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Climbing and Mountaineering

The Canadian Rockies are well known for their climbing and mountaineering. Just over a hundred years ago, the Canadian Pacific Railway (Banff Springs Hotel) brought in the first Swiss guides to ensure the sport became popular. They were largely responsible for opening up the area for climbers and are credited with a long list of first ascents. .

You can find climbing possibilities year round in Banff.. Mt. Temple, a respectable 11,624 feet along with many of it's neighbours, are considered classic mixed routes involving rock climbing, ice climbing, glacier travel and scrambling. While there are endless climbs throughout the park, the quality of the rock varies considerably and helmets are just about mandatory in certain areas. Inquire with the park to get an idea of what to expect and of course pick up that permit while your at it.

 

Climbing

Bow Valley

Season: May - November
Access: Trans Canada Hwy south of Canmore
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate, Expert
Description: A wealth of routes are easily accessible. Note: the cliffs are limestone with a lot of its inherent problems.

Castle Mountain

Season:May - September
Access: Trans Canada Hwy
Contact: See Banff National Park
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate, Expert
Description: This is an easily accessible area with lots of good climbing.

Ghost River: Banff

Access: Hwy 940 out of Cochrane
Contact: Ghost River Recreational Area
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate, Expert
Description: This area presents a lot of possibilities even for instruction. There are a lot of routes with varying difficulties within reasonable access to a major centre. Challenges abound. This is a real find without the crowds associated with this quality.

Lake Louise: Banff

Season: June - September
Access: Hwy 1
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate, Expert
Description: Very easy access from the Chateau Lake Louise it's a short hike. You'll find dozens and dozens of routes on good rock. There are several areas clustered together.

Mountaineering

In the Lake Louise area, there are several mountains of interest to mountaineers and climbers. Mount Victoria, Leroy and Haddo Peak being perhaps the best known. Each has a number of routes ranging from technical climbs to what are essentially extended scrambles. The ease of access and the nearby facilities make this area very popular and you may have a lot of company particularly at high season. Find out about the weather before you set out. Mountains in other areas of the park follow:

Mount Athabasca: Lake Louise

Access: Icefields Parkway
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate, Expert
Description: On of the most popular alpine climbs in the Rockies.

Mount Louise: Banff

Season: May - September
Access: Trans Canada Hwy
Level of Difficulty: Expert
Description: This mountain provides technical ascents and lots of possibilities combined with
easy access. A very popular climb, but rewarding.

Assiniboine: BC

Season: June - September
Region: British Columbia Rockies
Contact: Mount Assinboine Provincial Park
Access: Helicopter, backpacking or skiing in the winter.
Level of Difficulty: Expert
Description: A very striking mountain it's very popular with climbers. There are a number of campgrounds and huts which you can use as accommodations. The mountain itself has a number of possible routes.
Note: No, it's not in Banff but it is one information we often are asked for when we get inquiries about mountaineering in the Rockies.

Mount Edith: Banff
Season: May - September
Access: Just off the highway outside Banff center
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate, Expert
Description: The easy access and range of difficulties make this a very popular climb. You can choose from a number of routes that range from a scramble to very technical climbs.

Mount Stanley: Banff

Season: All year
Access: A short hike from the parkway, hwy 93
Level of Difficulty: Intermediate, Expert
Description: A very popular mixed climbing area. The mountain is more an area for ice climbers and the mountain has several interesting couloirs.



Rock Gyms

The Vision - Bouldering Gym, Canmore


 

Note: Climbing is inherently dangerous. Make sure you have the proper training, knowledge and equipment before you attempt any climb. Take advantage of guides and instructors and hone your skills in one of the areas gyms to ensure your abilities are up to snuff. Never climb alone.

These listings are to be used only as a reference and in no way constitute a guide to rock climbing in the areas described. Out-There is a clearing house for outdoor information not a an information source. Check with the local schools and outdoor shops regarding routes, closures and access. For more information contact the clubs, associations or land managers for the area.

