This summer, I spent a number of days out with a handful of different climbers to establish five new bolted multi-pitch routes close to the town of Banff. In total, thanks to the help from my partners, I was able to establish 36 new pitches of safely bolted climbing.
Three of the routes on the North Ridge of Rundle, where Rundlehorn, the classic 11-pitch 5.6 is found. The large slabs to the right and left of Rundlehorn had been climbed over the years, but no established route or topo had ever been made.
The most fun and impressive of the climbs is Gold Rush, a 14-pitch 5.7 that follows solid slabs to an unlikely traverse and then up more slabs to a vertical wall above the top of Rundlehorn. If you’re heading to Banff, these make great alternatives to the established classics and will help to spread the traffic out.
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This short four-pitch 5.6 climbs the tiers of rock next to the lower Cascade Falls above the road to Lake Minnewanka north of Banff. You can walk off or rappel. Above Minihapa is a route called Back to Batoche from Joe McKay, which adds four more pitches of 5.6. (FA Alyssa Acchione, B. Pullan 2019)
Approach: Park at the Cascade Falls lot and hike up to the right of the first falls. P1: 5.3 / P2: 5.5 / P3: 5.6 ‘ P4: 5.2 (60m rope, 8 quickdraws, walk off/rappel)
The Dirtbag 5.10a, 4 pitches
The Dirtbag isn’t for climbers new to multi-pitch, as the rock is a little scrappy. But it follows a nice line from the start of The Shoe and out right to nice slabs, only to end at the top of The Shoe. (FA Alyssa Acchione, B. Pullan 2019)
Approach: Start at the base of The Shoe and head up right. P1: 5.6 / P2: 5.8 / P3: 5.10a / P4: 5.9 (60m rope, 10 quickdraws, walk off)
Sunriser 5.9, 6 pitches
A route that I helped Grant Parkin with over a number of weekends. It climbs a rising line on a blocky traverse until you head straight up to finish on the final crux pitch. You top-out above Rundlehorn, but can scramble down to finish on it. (FA Grant Parkin, B. Pullan 2019)
Approach: Park for Rundlehorn and scramble to the north side of ridge. Hike past bolts (Ridge of Death) until out of trees. Start in corner. P1: 5.4 / P2: 5.5 / P3: 5.6 / P4: 5.4 / P5: 5.6 / P6: 5.9 (60m rope, 14 quickdraws, rappel)
MacLab Slab 5.6, 8 pitches
David Smart and I started this route during the 2018 Banff Mountain Festival and finished it this year. I climbs four pitches until you get onto the upper slabs of chert and blocks. You can rappel or finish on the last pitch of Rundlehorn. (FA David Smart, B. Pullan 2019)
Approach: Start up to Rundlehorn and then branch right to base of gully above scree. P1: 5.4 / P2: 5.5 / P3: 5.5 / P4: 5.5 / P5: 5.5 / P6: 5.5 / P7: 5.5 / P8: 5.6 (60m rope, 10 quickdraws, rappel)
Gold Rush 5.7, 14 pitches
As the longest bolted 5.7 this close to a road in Canada, Gold Rush offers mostly easy climbing on solid slabs. The upper traverse needs to be re-led on the way down. The final steep pitch climbs big holds on a vertical wall. Of the 14 pitches, many can be linked with a 70-metre rope. In total, nearly 400 metres of climbing. (FA David Smart, B. Pullan 2019)
Approach: As for MacLab Slab, but cut right half-way up the scree gully right and down through trees to base. P1: 5.4 / P2: 5.3 / P3: 5.4 / P5: 5.4 / P6: 5.7 / P8: 5.6 / P9: 5.6 / P10: 5.6 / P11: trees / P12: 5.7 / P13: 5.4 / P14: 5.7 (60m rope, 14 quickdraws, rappel)
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Another awesome family adventure! Trenton leading us up the first pitch of “minihapa”. The route follows cascade falls up 4 pitches and has spectacular views of the valley. Loved how absolutely gorgeous climbing beside a waterfall was.. the stoke level was pretty high! Thanks to @brandonpullan for setting such a fun family friendly route! —————————————————————#cascadefalls #banff #mybanff #banffclimbing #minihapa #multipitch #multipitchclimbing #climbing #climbup #banffnationalpark #rockclimb #explorealberta #explorebanff #climbon #explorecanada #venturebeyond #adventures #mountainclimbing #rockclimbing #yegclimbers #climbrockymountains