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Hot Fuzz and Sharknado in the Canadian Rockies

These routes are on a wall called Whitemans Crag (Kanga South) in Canmore, located above the upper Grassi Lakes parking area between Ha Ling and EEOR.

In 2013, Brandon Pullan and Darren Vonk climbed Hot Fuzz, an 80-metre 5.8 up an esthetic slab to featured face.

The first pitch has some enjoyable climbing on thin crimps and sidepulls. The second pitch is blockier and finishes on a nice arete.

Google Earth screenshot showing where Kanga South is in relation to Canmore.
Google Earth screenshot showing the crag in relation to Canmore.

Then in 2014, Pullan and Gaby James climbed Sharknado, a four-pitch 5.7 (5.9 direct) to the right of Hot Fuzz.

When Hot Fuzz and Sharknado are climbed together they offer six pitches of sport climbing within 10 minutes of the car.

Hot Fuzz on the left and Sharknado on the right
Hot Fuzz on the left and Sharknado on the right

Hot Fuzz

Pitch one is 5.8 45 metres: Step left onto foot ramp and angle up. Small crimps and smears bring you to a crack/groove. Up this towards the end of the big roof. From the tenth bolt follow a foot rail out left. Past bolt 11 the anchors are hidden, on good rock.

Trend left, not up, into a shallow ‘gully’ with an anchor. It is a semi-hanging belay. An old bolt under the roof can be seen, be sure to not climb up the dubious rock towards it, stay left. 11 bolts.

Pitch two is 5.8 35 metres: Step up and left onto a small ledge, past a bolt. Good holds out left bring you up a face to a short corner. Up the corner to a small roof, good holds, to a good ledge. Up and left towards a fun arete feature to a ledge with a two bolt belay. 10 bolts.

Descent: The rappel from the second anchor to the first is 31m. Our 60-metre rope reached on the first ascent but all subsequent ascents the rope has come up short. Bring a 70-metre rope to be safe or tie knots in the end of your ropes. The second rappel is to an anchor 10m off the ground. Third rappel to the dirt, 15 m downhill from start of route.

American climber John Bouchard leading while Nancy Bouchard belays. Photo Pullan
American climber John Bouchard leading while Nancy Bouchard belays. Photo Pullan

Sharknado

It starts to the right of the big roof on a small buttress. Look for cairns against a tree. Due to the nature of the rock, the route is not direct and some rock around the route is loose, but the bolts follow a clean line. A 5.6 variation on pitch two lowers the grade of the route to 5.8.

Pitch one is 5.8 30 metres: Start up a broken ramp to thin face holds and right facing corner. Step left out of corner at the top, avoid loose rock up and right. Eight bolts

Pitch two is 5.9 15 metres: Straight up through the roof and onto excellent rock and stipple holds. Six bolts
Pitch two alternative is 5.6 20 metres: Climb out left on good holds to the edge of the buttress, up big holds to the anchor (expect some rope drag).

Brandon Pullan drilling on lead on the third-pitch of Sharknado 5.8. Photo Gaby James
Brandon Pullan drilling on lead on the 5.8 third-pitch of Sharknado. Photo Gaby James

Pitch three is 5.8 40 metres: Head up the “ridge” and stem up the gully. Cross left on to the wall and excellent grey stone. Straight up to a scree ledge. Eight bolts (extend the second and third bolts)

Pitch four is 5.7 15 metres: Up broken rock (better than it looks) to the top of the crag. Avoid the loose corner to the right. This pitch is a little scrappy but will clean up nice.

The route took many hours to clean: large rocks, flakey rock, stacked rocks, dirty rock. In the Rockies, loose rock is normal, which means rockfall is a regular occurrence. Steer clear of climbing beneath other parties. Avoid dropping any rocks from the route.

Descent: Rappel 15 metres from top to the third anchor. Rappel 30 metres direct to the second anchor, tie knots in the rope. Rappel 15 metres to the first anchor. Rappel 30 metres to the ground.

John Bouchard and Brandon Pullan after a few laps on Kanga South. John Bouchard is a legendary American climber who made the first ascent of the ice climb The Black Dyke on Cannon Cliff in New Hampshire and made a historic solo of the Grand Charmoz . He was one of the most influential and leading alpinists during the 70s and 80s.
Legend John Bouchard and Pullan after a few laps on Kanga South.