Nestled down the north face of Mount Edith Cavell in Jasper Natioinal Park is a glacier with angel like wings spread across the prominent mountain. It is because of its angelic appearance that it received the name "Angel Glacier" in the early 19th century. As the glacier recedes more rapidly each year, it is slowly starting to lose its distinctive appearance that gave the glacier its fitting name.
Jasper is home to enough glaciers and waterfalls to last you a lifetime and then some. The hike to the Angel Glacier viewpoint is an easy and short walk from the parking lot. It's one of those hikes that you cannot pass if you are in the area. The close up of Angel Glacier is stunning to see. We even got to see a few mini rockfalls down the center of the glaciers and can hear the rushing of the rocks down the waterfall streaming off the glacier. It is a phenomenal site to see! The small lake at the bottom of the glacier just adds to the view. The small pieces of glacier floating in the lake even give off an Antarctic like appearance!
Mount Edith Cavell rises to an elevation of over 11,000 feet and is one of the most dominant and photographed mountains within Jasper National Park. The mountain was first referred to as "a great mountain" by Reverend George Grant in 1872. The mountain is visible in far distances and the Reverend first noticed the giant mountain from the Athabasca River Valley. He went on to note that it was "so white that it looked like a sheet suspended from the heavens."
In the early 19th century, French-Canadian voyageurs used Athabasca Pass as a fur trade route. They too noted Mount Edith as "La Montagne de la Grande Traverse" which translates to "The Mountain of the Great Crossing". The mountain became an important part of their journey to fur trading as they passed it, left the main valley and would hike to Continental Divide.
In 1916, five months after the civilian war hero Edith Louise Cavell was executed by German forces during World War I, the mountain was officially named Mount Edith Cavell in March in honorarium. Edith was an English Nurse who was accused of helping allied soldiers escape from Belgium to the Netherlands.
A.j. Gilmour and E.W.D. Holway were the first to climb Mount Edith in 1915 even though a road wasn't built until 1924. in the year of 1924 a road was finally constructed from the Astoria River Valley to Cavell Lake which finally allowed for easier access to the base to Mount Edith.
The mountain's history, interestingly enough, reaches all the way out to Okotoks, Alberta. The glacial erratic that is found in Okotoks, (which is believed to be the world's largest erratic) was once part of Mount Edith Cavell. The erratic was formed 10,000 years ago during the receding of the Athabasca River Vally glacier. A large piece of quartzite stone was stripped away from Mount Edith Cavell and made its way over to Okotoks.
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