A topo is given below. All (most?) belays are fixed with bolts. Take the right finish (pitch 12/13) as this is probably the best pitch on the route.
The gear is there when you need it, but as is typical with Rockies limestone you should expect to have to run it out from time to time.
The route is obvious, but the approach is not.
First you must reach the hut. From Castle Junction go west on Highway 1A for a few km to reach the trailhead for the Castle Mountain fire lookout. Follow the trail to the lookout (1-2 hours) and then pick up a smaller trail that crosses the gully (east) before heading steeply uphill to the headwall.
Look for a diagonal break in the headwall (small cairn). Some steep scrambling for 30 feet or so leads to an easier climbers trail. If you are doing anything hard you are off route. Follow the trail to the hut (about 3 hrs from the trailhead). Brewer Buttress is visible from the hut as the last buttress before the Eisenhower Tower.
From the hut on Goat Plateau, follow the trail east along the base of the cliff until you reach a bay on the right side of the buttress. A belay bolt marks the start of the route.
To get down, walk WAY west to reach a large low angle scree gully. Two or three short rappels are required near the bottom of the gully to bypass chockstones.
A small rack of nuts and cams is sufficient. Bring long draws. When we climbed it we had double ropes, and I would recommend this to avoid rope drag and to facilitate retreat in the event of a storm or accident.
Glenn T. in front of the Castle Mountain hut.
BETA PHOTO: A topo of the route.
The first pitch of the route (this was by far the ...
Pitch 9, the crux of the route at 5.7
Pitch 2 (5.5)
The correct descent gully.
Pitches 3 and 4, seen here, are usually combined. ...
Although only rated 5.6, the route is very steep w...
Pitch 5 (5.5)
The right finish (recommended) takes this steep wa...
The view of Rockbound Lake from the summit.
Brewer Buttress climbs the corner to the left of E...
A huge chockstone near the bottom of the descent g...
Looking up the steep 5.6 corner of pitch 7. Nice p...
|By Clint Landrock|
Jun 17, 2014
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Great alpine rock climb, consistent at the grade featuring some very nice exposure. Get the new Banff Rock book for the best beta/topo. Most pitches feature very secure climbing in the 5.4-5.6 range however pitches 7, 11 and 12 (last pitch variation) I felt were more in the 5.7/8 range and held some of the best climbing. For comparison we did Aftonroe (5.7, 9 pitch sport) the previous day, and the harder pitches on Brewers were easily as challenging or more so than those on Aftonroe. Notably the rock on Brewers was as good if not better than Aftonroe which is said to have some of "the best quality limestone anywhere in the Rockies". There ample places for pro on all the hard pitches. The "crux" pitch 9 has only one hard move (5.9ish) protected by a good bolt - you could pull the bolt to bypass the move, and the rest is 5.6 or easier. You can combine pitches 3 and 4 as well as pitches 9 and 10 with a 70m rope. We did the climb in mid-June and the large bay at the start of pitch 1 was filled with ~10m of snow, so I tried combining the 1st and 2nd pitches but rope drag was too much of an issue. If you soloed pitch 1 than it could be doable. Soloing pitch 1 is definitely an option, we climbed it in our hiking boots as we didn't want to put our rock shoes on in the deep snow, and it was pretty easy going despite some loose rock. Exposure-wise, pitches 6, 8 and 11 are highlights, definitely try to stop mid-pitch and take it in. We brought ice axes with us to the summit and were happy we have them for the descent. The snowpack was deep (~1m or more in places) and was very soft in the afternoon sun - we did lots of post-holing. The descent gully was full of snow and would have made for some insecure down climbing in steep snow w/o an axe. The descent from the top of Brewers back to the hut took us ~3 hours due to the deep snow pack.