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Big Rockfall Off North Face of Ha Ling in Rockies

On May 31, a large section of rock fell from the north face of the popular and iconic Ha Ling Peak above Canmore in the Canadian Rockies.

It was heard across the valley, but the exact area of the rockfall is not known yet, as the sun was setting and the face has a number of scars from previous rockfalls.

Ha Ling rockfall on May 31. Photo Etienne Lebrun

There was a large cloud of dust and the falling rock likely damaged sections of the original 1970s north face route called Orient Express, based on where the dust settled.

The highest point of the wall is 600 metres from base to summit and there is a popular hiking trail up the south slope.

At least a dozen parties have crossed beneath this section of the wall to access the Northeast Face (standard 5.7 route) up the wall.

Over the past few days, climbers were reporting falling rocks from the wall, including a bigger rockfall previous to the most recent.

On May 30, Gripped editor Brandon Pullan and Andrew Gallant made their way under the face when a number of baseball-sized rocks fell from somewhere on the wall.

On the day of the rockfall, at least two parties have reported crossing beneath the face to access the standard route.

Mountain guides Mike Stuart and Paddy Jerome have spent the past few days retro-fitting and updating True Grit 5.10c on EEOR close to Ha Ling.

Jerome noted on a Mountain Conditions Report (see here), “On the way back down the trail we witnessed a very significant rockfall on Ha Ling’s North Face.

“I would be very cautious and suspect of residual material from that area of the north face for the next while. If you are intending to go climb the Northeast Face or Sysiphus Summit routes you are certainly exposed so please keep this in mind.”

Chances are high this is not the end of the rockfall and climbers should stay away for now.

Routes in photo: A-Northeast Face 5.7 / B-Sisyphus Summits 5.10d, B1-Optional traditional finish 5.10/ C-Orient Express 5.11c, C1-Orient Express (variation) 5.10, C2-Orient Express (original finsih) 5.8, C3-Orient Express (direct finsih) 5.10d / D-Remembrance Wall 5.11a / E-A Particular Manner of Expression 5.12a / F-Premature Ejaculation 5.10b / G-Quick Release 5.10a, G1-Quick Release Finish 5.10a, G2-Finishing Touch 5.10a / H-Soft Moth 5.9 / Photo by Brandon Pullan in 2015.

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