REI Community
Bow Valley

Select Area...
Apocalypse Cave, The 
Big Choss 
Canmore Wall 
Carrot Creek 
Cougar Canyon (Creek) 
East End of Rundle (EEOR) 
Echo Canyon 
Goat wall 
Grassi Lakes 
Grotto Canyon 
Grotto Canyon (Ice climbing routes) 
Ha Ling (formerly Chinaman's)  
Heart Creek 
Johnston Canyon Ice 
Kid Goat Buttress 
Loder Peak 
McGillivray Slabs 
Nanny Goat 
Playground, The 
Rat's Nest Parking Access  
Ship's prow, The 
Rest Day:
Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

Powderface Creek Trail
Part of the Powderface Short Loop and Powderface Loop, providing access to Powderface Ridge. Near Black Diamond, Alberta
Prairie Creek Trail
Rolling singletrack linking Powderface Trail [road] to Prairie Link Trail and Powderface trailhead. Near Black Diamond, Alberta
Powderface Short Loop
Kananaskis classic after-work loop! Near Black Diamond, Alberta
A scenic option to return from Sulphur Springs to Station Flats. Near Cochrane, Alberta
Moosepackers Loop
A Kananaskis classic loop combining 7 trails! Near Cochrane, Alberta
Ridge Ranger Loop
A short loop that combines some of the best new singletrack in the area. Near Cochrane, Alberta
From MP's sister site:

Bow Valley Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 51.0884, -115.3496 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 110,674
Administrators: Dave Rone, Tom Gnyra, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Sandro on Dec 4, 2006

64° | 44°

61° | 40°

69° | 41°

72° | 43°

71° | 41°

54° | 41°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
That's a nice rock. EEOR. Thanks Ron Keller for ...


Southern Alberta's major climbing area. Centered around the town of Canmore, the Bow Valley has a sport crag in every drainage, and long multi-pitch trad routes on most of the big walls that tower over the valley.

For the trad, as the Bugs are so close, most true alpinists will spend some time there. The trad lines in the rockies tend to be chossy and scary at times but the use of modern bolting has made it quite safe on most rock types. The crown jewel of trad climbing, Yamnuska, is a venue where you can try old-school hard-man routes or new gen 'modern' routes that are complete with many bolts on the blank limestone sections. Other worthy Alpine routes will sure include Mt. Lockheed, the Ship's Prow, Mt. Temple (Banff), Sir Douglas, Edith Cavell (Jasper) the Rundle Traverse (Some in Banff), The Fold and Joy (Kananaskis), to name a couple.

You may have heard that there are giant sport climbing routes, too. Among them, Sisyphus Summits 10d 500m is the biggest to date and was established with some controversy. It resides on Ha Ling, the prominence attached to Mt Lawrence Grassi. There is also 200m-400m+ lines on EEOR, Guides Rock (Cory, in Banff), Nanny Goat, Kid Goat, Canmore Wall and Bourgeau (Banff).

If you are looking to pull down without the risk of rockfall and prefer short routes, look no further to the array of sport climbing found in most drainages, cliff bands or canyons. Cougar Canyon, Heart Canyon, Barrier Bluffs, Grassi Lakes and Grotto Canyon all host a good mix of hard and easy routes for those who are starting or getting better.

Acephale, Planet X (Cougar), Echo and Bataan all have a harder mix of climbing that requires at least 10a climbing to have fun (11+ at Acephale) but all host incredible stone. You can also find a number of less travelled areas such as Carrot Creek or Raven's Crag which both have excellent climbing and provide some relief in the busy months.

The rock season is short (April-October) in most years, but fortunately the Bow Valley also has world-class ice climbing in the winter. Some ice climbs begin forming as early as October and the ice season can last well into April if the temperature is cool up high (more so in the parks). For a more detailed look at conditions, consult Will Gadd's website: Grav Sports Ice Forum

There are many guidebooks on any type of adventure, be it alpine, trad, sport or ice/mixed, you can find what you desire in each book (see guidebook section).

Getting There and Lodging 

Canmore is the epicenter of the climbing in the Bow Valley and where most of the climbers in the area reside (other than Calgary) as it is a short drive to most of the crags.

There are a few ways, other than driving, to get to Canmore if you decide to take that route. Generally, however, the climbing will require some amount of driving so be prepared to make plans if you come unassisted.


You can easily fly into the Calgary international airport and take a bus to Canmore that drops you off in downtown. From there, taxi services will take you anywhere in town and the town is quite small. Accommodations can be found in the large hotel chains on Bow Valley trail (the north side road in relation to the tracks).

