In the Rockies, Sonnie Trotter completed his Rockies trilogy earlier this month. He climbed three of his big alpine 5.14s in one summer with Dexter Bateman: Blue Jeans Direct on Yamnuska, War Hammer on Castle Mountain and The Shining on Mount Louis

Clockwise from top left: Mount Louis, Castle Mountain, Yamnuska

Trotter’s trilogy has been a multi-year work in progress. It started with his and Tommy Caldwell’s new route on Mount Louis called The Shining.

Originally graded 5.13+, Trotter linked the crux three pitches this summer to create a test-piece alpine 5.14 on one of the biggest rock features in Banff National Park, the east-facing diamond face.

The route starts up low-angle fifth-class terrain before a few steep 5.10 pitches that lead to the base of the main wall. Atop the diamond feature, you rappel down before climbing up another 5.11 which heads to the summit.

The Shining only has three ascents, one by Trotter and Caldwell, Alex Megos onsighted it in 2016 and Trotter and Bateman repeated it this summer.

On Castle Mountain, Trotter completed the integral of his three-pitch The Moat 5.11d, his five-pitch Castles in the Sky 5.14a and the 350-metre Eisenhower Tower 5.6 in one day.

He called the complete route War Hammer 5.14a. It was only the second ascent of Castles in the Sky, which Trotter first freed in 2013.

The final route he had to complete this summer was Blue Jeans Direct, his direct 5.14a variation to Blue Jeans on Yamnuska.

Blue Jeans was mostly established by Nick Rochacewich, with help from Pete Thurlow, Katie Brown, Steve Gale and Brandon Pullan, nearly a decade ago.

The first all-free ascent was by Derek Galloway in 2010 and was repeated by Vikki Weldon. It’s now had about eight or nine sends by strong climbers, including Josh Wharton and Hayden Kennedy.

In 2015, Trotter bolted a direct pitch that avoided the crux 5.13 and climbed straight up through a bulge with small holds. He freed the rout a few years ago and repeated it this Septemeber with Bateman.

Trotter’s inspiration for creating a Rockies trilogy was the trilogy of the Alps, which includes three 5.14 alpine-style bolted routes, much like Trotter’s, all climbed in 1994.

This is the closest thing we have to the #Dolomites in #Italy. Ha ha. A special blend of rock. I first climbed this pitch back in 2013, the summer before my son was born. It was the summer where my tolerance for unnecessary risk fell off a cliff. Ha ha. Almost literally. I placed these bolts more closely together than I would have in years prior. But for me, this climb is about trying hard, digging deep, way up high in the sky. There's no move harder than 5.13c, but it adds up over 50 metres. This pitch climbs the same exposed arête whether you choose to do 'War Hammer' 5.14, or its little brother, 'Castles in the Sky', 5.13+. No matter what, it'll be an exciting day in the #Rockies. Special thanks to @ben_moon for the photograph, #summer, 2013.👊❤️🇨🇦

A post shared by Sonnie Trotter (@sonnietrotter) on

One of the Alps’ routes is the six-pitch Silbergeier 5.14 in Ratikon, which was first climbed by Beat Kammerlander.

Another is Des Kaisers neue Kleider, an nine-pich 5.14 established by Stefan Glowacz in Wilder Kaiser, Austria.

The third is Thosmas Huber’s End of Silence 5.14, a steep 11-pitch route in Berchtesgadener Alpen, Germany.

Trotter’s Rockies trilogy will surely inspire young aspiring big-wall-style sport climbers to push themselves on Alberta mountains.


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