Home > News

Yamnuska Will Be Closed to Climbers from May to November 2021

Hikers, climbers and trail-runners won't get to use Yamnuska this summer as it will be closed for trail upgrades

Yamnuska will be closed from May 21 to November 2021 so that Alberta Parks can improve the hiking trail. In 2020, a hiker died on the scree descent that has become popular for hikers and climbers to use on their way back to the parking lot.

The Alberta Parks press release said: Please be advised that Alberta Parks is closing Yamnuska / Îyâ Mnathka this summer from the end of May to November. Trail crews will be on-site upgrading sanctioned trail sections, constructing new sections and decommissioning non-sanctioned routes.

To support trail construction activities, Alberta Parks is closing all access to the mountain for the following reasons: To reduce danger to hikers, scramblers and climbers as contractors work on the mountain by moving heavy equipment around sloped terrain, long-lining heavy helicopter loads, and dislodging rocks. Vice versa, the contractor needs to be safe from members of the public moving around the mountain potentially dislodging rocks that quickly become dangerous projectiles down-slope. The contractor needs to be able to work efficiently without keeping track of the public in the area. Visitors looking for alternatives can call the Kananaskis Information Line at 1-403-678-0760 or stop by any Kananaskis Visitor Information Centre.

Yamnuska is one of Canada’s most popular multi-pitch rock climbing areas and was the cliff where technical climbing was introduced to the Canadian Rockies with Grillmair Chimneys back in the early 1950s. There are now dozens of classic routes from 5.6 to 5.14.

The original 34 rock climbs were documented in a guidebook by Urs Kallen and have gone on to become the must-tick list for all hardcore Yamnuska climbers. See the photo below. Modern classics include Pony Express 5.10b, Devil’s Right Hand 5.11c and Blue Jeans 5.13.

Read about Yamnuska and The Chief, another of Canada’s iconic mountains for hiking and rock climbing, here. For a story about some of Yamnuska’s history by legendary Calgary rock climber Andy Genereux see here.