Castle Mountain Rock Climbing
|GPS:||51.301, -115.93 Google Map · Climbing Map|
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|Shared By:||Hans on Dec 2, 2007|
|Admins:||Dave Rone, Tom Gnyra|
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DescriptionA landmark in the Bow Valley with it's distinctive shape, Castle Mountain (2766m) is located just north of Castle Junction, about midway between Banff and Lake Louise where Highway 93 intersects the Trans-Canada highway. Amenities at Castle Junction include a campground and a hostel, as well as a small store which sells some basic groceries.
A distinctive ledge system on Castle Mountain, called Goat plateau, splits the upper and lower cliffs. A tiny and novel hut on Goat plateau provides quick access to the climbs on the upper cliffs. See the alpine club for reservations.
At the southeast end of the upper cliffs is an isolated tower, named Eisenhower Tower.
Though there are many climbing routes on Castle Mountain,by far the most popular are Brewer Buttress and the south east face of Eisenhower Tower, both on the upper cliffs. I recommend purchasing the excellent guidebook Bow Valley Rock for additional beta on rock-climbing routes in the Banff/Lake Louise area, including routes on Castle Mountain.
I have found the limestone on Castle Mountain to be some of the best I've climbed on in the Canadian Rockies, though it can still be loose and crumbly in spots.
Getting ThereDepending on the route chosen, there are two approaches to the upper cliffs.
The Hut approach
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.
Above the break, follow the trail to the hut. Total time is about 3 hrs from the trailhead.
The Rockbound Lake approach
Begin at the Rockbound Lake trailhead, located about 100m east of Castle Junction on Highway 1A.
Follow the Rockbound lake trail for about 1-1.5 hours, gaining about 580m, to where a climber's trail branches to the left. This trail is marked with a small cairn, and is located after the Rockbound Lake trail has leveled off.
Follow the climber's trail through the trees, easy at first. The trail will open up and get steeper as you reach cliff bands. Eventually the trail will become very exposed as it leads from right to left along a narrow ledge system. A cairn marks the beginning of a scrambling section.
Climb up a steep wall, improbable looking considering this is only the approach. This leads to a steep gully. Climb the gully and the right wall of the gully to the top of the cliff band. This scrambling section is very exposed and beginning of it is probably class 3 or even class 4.
From the top of the cliff band, a trail leads to the base of Eisenhower Tower.
Total time is about 2-2.5 hrs from the trailhead.
Classic Climbing Routes at Castle Mountain
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season