   
 
 
Caving in Alberta
     
Canmore Caverns
Canmore Alberta
Explore a fascinating world of water-sculptured passageways and chambers of lime mineral formations under Grotto Mountain.

Wapiabi Cave
Nordegg, AB, Canada

Canyon Creek Ice Cave
Bragg Creek
AB
Canada
Wear a helmet when going to this cave.

Cadomin Cave
Cadomin, AB, Canada
the cave has been largely destroyed by hundreds of thoughtless morons
who have spray painted the walls and left their garbage throughout the
cave. Only the most remote sections of the caves are undamaged, and even
those seem to be suffering increased visitation. If you are visiting
Cadomin PLEASE do not disturb the bats. Waking the bats up from their
winter hibernation causes exterme drains on their energy reserves and
could kill them.

Castleguard Caves
Banff National Park
(near the Columbia Icefield )
AB, Canada
Total Length: Longest cave in Canada at 16.2 km; depth is 350 m Description: Contains rare cave features and invertebrate animals Reaching Castleguard Cave requires a 20 km trip over a glacier Castleguard Cave runs directly under a mountain and ends in a series of ice plugs. The cave floods randomly in the summer, so trips are done in the winter only Closed to the general public. The entrance is protected by a gate and special permission must be obtained in order to enter.

Saskatchewan Glacier Ice Cave
Columbia Icefields
Banff National Park, BC, Canada

Wood Buffalo National Park
Fort Smith area
Alberta/NWT, Canada
The Salt River trail has a 7.5-kilometer (4.6-mile) North Loop and a 9-kilometer (5.5-mile) South Loop through terrain having many caves, sinkholes and underground streams. The park can be reached via the Mackenzie Highway to Hay River and Highway 5 to Fort Smith which is 36 kilometers (22 miles) east of the park.

Nordegg
AB, Canada

  Miette Hot Springs
Fiddle River Valley
Jasper, AB, Canada
Tel: 403 866-3939
Directions: E end of the Fiddle River Valley, 44 km (27 mi) E of Jasper
townsite via Hwy 16, and 17 km (10 mi) S via Miette Rd (turn at
Pocahontas) Jasper Alberta

Rat's Nest Cave
near Banff National Park
4km long and is now gated Commercial tours are available for interested parties

Canmore Caverns
Grotto Mountain
Canmore, AB, Canada

Crowsnest Pass
near Highway 3
AB, Canada
Cleft Cave is the cavern of choice - large room and ice crystals no technical climbing and minimal tight squeezing in Cleft It can be explored in one to 1.5 hours. This area also includes Yorkshire Pot (second longest system in Canada at over 12798m) and Gargantua Most of the caves are located at high elevations about four hours hiking and 900m of elevation gain from the nearest road.

Arctomys Cave
Mount Robson Provincial Park
Nearest Major Town/City: Valemount
PO Box 2045, 4051 -18th Ave.
Prince George, BC, Canada
V2N 2J6
250-565-6340
Fax: 250-565-6940
Bordered on the east by the Continental Divide and Alberta's Jasper National Park, Mount Robson Provincial Park is located 375 km northeast of Kamloops. The Yellowhead Route (Highways 5 and 16) provides easy access to the park from Jasper and Edmonton to the east, from Prince George and Prince Rupert to the west, and from Kamloops and Vancouver to the south. deepest cave north of Mexico at 536m (3495 m length) 20km backpack to reach the entrance

Cave and Basin National Historic Site
Banff, AB, Canada
403-762-1566 Location: The West End of Cave Avenue in the town of Banff Description: Warm mineral springs can be found inside the cave, and outside in an emerald coloured basin Peak season: Summer and Christmas April 18 - June 12: 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Summer Hours (June 13 - September 13): 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Rest of the Year: Monday to Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Friday, Saturday & Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m..

     
   

 

 

Resources

Banff

Out-There's Banff Main Page


Banff's Neighbours

 

 

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