 5.8
6) S Ridge above 1A Highway - short 3 pitch route with several difficult fifth class moves