Another option for lodging is to stay at the Alpine Club hut which is open to the public at $36 for non members or $25 for members per night. There is a kitchen and rooms and it is very cozy. Plus, there are a ton of historical things and guidebooks if you have a day off and want to browse the library.


Most camping can be found online and most of it is about $26 a night. There is a selection depending on which objectives you would want to do (think: sport climbing vs. alpine).

The ghost used to have free camping options but now that has changed. Make sure to do research before camping there and take a car that can take abuse and has a winch.

Car camping

As the van life seems to be pretty abundant in Canmore, it seems that as long as you don't have a brand new RV you can get by with parking on roads that get low usage to sleep. Which roads exactly I won't say as there aren't any that are 'car camping' approved by our city but generally those which have a lot of parking, businesses that aren't chains and don't need parking lots (not car garages for example) and don't stick out like sore thumbs. Ask other climbers (you can meet them at Elevation place on rainy days or Beamers'/Rocky Mountain Bagel Co. in the mornings).

Do not park where it says no overnight parking! Why? That means they know people like to park there overnight. Ipso Facto, they patrol.

Guidebooks for the area 

Here are the main guidebooks which are in print. You may not want to buy them all so I'll describe them to you in detail (I own almost all of them and there are no 'bad' guidebooks in this area, thankfully).

All these guidebooks are available online, at MEC, Valhalla, Vertical Addiction, Cafe books (great book store) and some other small store.

Bow Valley Sport (2010)

Rock Climbing Photo: BVS

Incredible amount of hard and easy sport climbs documented in full color pictures, no hand drawn topos and great directions. Tick list galore and very well done. Comes highly recommended. Can be bought online or even in online version through the author.

As low as $10 (online version) for all the sport climbing you will need all season!

Canmore Sport Climbs (2005)

Rock Climbing Photo: CSP

Another good guidebook, albeit no photos. The hand drawn topos are really good and this is a inexpensive guide to Grassi Lakes, EEOR and Ha ling. Currently the only book that has has the sport climbs on EEOR and Ha Ling in print. Buy this guide if you've only got 2 days in the valley and want to try some awesome sport multipitch. Currently $3.03 on google play!

Bouldering Canadian Rockies (2003)

Rock Climbing Photo: Bouldering

Like bouldering? Living in a choss pile? You can still boulder out here, even though all the alpine climbers will look down on you. Literally. But who cares, they don't pull V10. This is a great guidebook for lots of good bouldering. Lots more to be developed still (obviously) but this is a good start.

Yamnuska Climbing (2016)

Rock Climbing Photo: 123456123

The Yam is a beautiful and scary place. There are some good, classic and loose routes all over this jewel and people climb here all the time. Go climb there, and do yourself a favour and get this book.

Sport Climbing in the Canadian Rockies (2016)

Rock Climbing Photo: Sport climbing 7th
Sport climbing 7th

The new guidebook is the newest edition from J. Jones and J. Martin. Very nice book that explores most routes in the rockies.

Banff Rock (2012)

Rock Climbing Photo: Banff Rock
Banff Rock

An incredible guidebook to everything inside the park. I don't think anything is more than 2h driving but some is quite obscure. Very good book and great author (who develops) makes for a very informative guidebook. The price is fair and it is full color with mostly photos, some hand drawn topos.

Ice Lines (2014)

Rock Climbing Photo: ice lines
ice lines

Your guide to a hundred or so, four star, beastly waterfalls and drainages that ice up ever year. A beautiful guidebook that is at home on any coffee table or in any pack.

Other websites 

Consult this list of great websites for the valley:

The tabvar site is your organization for bolting, safety, partnership and rock climbing culture. They are the ones who pay for the bolts you clip. Yes, they pay for them. Send them some love, donate or be kind.

A project by Greg Cornell which is documenting lots of cool lines in the rockies. Keep it up Greg!

Banff Rock old guidebook

Chris Perry's personal website hosts his old guidebook and lots of beautiful routes that you may consider doing (lots of unrepeated and alpine ones too)

Grav sports ice

Will Gadd's personal forum. read the rules and find what you want to climb this weekend. Great sharing site.

