Professor Falls is a Canadian classic. The name comes from Professor Eckhard Grassman, one of the first ascensionists, who took a fall on the route in 1974.

This route forms early and usually lasts until March or April. Due to the constant water supply it can be very wet, even in cold temperatures. All of the anchors are bolts and fixed for rappelling.

Final pitch of The Professor Falls. Photo Tim Banfield
Final pitch of The Professor Falls. Photo Tim Banfield

The climb starts with three steep pitches of WI4 and is followed by a number of WI3 pitches. The first pitch often feels steeper than it looks and is easier on the right side for the upper section.

The second pitch is climbed up the centre. The third pitch is climbed on the left under a big rock protruding from the wall.

You then walk up a snow gully to the last pitch. It finishes with a final crux WI4 pitch up a steep tier, which is often climbed on the drier left side.

To access, you park at Bow Falls near Banff and bike or walk a few kilometres along the Bow River. You will see the route once you’re under the approach gully. The stepped pitches allow many parties can climb the route at the same time. 

Despite the reputation of the route not having avalanche hazard, there have been avalanches. Check the conditions from the Canadian Avalanche Association here.

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