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Spring Rock Climbing Near Calgary

South-facing rock west of Calgary is dry and ready to go for the 2023 rock season

After a long and cold winter, spring is finally here. Rock climbing weather arrived earlier this week in the rocky areas west of Calgary, and the south-facing limestone crags where busy. Here are five place to check out close to Calgary this spring.

White Buddha: This Kananaskis Country crag is a sun trap. It faces south, is protected by tall mountains and has a quick approach. From Calgary it takes about 45 minutes to reach the parking area at Powder Face Trail. There are great bouldering problems and short sport routes. The rock can be greasy, but the technical climbing is amazing. Find more beta here.

Moose Mountain: Another great Kananaskis Country zone. Moose Mountain is also about 45 minutes west of Calgary and north of White Buddha. The climbing season starts early and this area has potential to be one of the Rockies most popular crags. There dozens of great routes and lots of new ground to be explored. For a full topo and approach info visit here.

Marina Neilson on a 5.8 at Moose Mountain. Photo by Tim Banfield


Barrier: This south-facing cliff rises above Barrier Lake on Highway 40 just east of Canmore. The limestone is fantastic, the routes are complex and it’s a popular place on weekends. The climbs range from 5.6 to 5.13, with a few multi-pitch lines around 5.10 and 5.11. At just over 30 minutes from Calgary, this is a great place to hit up in the evening after a day of work. Beta here.

The Ghost: The Ghost is has some of the best multi-pitch limestone routes in Alberta. There are dozens of crags, walls and towers that will keep you busy year-round. The east and south-facing walls are perfect in spring. Just be sure to drive a 4X4 as the flooding rivers can leave you stranded. Find beta and some route info here.


Yamnuska: Considered one of the best traditional climbing walls in Canada, the massive south-facing cliff has dozens of stellar bolted and mixed climbs. The approach takes just over an hour, the descents are walk-offs and the rock is a mix of excellent and very bad. Best to climb on Yamnuska with someone experienced on the wall for your first time. Buy the guidebook here.