The Canadian Rockies have a lot of tall walls that make for perfect bolted multi-pitch venues. The Bow Valley and Kananaskis Country have dozens of classic and new climbs just waiting to help spread the crowds out on busy weekends.
The Bow Valley Mountain Club has put together a free online PDF called Bow Valley and Kananaskis Bolted Multi-Pitches: a Scrap Book. The file isn’t a proper guidebook, rather a collection of old and new bolted or mostly bolted multi-pitch routes around Canmore and Banff. View it here.
The goal of the book is to inform climbers of the many options, some of which have only been reported but never publicized. There are over 100 climbs, including a number of new ones from the past year.
One new route is Chert Reynolds (description below), a new all-bolted 5.10c eight-pitch climb on the north ridge of Mount Rundle up the hill from Sunriser near Rundlehorn. Another is Après-Ski, a three-pitch mostly bolted 5.6 near Sunshine Village.
Like all multi-pitch climbs in the Rockies, be sure to wear a helmet, not to climb under other teams, be prepared for sudden weather changes and bring the right equipment.
The Bow Valley Mountain Club started in 2016 and before Covid-19 held monthly events in Canmore with presenters like Brette Harrington, Ian Welsted, Grant Statham, Sharon Wood and Elise Sethna. The shows will resume this fall. Follow along on Instagram below, and to “join” the club you just need to like the Facebook page here.
Chert Reynolds 5.10c 8p
A new route by mountain guides Larry Stanier and Mike Stuart on Mount Rundle. The 215-metre eight-pitch climb is mostly 5.7 with two 5.10 pitches. You need 15 quickdraws and a 60-metre rope. Stuart’s approach info and pitch beta are below.
Approach: Park at Rundle Rock and approach as for Sunriser. Pass this route (cairn) and continue up the scree in faint trails to a small cliff with a flat spot. Scramble up the rock gully just past this flat spot (cairn) and look for flagging/animal trails that leads you up and eastward, connecting scree benches as you gain height underneath the base of the cliff. It’s worth sorting this out as the flagging has found the best way through the benches. Same for descending:). Eventually one reaches the end of the flagging and the start of the route is just right of a right facing corner that starts just above the ground. Cairn/belay spot.
P1 – 5.7 25 m – climb up just right of the corner on crisp chert, get on top of the corner and make a little move right into more chert that leads through a small roof to a belay on the left.
P2 – 5.6 25 m – move right and climb up right of the corner trending out right through a slabby section. Climb up and left to the station.
P3 – 5.7 22 m – climb up and right for a couple of bolts, step right onto a steeper wall and work up this for a few bolts until the angle lessens, and you can move out right to the anchor.
P4 – 5.7 37 m – climb up wall above belay, (pass rap station on right) and continue up nice slab to a large right sloping ledge and anchor. This is best done as a longer pitch .
P5 – 5.10a/b? 25 m – the Cougar Creek pitch. Pull a steep move or 2 to get off the ledge out right and continue up grey slab to the bulging wall above. Move up and right onto a pedestal and ascend the bulge straight up. A bit of a sequence and opposing friction holds make this a pretty fun pitch.
P6 – 5.6 20 m – Move above belay, clip a bolt and move left onto the slab above. Follow bolts trending up and slightly left to an anchor under a larger bulging wall.
P7 – 5.10c? 27 m – move right and either descend slightly under the steep roof, or use the lip of the roof for hands and traverse straight right to the bolt. Move right and use the corner to surmount the roof, then get on top of a pedastal. Steep and sequential climbing takes you up and back left into the bottom of a thin gully, move up and right, climbing nice slab and chert up to the anchor.
P8 – 5.5 15 m – climb above anchor and trend right into the trees. There is a Fixe belay station at the end of the pitch. A couple of quick moves up from here brings you to the ridge/forest and a nice spot to have lunch and take off the rope. A single rap ring helps reverse the moves to the Fixe station.
Descent – rap the route from Fixe stations. Use the rap anchor on P4 to make it all happen.
Notes: It’s Mount Rundle, so there’s no shortage of shrapnel up there. Most of the rockfall seems to fall skiers left of the climbing line, so the raps work well. Best not to chase another party on this route. Pay a bit of attention during the approach for another party on the route as their rockfall will come your way before you reach the base of the route. The name was suggested by Paddy Jerome and E. Ostopkovich