Rock Climbing

When I first moved to the Bow Valley in the late ‘70s I was astounded by the amount of rock. Walls up to 400m tall surround the valley with a multitude of “hidden canyons” nearby. The amount of climbing development here is truly staggering and there is something for everyone.

The "Rock Season" begins in May and continues through to mid-October. There are many options for climbs suitable for complete beginner to very advanced.

I can accommodate up to six guests for introductory courses and lessons. I frequently do training sessions for groups and clubs. All multi pitch guided ascents are a maximum 2 to 1 ratio. Below is a preview of what exists in the region. Send me a note if there is something on your "hit list" and we can probably make it happen!

 

Lake Louise - the “Back of the Lake"

Lake Louise has a wonderful crag at its western end. Surrounded by spectacular peaks and a short walk from the car "the Lake" offers fine quartzite climbing, either traditional or sport routes ranging from very easy to silly difficult. In several places the cliff is capped by overhangs so it makes it possible to climb here on rainy days. This is a great training venue for those sport climbers wishing to get into “trad” climbing.

 

Mt. Yamnuska and Bow Valley Rock

Known locally as "Yam"; Yamnuska means wall of rock in the local Stoney language. A stiff approach brings you to a nearly kilometer wide limestone wall with something for everyone. This is often a favorite cliff when the weather is unsettled to the west. Nearby Kid Goat Crag offers shorter multi pitch and sport climbs. Local canyons like Heart Creek, Grotto, Cougar and Grassi Lakes provides options for training and several hundred bolted climbs. See the guidebooks  Bow Valley Rock and Yamnuska Rock for lots of route ideas.

 

Tower of Babel – Fuhrman Route

The Fuhrman route is a perennial favorite of mine. Rising above Moraine Lake, the Tower of Babel provides moderate climbing in a truly spectacular setting. Most of the climbing is in the 5.5 range with a tricky exposed pitch near the top. A great option for a warm summer day and strong beginners taking the next step!

 

Ha Ling Peak and the East End of Rundle (EEOR)

Rising like guardians above the Bow Valley these are my local crags. The N.E Face of Ha Ling is perfect for strong beginners just getting into multi pitch climbs with 450 meters of mostly 5.5 climbing!  EEOR has numerous climbs in the 5.8 to stiff 5.10 range. Grassi Lakes just below these cliffs offers fun pocketed sport climbing on an ancient coral reef.

 

Mount Louis – Kain Route

Satnding like a sentinel above the town of Banff any ascent of Mt. Louis is a climb to be remembered. The historic Kain Route is the line of choice for intermediates looking for a big route. The Gmoser Route and Homage to the Spider are a step up for more advanced climbers. Round trip times usually take 10 to 12 hours for any of the routes. Usually at 1:1 ratio.

 

Bugaboos

Located in the Purcell Mountains the Bugaboo group offers world class granite climbing.  Famous for its solid granite rock the Bugaboos has something for everyone from beginner to expert. It is especially well suited for rock climbers who want to advance their skills into the alpine arena. I usually suggest five days minimum for a trip and you can either camp or stay at the Conrad Kain hut. See the mountaineering pages for more details.
 

 

Grand Sentinel

Between Pinnacle Mountain and Mount Temple stands the Grand Sentinel. It is dramatic quartzite obelisk and appears impossibly thin! Four pitches of up to 5.8 climbing bring you to the top of its tiny summit with fabulous views of the surrounding peaks. A great outing for a warm summer day! A suitable climb for fit 5.6 climbers just breaking into harder grades.

 

Castle Mountain

Overlooking the Bow Valley near highway 93 Castle Mountain is an impressive series of turrets and towers split into two tiers. Perched on the slopes between the cliffs is the Castle Hut. A welcome haven high in the sky.  From the hut there are spectacular views of the Bow Valley and the Lake Louise group to the north and a very memorable outhouse!  Either Bass Buttress (5.6) or Brewers Buttress (5.7) is the usual projects from the hut. I usually approach the hut the afternoon before, climb a route and descend the next day however there is a lot to do if you want to stay longer.  From the valley bottom we can approach the Eisenhower Tower…the far south summit of the massif. At a modest grade of 5.5 I regard this route as one of the better quality easy climbs in the region…a must do!

 

Rock Rescue & Safety Training

There are numerous skills every rock climber should know but are often overlooked. How do you belay or rappel without your ATC? What do you do if your rappel rope jams? Should I use a backup when I rappel? Answers to questions like these are what we deal with in rock rescue and safety training. I usually do this course in a one day format at a local crag. I can accommodate up to six guests for training courses.