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Elevation: 4,593 ft 1,400 m
GPS: 51.18811, -115.58354
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Shared By: ihategrigris on Mar 21, 2007
Admins: Dave Rone, Tom Jones, Richard Rose

Description Suggest change

Banff National Park is Canada's first and most famous National Park. People come from all over the world to sightsee, hike, camp, raft, ski, scramble and of course climb year round.

The alpine climbing is clearly the highlight of the park. Many world famous peaks and tough ascents are located within the boundaries of the park. There are countless summits for the aspiring alpinist to attempt, some easy scrambles, some 5.9-M4-A4 unrepeated horror shows. Many of North America's finest alpinists and climbers cut their teeth climbing Banff's peaks.

The ice climbing in the park is also world famous, with a lifetime of ice available almost year round, from road-side cragging to 2000' WI6 routes. The typical ice season lasts from Mid-November into May and June (depending on how desperate for ice you are).

Rock climbers have a lot to choose from as well. Though the rock is fairly chossy (some have described it as the worst rock in North America that still gets climbed), the routes are many from small sport crags to huge alpine rock routes. The best quality rock is found in the quartzite of Back of the Lake at Lake Louise, whereas big, aesthetic routes can be found in palaces like Castle Mountain, Mt. Louis and the Tower of Babel.

Getting There Suggest change

Banff National Park is located along the Trans-Canada highway running from Calgary, AB to Vancouver, BC. The easiest way to get in is to fly into Calgary International Airport and rent a vehicle; the drive is about 70 miles to the park boundary. Bus service is also avialble from Calgary and places beyond.

Park Fees

Suggest change
Banff is a heavily used National Park, with the oddity of containing a busy town. Park Fees can add up if you're in the are for more than a week, so consider buying an annual pass.

Where to Stay

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ACC Club House
The Alpine Club of Canada's Club House is in Canmore, a half-hour away from Banff. It's not a hut, it's the club house, so there's easy road access. There are fridges and a kitchen, showers, sauna, mountaineering library, and they server beer (especially Big Rock Trad Ale). Check their website for all the details on reciprocal agreements with other mountaineering clubs. It was worth it for me (Peter Spindloe) to become a member just to stay there.

The Banff Centre for Mountain Culture
Yes, this is where the Banff Festival of Mountain Films comes from. It's actually more like a campus that has year round events, like the festival, as well as performing arts classes, business leadership seminars, etc. They have dormitories that they rent out like hotel rooms when they aren't full. I was in the area on a road trip and my partner got pretty sick so we got a room there for a few days for him to recover, rather than tenting it. I'm double checking on whether they still do this, but it wouldn't hurt to call if you're in the area.

Camping
There are a lot of places to camp (click the heading for the list), but the two most economical are the Banff Overflow lot and the Lake Louise Overflow lot as they don't have electrical hookups and the associated cost.

545 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Banff National Park

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
WI6
 23
Nemesis
Ice, Alpine 4 pitches
WI4
 83
The Professor Falls
Ice 6 pitches
WI3 PG13
 38
Cascade Falls
Ice 5 pitches
WI4-5
 98
Louise Falls
Ice 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
 33
Brewer Buttress
Trad, Alpine 13 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Easy Snow PG13
 30
East Ridge
Snow, Alpine 10 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 63
South Face
Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 68
Plutonian Shores
Sport 7 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 73
Turtle Mountain
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 76
Cardiac Arete
Sport, Alpine 4 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 150
Wicked Gravity
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 59
Mardi Gras
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 43
Chocolate Bunnies from Hell
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 28
Mr. Rogers Smokes a Fat One
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 38
DEW line
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Nemesis Radium Highway… > Stanley Headwall
 23
WI6 Ice, Alpine 4 pitches
The Professor Falls Mt Rundle > Professor Falls Area
 83
WI4 Ice 6 pitches
Cascade Falls Cascade Mountain > Cascade Mtn Ice
 38
WI3 PG13 Ice 5 pitches
Louise Falls Lake Louise > Lake Louise Ice
 98
WI4-5 Ice 3 pitches
Brewer Buttress Castle Mountain
 33
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad, Alpine 13 pitches
East Ridge Valley of the T… > Mt Temple
 30
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Easy Snow PG13 Snow, Alpine 10 pitches
South Face Sentinel Pass > Grand Sentinel
 63
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
Plutonian Shores Raven Crag
 68
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport 7 pitches
Turtle Mountain Lake Louise > Back of The Lake > Outhouse Wall
 73
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Cardiac Arete Sentinel Pass > Grand Sentinel
 76
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport, Alpine 4 pitches
Wicked Gravity Lake Louise > Back of The Lake > Outhouse Wall
 150
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Mardi Gras Lake Louise > Back of The Lake > Outhouse Wall
 59
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Chocolate Bunnies from Hell Lake Louise > Back of The Lake > Outhouse Wall
 43
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Mr. Rogers Smokes a Fat One Lake Louise > Back of The Lake > Air Voyage
 28
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
DEW line Lake Louise > Back of The Lake > Air Voyage
 38
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
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