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Banff Beta/Guidebook Question


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Chet Butterworth · · Chattanooga · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 435

Short of it: I'll be there in late July and I'm interested in peakbagging and rock climbing and maybe doing some backpacking. Best guidebook for the park?

Little more context: My best friend's family got a cabin up there for a while and I'm going to meet him to do some fun stuff that his family can't do. They're from Florida so he doesn't climb much but he's followed me up everything I occassionally get to take him up. So 5.fun is the name of the game. Any helpful information is welcomed! 

Cory Brooks · · Fresno, CA · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 761

There are a lot of guidebooks, Banff and the Canadian Rockies are a HUGE area with many thousands of routes. Every single drainage within sight of Canmore has sport climbing in it, every peak you can see has routes to the top. The Sport climbing out of Lake Louise is good, on quality quartzite. 

The Rockies are not the Sierra, the rock quality is dubious. I would not want to bring non-proficient climber up anything 5th class in the Rockies, but that's just me. There is a nice guidebook for 3rd and 4th class scrambles available (listed below)

Here are some links that might help

http://www.highcol.ca/

http://www.rmbooks.com/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781771601009

http://www.rmbooks.com/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781894765749

http://www.rmbooks.com/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781771600972

Chet Butterworth · · Chattanooga · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 435

This is all very good. Thank you!

Nat Hookway · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

If you will be planning to only be in Banff : The Sport Climbs book is the one you want. Lots of great sport crags in Canmore and Lake Louise (and Banff) that will keep you busy. I first learnt to lead sport in Canmore. 

http://www.rmbooks.com/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781771601009

In July some peaks for peak bagging will still be snow covered and are best left for late August and early September. But you will find plenty of hikes to go on with your friend. The national park website is also a good reference point. 

Another favorite guidebook of mine is Where locals hike in the Canadian Rockies. I have the west Kooteney one too and it's maybe the best ever hiking guide book I've ever used and owned.   http://www.hikingcamping.com/guidebooks.php

Ps Ill be in the area all summer July and August if you are looking for a safe attentive belayer and someone to climb with .

Chet Butterworth · · Chattanooga · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 435
Nat Hookway wrote:

Ps Ill be in the area all summer July and August if you are looking for a safe attentive belayer and someone to climb with .

Excellent, Nat! Thank you. 

Chet Butterworth · · Chattanooga · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 435

What are people's favorite scrambles in the area? I'll probably take my buddy up Rundlehorn one day, but what's good in the class 3, class 4 range. I'm looking at summit post and ordering the Kane book, but what do folks on mountain project like?  

sean o · · Northern, NM · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 20
Chet Butterworth wrote:

What are people's favorite scrambles in the area? I'll probably take my buddy up Rundlehorn one day, but what's good in the class 3, class 4 range. I'm looking at summit post and ordering the Kane book, but what do folks on mountain project like?  

Kane is good, and will keep you busy for awhile.  South of Banff, Smuts and the Fist are nice, though on the hard end of class 4.  Lawrence Grassi is quick and class 3-ish.  If I were you, and had a car, I'd haul your friend up Assiniboine from the BC side.

Michael G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 1,175

Hey guys, some friends and I will be in the Banff/Canmore area in late July. We will be climbing and would love to hear thoughts on which guidebook(s?) to buy ahead of time. We're planning on sport, but would love to do some moderate trad...even a longer alpine-ish route, if possible that time of year.

It seems like there are three good options:

Banff Rock

Sport Climbs in the Canadian Rockies (includes Bow Valley?)

Bow Valley Sport

It'd be great to not have to buy all three. Bow Valley seems like a sure thing, but we'd also like to do something in Banff Park. Thanks for any help!

-Michael

the schmuck · · Albuquerque, NM · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 110

Bow Valley Sport is a good book that also covers Lake Louise (highly recommend). If you feel like you need more material, the local climbing shops carry all three books. 

FosterK · · Edmonton, AB · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 43
Michael G wrote: Hey guys, some friends and I will be in the Banff/Canmore area in late July. We will be climbing and would love to hear thoughts on which guidebook(s?) to buy ahead of time. We're planning on sport, but would love to do some moderate trad...even a longer alpine-ish route, if possible that time of year.

It seems like there are three good options:

Banff Rock

Sport Climbs in the Canadian Rockies (includes Bow Valley?)

Bow Valley Sport

It'd be great to not have to buy all three. Bow Valley seems like a sure thing, but we'd also like to do something in Banff Park. Thanks for any help!

