Sunday, September 15, 2013

Banff Rock

We just spent five days rock climbing around Banff using the new Banff Rock guidebook by Chris Perry. We hadn't rock climbed in the Banff area for a while and it was nice to find a bunch of moderate stuff to do.

This guide is a long awaited update to the old Banff Rock Climbs by Murray Toft. I'm pretty sure I bought my copy when it came out in 1985, probably at the Banff Book and Art Den at its old location in the Clock Tower Mall. (Sadly, this bookstore is no longer with us.) This guide led us up a lot of great climbs in the Banff area. My copy eventually got so worn from use that a friend had it rebound hardcover for us.
We arrived in Banff after lunch the first day so we just went to Robbie's Rock - about a 10 minute walk from the Mt. Norquay road. There are four bolted routes - a 5.7 and three 5.8's. It was a good warm up.

The next day we went to the Black Band area on Tunnel Mountain. It's another short approach. We did the two 5.8's, the two 5.9's, and two of the 5.10a's. We gave up after that because it was just too darned hot in the full sun! We hadn't expected +30c in the middle of September in the mountains!

Aftonroe is on the right hand buttress
Thursday we did Aftonroe - a nine pitch 5.7 sport route in the Guides Rock area of Mt. Cory. It's pretty cool to have a long easy bolted sport route. It wasn't especially challenging, but it was a lot of fun and great views. It took us about two hours to climb the route. (Some of the pitches are quite short.) We had the route to ourselves until the descent when we passed two other parties coming up as we rappelled the route.

We followed with a day at Sunshine Slabs and Paddock Wall. These are just at the start of the road up to Sunshine. The road was closed due to flood damage, but parking at the gate only added a few minutes walking to the climbs. Again, we climbed till the heat got to us.

Our last day we went back to the Black Band and did the rest of the 10a's and the 10b. We both agreed that these are some of the easier 10a's we've done. Not that we're complaining!

Shelley rappelling off one of the Black Band routes

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