It’s alpine rock climbing season in the Rockies, which means peaks like Mount Louis and Castle Mountain are in condition and will be the focus for many climbers over the next few months. Alpine rock climbs are routes that don’t require glacier travel or ice/mixed climbing, like the East Ridge of Temple, but do require good route finding skills and trad climbing know-how.

Just because the route 5.7, doesn’t mean it’s like a 5.7 at a crag. There will be much more involved and it’s good to climb with experienced climbers before heading up an alpine rock climb. Many popular alpine rock climbs are rigged for rappelling with one rope, but the rappel lines are often different than the line of ascent.

The routes are often set up for climbing with a 60-metre rope, which means if you need to bail that you’ll need two ropes or one rope and a tag line to safely move down from one anchor to the next. All too often, climbers will only bring one rope when they need two and all too often they end up leaving gear between rappel stations to make a safe descent.

The late Tim Auger on a 5.9 corner on Homage to the Spider with a tag line Photo Brandon Pullan

There are many reasons why you might need to descend before reaching the top of your route: injured, bad weather, can’t find the route, can’t safely lead the next pitch, too slow and won’t reach the top. Two ropes also helps with rope drag on long pitches. While not every climb requires two ropes, it’s better to be prepared in the chance that you might need them.

Popular Alpine Rock Peaks

Mount Louis
Mount Fable
Castle Mountain
The Finger
Mount Kidd
Mount Babel
Tower of Babel
Mount Edith
Mount Colin
Roche Miette

Roche Miette

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