Avalanche Conditions

Check this to make sure you don't get destroyed by an avy this weekend as you are often under huge bowls of snow (think: cascade falls, for example)


Generally a good place to get more beta/info on climbs due to the fact that Dow W. is very active on this website and has climb most of the classic routes in the Valley

Climbing Season

Weather station 12.9 miles from here

630 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',77],['3 Stars',228],['2 Stars',255],['1 Star',32],['Bomb',2]

Classic Climbing Routes in Bow Valley

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Bow Valley:
Grotto Falls   WI3     Ice, 2 pitches, 200'   Grotto Canyon (Ice climbing...
NE Buttress   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13     Trad, 11 pitches, 1500'   Ha Ling (formerly Chinaman'...
Grillmair's Chimneys   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b PG13     Trad, 8 pitches, 1000'   Yamnuska : 5. Bottleneck
Coire Dubh Integrale   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b WI3 Easy Snow     Trad, Ice, Snow, 6 pitches, 2000'   Loder Peak
Grey Waves   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 5 pitches, 500'   Kid Goat Buttress
Red Shirt   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 8 pitches, 800'   Yamnuska : 7. The Bowl and Red Shirt
Direttissima   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13     Trad, 9 pitches, 1100'   Yamnuska : 3. CMC Wall
Forbidden Corner   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R     Trad, 10 pitches, 1020'   Yamnuska : 6. Kahl Wall
Beautiful Century   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 7 pitches, 750'   Nanny Goat
Kahl Wall   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 9 pitches, 850'   Yamnuska : 6. Kahl Wall
True Grit   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 6 pitches, 560'   East End of Rundle (EEOR)
Raptor   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 9 pitches, 750'   East End of Rundle (EEOR)
Sisyphus Summits    5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 21 pitches, 1700'   Ha Ling (formerly Chinaman'...
Meathooks   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Grassi Lakes : Meathooks Area
A Bold New Plan   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 70'   Grassi Lakes : The White Imperialist
Stormtroopers in Drag   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 65'   Grassi Lakes : Meathooks Area
Tall Storey   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 8 pitches, 600'   Echo Canyon : Tall Storey Area
Holey Shit   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 80'   Grassi Lakes : Meathooks Area
Dance Me Outside   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 50'   Grassi Lakes : The White Imperialist
B60 OFO (30 Something)   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 100'   Grassi Lakes : Meathooks Area
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Bow Valley

Featured Route For Bow Valley
Rock Climbing Photo: topo from the free pdf

Kurihara (Jiro Kurihara Memorial Route) 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b  North America : Canada : ... : Canmore Wall
An incredible addition to Canmore Wall area and also a tribute to a fallen climber. TABVAR has some great free topos of routes, this one included (link in text)From TAVBAR:This route was put up in tribute to Jiro Kurihara who passed away in an avalanche in Alaska in May 2011. Jiro was a passionate climber who lived in Canmore because he loved the Canadian Rockies.RIP JiroClimbing SequencePitch 1 (5.6, 25 m, 2 bolts): ...[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Bow Valley Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Mr Manners, Grassi Lakes
Mr Manners, Grassi Lakes
Rock Climbing Photo: John Martin and Jon Jones just updated their guide...
BETA PHOTO: John Martin and Jon Jones just updated their guide...
Rock Climbing Photo: True Grit on EEOR A. Larose climbing
True Grit on EEOR A. Larose climbing
Rock Climbing Photo: Lac des Arcs.
Lac des Arcs.
Rock Climbing Photo: From Chinaman's.  That's a nice rock.  EEOR.  Than...
From Chinaman's. That's a nice rock. EEOR. Than...

Comments on Bow Valley Add Comment
Show which comments
By ihategrigris
From: Vancouver, BC
Mar 19, 2007
The Rock season in portions of the Bow Valley, especially on south facing cliffs such as Yamnuska is more like March to October.
By GoBoy
Jan 6, 2017
Is the Yamnuska Climbing (2016) pictured above available for purchase? I can not find it online.
By Brad Warne
From: Calgary, Alberta
Jan 6, 2017
Yam guidebook can be purchased here: guide books
By GoBoy
Jan 6, 2017
thanks! looks like they only have a 2006 guide? is there a 2016?
EDIT: I found it here
By jered cherry
May 21, 2017
Going to be in Canmore area climbing from July 1st-4th. We thought we were being sneaky by leaving the US for those dates and then a canadian friend told us about Canada day!

Campgrounds are good and booked. Does anyone mind sharing some beta on where to sleep in a van?

If you want to keep if off this thread you can PM me at

Thanks and happy to return the favor to anyone taking any southwest US climbing trips.

By Brad Warne
From: Calgary, Alberta
May 22, 2017
Where are you planning on climbing?

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About