-Michael

Banff Rock includes sport, trad, and some alpine rock routes, including some stuff just outside of the park; Sport Climbs... includes front range rock climbs to Lake Louise, including many single pitch trad routes. Bow Valley Sport is pure sport. 

Late July would usually be good alpine rock weather, but I would expect that this colder spring will keep some snow and dampness lingering up high.
Michael G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 1,175

Thanks for the reply. It sounds like you would suggest Banff Rock + a sport climbing book. From what I can tell, Sport Climbs in the Can. Rockies covers more areas (including Bow Valley) but isn't as "pretty", lacking full color photos/topos. Is it worth putting up with the hand drawn topos to have more areas included in the guidebook?

Thanks again. 

FosterK · · Edmonton, AB · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 43
Michael G wrote: Thanks for the reply. It sounds like you would suggest Banff Rock + a sport climbing book. From what I can tell, Sport Climbs in the Can. Rockies covers more areas (including Bow Valley) but isn't as "pretty", lacking full color photos/topos. Is it worth putting up with the hand drawn topos to have more areas included in the guidebook?

Thanks again. 

Bow Valley refers essentially to the Canmore to Lake Louise corridor, but centred around Banff/Canmore. 

You would be fine with only Banff Rock if you intend to stay for a short time and want to taste all of those disciplines. Sport Climbs has more areas, and a greater range of climbing grades, and I find the the topos very readable. If you're staying a while than either Sport or Bow Valley Rock is sufficient - buy to your taste and desire for more (former) or no (latter) additional trad climb beta.
ddriver · · SLC · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 832

There are some longer bolted/mixed routes around Canmore that may be of interest to you.  Look at Kid Goat near Yamnuska for introductory stuff.  I think there's also a Nanny Goat there but I cannot remember if I've done a route on it.  East End of Rundle (EEOR) has a couple longer bolted routes.  There are others.  I also recommend Lake Louise behind the lake.  Super quartzite climbing, both bolted and trad, nice setting too.

Michael G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 1,175
ddriver wrote: There are some longer bolted/mixed routes around Canmore that may be of interest to you.  Look at Kid Goat near Yamnuska for introductory stuff.

That would be in a fourth guidebook, to Yamnuska, yeah?

Michael G · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 1,175
FosterK wrote:

You would be fine with only Banff Rock if you intend to stay for a short time and want to taste all of those disciplines.

Ah, okay. I thought that Banff Rock didn't include the sport climbs in Bow Valley...only the climbs within the actual park. From what I had read online, it seemed like most of the sport in Bow Valley was technically outside of the park.

FosterK · · Edmonton, AB · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 43
Michael G wrote:

Ah, okay. I thought that Banff Rock didn't include the sport climbs in Bow Valley...only the climbs within the actual park. From what I had read online, it seemed like most of the sport in Bow Valley was technically outside of the park.

There are certainly crags which are common and popular sport climbing areas that are missing from Banff Rock (Cougar Canyon, Echo Canyon, and Acephale comes to mind), but there is plenty of sport climbing described in Banff Rock. If you can forgo the alpine routes and longer multi-pitch routes, then Sport... will fulfill your needs for clipping bolts and plugging gear. 

Michael G wrote:
That would be in a fourth guidebook, to Yamnuska, yeah? 
Kid Goat area is not described in the Yam guidebook - only routes on Yam. Kid Goat climbs are described in this free Banff Rock pdf: banffrock.ca/BVRpdfs/Goat/K… and in the Sport Climbs guidebook. 
Chet Butterworth · · Chattanooga · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 435

thought this thread was dead. y'all rule.

Jordan Tamborine · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0

When does back of the lake usually get ready/dry for climbing?

Chris Small · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 31

Generally locals don't climb at the Back of the Lake prior to the May Long Weekend (May 24). This winter has been especially harsh and likely will have significant snow on the ground well into June.

Jordan Tamborine · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0
Chris Small wrote: Generally locals don't climb at the Back of the Lake prior to the May Long Weekend (May 24). This winter has been especially harsh and likely will have significant snow on the ground well into June.

Okay good to know! What crags would you recommend for early May? I could only assume echo canyon and wasootch would be fine, mainly looking forward to sunshine slabs to open.

FosterK · · Edmonton, AB · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 43
Jordan Tamborine wrote:

Okay good to know! What crags would you recommend for early May? I could only assume echo canyon and wasootch would be fine, mainly looking forward to sunshine slabs to It 

Sunshine slabs will probably be cool and seeping if it's not still snow bound. 
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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