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Mount Louis

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Gmoser Route, The T 
Homage to the Spider T 
Kain Route, The T 

Mount Louis Rock Climbing 


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Location: 51.21545, -115.68002 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Dave Rone, Tom Gnyra, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Hans on Jul 31, 2015
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Mount Louis. The upper portion of Homage to the Sp...

Description 

Mount Louis is an iconic limestone spire with a rich climbing history, and there is no easy route to its summit.

Rock Climbing Photo: Mount Louis as seen from Cascade Mountain
Mount Louis as seen from Cascade Mountain


The first ascent of Mount Louis in 1916 by Conrad Kain and Albert MacCarthy was a landmark achievement. Climbers today who struggle to complete the Kain route before darkness befalls them will likely not be comforted that Kain and MacCarthy did the first ascent in just four hours, using hobnailed boots, hemp ropes, and of course no gear as it had not been invented yet. To descend they down-climbed the route.

The list of famous names who have done first ascents on Mount Louis is extensive. Others beside Kain include Walter Perren, Hans Gmoser, Galen Rowell, Tim Auger, Layton Kor, Brian Greenwood, Sean Dougherty, Steve Demaio, Raphael Slawinski, and most recently Sonnie Trotter and Tommy Caldwell.

Though there are many routes on Mount Louis, most of the climbing activity is concentrated on three routes in particular: the Kain route, the Gmoser route, and Homage to the Spider.

Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Louis from Cory Pass
Mt. Louis from Cory Pass


Climbers should not underestimate the length of time required, as the number of bivy sites on the upper part of the mountain can attest to.

There and Back Again 

Approach

From Banff, drive about 6km west on the Trans-Canada highway and take the Highway 1A exit. Immediately after the exit a road branches right to the Fireside parking area.

From the parking area, follow the trail across the creek. After about 10 minutes a junction is reached. The left fork climbs up a hill and is signed for Cory Pass. Straight ahead is signed for Edith pass. Take the Edith pass trail.

Follow the Edith pass trail, which climbs gently through forest, past the south and centre peaks of Mount Edith. Eventually the forest will open up and a short descent leads to scree slopes below the north peak of Mount Edith and Mount Louis. The time for the approach is about 2 hours for the Gmoser route and the Kain route, and perhaps 2.5 hours for Homage to the Spider.

Rock Climbing Photo: Mt Louis from the approach trail.
Mt Louis from the approach trail.


The Gmoser route climbs the face visible from the trail while the Kain route approximately climbs the right skyline before joining the upper pitches of the Gmoser route. Homage to the Spider is located around the right side of Mount Louis.


Descent

The descent consists of ten single rappels from bolted anchors and is on the north side of the peak.

Rock Climbing Photo: Mt Louis as seen from Cory pass. The approximate l...
Mt Louis as seen from Cory pass. The approximate line of descent is shown.


From the summit cross locate a bolted rappel anchor at the top of a low angle gully. Make five 30 metre rappels down the gully (or three double rappels), to where it steepens.

Rock Climbing Photo: Summit cross on Mount Louis with Mount Rundle in t...
Summit cross on Mount Louis with Mount Rundle in the distance. A light storm brought a nice rainbow.


Rock Climbing Photo: The first five rappels are down this somewhat chos...
The first five rappels are down this somewhat chossy gully


Walk up an easy ramp to locate the next rappel anchor. This ramp is climber's left of the gully. Note that a common mistake is to try to climb an earlier ramp. The correct ramp is short, easy looking, and is after the fifth single rappel.

From the top of the ramp, make a 25 metre rappel then a 30 metre rappel (or one double rappel) to a ledge. Walk 5 metres to locate the next station on the wall.

Make a 30 metre rappel to the next anchor in a small alcove/bowl.

Two more single rappels (or one double) leads to easy ground. From here, a steep trail leads down to the base of Mount Louis near the beginning of the Gmoser route.

Climbing Season



Weather station 6.4 miles from here

3 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',0],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',1],['5.9',1],['5.10',1],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Mount Louis

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Mount Louis:
The Kain Route   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Alpine   
The Gmoser Route   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Alpine, 15 pitches   
Homage to the Spider   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Alpine   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Mount Louis

Featured Route For Mount Louis
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt Louis topo

The Kain Route 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  North America : Canada : ... : Mount Louis
The original route on Mount Louis, the Kain route was pioneered by the legendary Conrad Kain in 1916 and was a landmark achievement at the time. The first ascent took just four hours, and they down climbed the route to descend. Today, most parties will take a long day to complete the route, and the large number of bivy sites on the upper portion of the route and on the summit are a testament to the number of climbers that either underestimated the route or ran into trouble. Note that I found the...[more]   Browse More Classics in International

Photos of Mount Louis Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Mount Louis as seen from Cascade Mountain
Mount Louis as seen from Cascade Mountain
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt Louis topo
BETA PHOTO: Mt Louis topo
Rock Climbing Photo: Mount Louis with the line of Homage to the Spider ...
BETA PHOTO: Mount Louis with the line of Homage to the Spider ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt Louis as seen from Cory pass. The approximate l...
BETA PHOTO: Mt Louis as seen from Cory pass. The approximate l...
Rock Climbing Photo: After 5 single-rope rappels, scramble over to the ...
BETA PHOTO: After 5 single-rope rappels, scramble over to the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Start of rappel route, just west and down from sum...
BETA PHOTO: Start of rappel route, just west and down from sum...
Rock Climbing Photo: The first five rappels are down this somewhat chos...
BETA PHOTO: The first five rappels are down this somewhat chos...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt Cory and Cory pass from the summit of Mount Lou...
Mt Cory and Cory pass from the summit of Mount Lou...
Rock Climbing Photo: Summit cross on Mount Louis with Mount Rundle in t...
Summit cross on Mount Louis with Mount Rundle in t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Louis from Cory Pass
Mt. Louis from Cory Pass
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt Louis from the approach trail.
Mt Louis from the approach trail.

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