Elevation: 4,593 ft
GPS: 51.188, -115.584 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 549,625 total · 3,389/month
Shared By: ihategrigris on Mar 21, 2007
Admins: Dave Rone, Tom Gnyra


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

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

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

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.

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.

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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.
Ice, Alpine 4 pitches
The Professor Falls
Ice 6 pitches
WI3 PG13
Cascade Falls
Ice 5 pitches
Louise Falls
Ice 3 pitches
Bourgeau Left-Hand
Ice, Alpine 4 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Easy Snow PG13
East Ridge
Snow, Alpine 10 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Sport 8 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
South Face
Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Plutonian Shores
Sport 7 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Public Enemy
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Turtle Mountain
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Cardiac Arete
Sport, Alpine 4 pitches
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Wicked Gravity
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Chocolate Bunnies from Hell
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
DEW line
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Nemesis Radium Highway > Stanley Headwall
WI6 Ice, Alpine 4 pitches
The Professor Falls Mt Rundle > Professor Falls Area
WI4 Ice 6 pitches
Cascade Falls Cascade Mountain > Cascade Mtn Ice
WI3 PG13 Ice 5 pitches
Louise Falls Lake Louise > Lake Louise Ice
WI4-5 Ice 3 pitches
Bourgeau Left-Hand Mt Bourgeau
WI5 Ice, Alpine 4 pitches
East Ridge Valley of the T… > Mt Temple
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Easy Snow PG13 Snow, Alpine 10 pitches
Aftonroe Mt Cory > Take it for Granite
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport 8 pitches
South Face Sentinel Pass > Grand Sentinel
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Alpine 4 pitches
Plutonian Shores Raven Crag
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport 7 pitches
Public Enemy Lake Louise > Back of The Lake > Outhouse Wall
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Turtle Mountain Lake Louise > Back of The Lake > Outhouse Wall
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Cardiac Arete Sentinel Pass > Grand Sentinel
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport, Alpine 4 pitches
Wicked Gravity Lake Louise > Back of The Lake > Outhouse Wall
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Chocolate Bunnies from Hell Lake Louise > Back of The Lake > Outhouse Wall
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
DEW line Lake Louise > Back of The Lake > Air Voyage
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
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