Tunnel Mountain has long been one of Banff National Park’s main climbing areas. Located in the town of Banff, the big east-facing rock routes are easily accessible from one of many parking areas.

Over the past few weeks, a new three-pitch 5.7 called Dancing Sasquatch has been unearthed on the far south side of the mountain. As the closest route to the road on Tunnel, the route can be done in one hour car-to-car.

Gaby James on Dancing Sasquatch. Photo Brandon Pullan

Over the past decade, moderate routes with bolted anchors and well bolted pitches have become many climbers’ top choice for weekends and evening.

There are a number of routes that fall into the category around Banff, such as the nine-pitch Aftenroe 5.6 on Guides Rock, the seven-pitch Wheat Kings 5.7 on Cascade, the eight-pitch Ballista 5.10c on Tunnel Mountain, and side-by-side three-pitch routes Hot Fuzz and Sharknado near Grassi Lakes.

Gonda Roof Area on Tunnel Mountain.

To get to Dancing Sasquatch, park at Surprise Pass corner down from the Banff Centre. Approach as for The Shoe and Gonda Roof area. At the wall, go left for five metres to the route.

Pitch one: Up slab to left-facing corner past a tree. Up another corner and slab to notch past right-facing corner. Move right past bolt 8 and up “staircase” past bolt nine to anchor right of bush. (5.5, 30m)

Pitch two: Left up corner to fun climbing up crack feature. Stay left using big flakes and move right past bolt 6 into right-facing crack to anchor. (5.6, 30m)

Pitch three: Up right following bolts on black chert. The rock is friable. Keep your feet low on the big grey steps and use the black rock for your hands. Well bolted because of the traverse past five bolts then up to bolt six and seven on good holds before the anchor. (5.7, 20m)

Pitch four: Lead/walk up and left along the rising ledge and around to the forest past a short rock step. (3rd class)

Descent: Walk off trail takes you to the road in 200 metres / Gear: 10 quickdraws, one 60-metre rope.

New route as of April 2017. The route required a few days to clean. There will be some dust, dirt and small rocks. Best not to climb under other parties. The first ascent was by Gripped editor Brandon Pullan and Gaby James in April 2017.

Jerry Auld on pitch three of Dancing Sasquatch. Photo Brandon Pullan


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