Home > News

Ice Climbs Appear Fine After Banff Eathquake

On Feb. 13, an earthquake under Cascade Mountain shook the Bow Valley. And yes, there is fault line in the Bow Valley

Photo by: Brandon Pullan of Cascade Mountain on Feb. 14

The earthquake, which was reported by the United States Geologic Society to be a size 4.4 magnitude, gave residents in Canmore and Banff a small scare when it shook the Bow Valley at 6:33 p.m. MST on Feb. 13. It happened five kilometres north of Banff at 17.3 kilometres under Cascade Mountain.

It occored on the Rundle Thrust Fault line which runs from Cascade Mountain to the Three Sisters in Canmore. Around 75 million years ago, the fault line formed Cascade Mountain, Mount Rundle and the Three Sisters. For eight million years, there was folding, faulting and thrusting during a period of tectonic compression, known as the Rundle Pulse.

On the morning of Feb. 14, Gripped editor Brandon Pullan drove around the Bow Valley inspecting popular rock climbing walls, ice climbs and peaks. Despite the earthquake, no ice climbs appear to have suffered any damage. Cornices on Cascade Mountain remain in place from the previous day and there were no evidence of rockfall.

In terms of earthquake-caused avalanches, no new slides appeard to have taken place over the night. Read an article called “When Sketchy Met Shaky: How Rare are Earthquake-Caused Avalanches?” here.

Be sure to use extra caution in the backcountry. On Feb. 14, the avalanche forecast was moderate, moderate, low, see here for more info. The recent cold snap has had a serious impact on the strength of pillars and columns in the Canadian Rockies and B.C. interior, so keep that in mind when planning your objective.

Cornices on Cascade Mountain on Feb. 14 after the earthquake Photo Brandon Pullan


Lead photo: Brandon Pullan of Cascade Mountain on Feb. 14