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Climbs at Banff and vicinity Canadian Pacific Railway Company; Wheeler, Arthur O. 1930

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BP/%^ ^^ I" Bh
m Arthur O. Wheeler, founder and
Honorary President of the Alpine
Club of Canada, is the writer of this
little brochure. A veteran Alpinist, he
is known no less for his intense love
of climbing than for his intimate
knowledge of these mountains.
PRINTED   IN   CANADA,   1930 T..
Banff Springs Hotel and the Bow River Valley
NUMBER of good rock climbs can be made directly
from Banff and many others in the vicinity can easily
be reached. Climbing guides, pack and camping
outfits and all other necessaries can be obtained in the town,
with the exception of ice axes, alpenstocks, climbing ropes
and climbing boots. During the summer months little
snow remains on the mountains around Banff. It is, therefore, advisable on all climbs to take a canteen filled with
water, or a thermos bottle with tea or coffee, and plenty to
eat.    Vitality must be maintained to a high degree.
The principal accessible climbs may be enumerated as
Tunnel Mountain—A good trail leads from the centre
of the town up the west face of the mountain. It supplies
a short training climb to get in condition. Although only
5550 feet in altitude above sea level, the summit is a magnificent viewpoint, covering the Bow River valley both east
and west. The chief advantage is that, set at a position
not far from midway between the valley bottom and the
crests of the encircling mountain ranges, it does full value
in perspective to the depths and to the heights. The
climb is recommended to all in search of scenic beauties.
Page Three Tunnel Mountain and Mt. Rundle
Sulphur Mountain—An excellent trail leads up the
mountain from the Upper Hot Springs to the Observatory.
It provides good training to get in condition. There are
some fine rock scrambles above the Alpine Club House,
and particularly at the north end above the Middle Springs.
A splendid day can be had by taking the trail from the
LJpper Hot Springs to the crest of the mountain, then follow the summit ridge southerly to the Goat Mountain end.
To return to Banff, descend to the road along the west side
of Spray River. Should the full distance be found too
great, a descent to the road can be made from any point
along the ridge.
The altitude of the highest summit is 8040 feet. Magnificent views, overlooking, southwest, the Sundance
Creek valley and pass, and, northeast, the Spray River
and Spray Lakes valley and the enclosing ranges on both
sides, are to be had for all of the distance along the ridge.
The climb is recommended as one easily accessible, with
plenty of good rock work.
Mt. Rundle—Will provide some good rock climbing.
There are four outstanding peaks, respectively, from
northwest to southeast, 9675 feet, 9625 feet, 9838 feet and
8900 feet in altitude. A lower summit at the north end
of the ridge and the first high peak (9675 feet) are most
Page Four ■'■'■■'.'\ '
With the Alpine Club near Lake O'Hara
Page Five Mt. Inglismaldie and La\e Minnewanka
easily reached by the trail starting near the Spray River
bridge leading to the golf course. To the higher summit the
trail skirts the base of the mountain, gradually rising, for
about two and a half miles and then zig-zags up the face
half of the distance; beyond the end of the trail it is a
matter of climbing. Nos. 2 and 3 of the higher peaks are
best reached by the road along the west side of the Spray
River, which is crossed by the bridge some four miles up
the valley from the Banff Springs Hotel. From the bridge
a strategic route can be picked out. These two climbs are
more strenuous than peak No. 1.
To reach No. 3 peak (the highest summit, 9838 feet) the
route is towards the bump or tower on the arete, which
stands out so prominently as seen from Sulphur Mountain.
There are some steep cliffs which can be circumvented.
For peaks along the ridge farther south, it would be
necessary to follow the road to its end, crossing the Spray
River by the second bridge, about seven miles from the
Banff Springs Hotel, and then the trail leading up the
valley of Goat Creek.
From all of the peaks named there are wondrous views
of the Bow River valley, the Cascade River valley, and
the valley of Lake Minnewanka; also of the Spray River
and Spray Lakes valleys, and of a galaxy of mountain
Page Six Cascade Mountain from Tunnel Mountain
ranges, peaks and glaciers as far as the eye can see. Northwest, the peaks, towers and pinnacles of Mts. Inglismaldie,
Peechee and the Fairholme Mountains, directly across the
Bow valley, are impressively grand in architectural design.
For rock climbing of the highest class the northeast face
of Mt. Rundle presents numerous opportunities. Its base
is not so readily approached, owing to lack of a trail along
the south side of the Bow River, and from the eastern
extremity of the golf links drive a way through the woods
bordering the river would have to be found to reach points
for climbing.
Cascade Mountain—Is 9836 feet in altitude. It is a
long day to the summit, but the magnificence of the view,
extending eastward far up Lake Minnewanka, covering
the Bow valley in both directions and the Spray valley
to the south, makes it well worth while. The easiest route
of ascent is by the trail between Stony Squaw Mountain
and Mt. Norquay, which leaves the highway about three-
quarters of a mile north of the railway station. The trail
crosses Fortymile Creek and zig-zags up the western slopes
of the mountain to the long ridge seen from the town, which
is ascended to the summit. At the lower summit, the
one seen from Banff, a traverse is made on the face, crossing
Page Seven Mount Edith's Towering Spire
on a wide ledge and then taking a shale slope to the main
summit. There is no very serious climbing on this route,
but it makes a most delightful hike and climb. On the
return, Fortymile Creek can be followed to the waterworks,
and so to the Buffalo Park and home by the highway.
The mountain can also be ascended by the face seen
from Banff, but this route can only be made by skilled
climbers or with a climbing guide.
Mt. Norquay—There are two summits, of which the
western one is the higher, 8275 feet. The ascent to either
summit is made from a suitable point on the Banff-Lake
Louise highway. There are a variety of routes open to the
climber. A good day can be had by climbing to the eastern
summit and then following the sky line ridge to the western
summit and descending to the highway. The mountain
is a favourite with climbers and provides rock work of
varying degrees of difficulty.
Mt. Edith—Is the sharp spire seen on the north side of
the Bow valley looking west. It is 8380 feet in altitude.
This is one of the most popular climbs in the vicinity.
Unless a skilled climber, it should not be attempted without
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Main Range west of Banff
a climbing guide. The simplest route is by the way of
the Mystic Lake trail, which starts from the highway
about three miles west of Banff. Follow the trail to where
the motor road ends, about a mile from the main road.
Here, cross the small stream and follow the logs back on
the ridge until near timber line. At a point where you
have to descend 40 to 50 feet, strike out on the left and
maintain this elevation, crossing some slopes. If careful
you will locate a game trail, which makes the crossing easier.
When you have passed the first tower you will observe a
gap or col on the mountain and you ascend directly to this
col. On the right you will see a chimney leading to a crack,
where one passes through a corridor, and so on to the face
looking out towards Edith Creek. From this point there
are various routes to the summit. With rubber or rope-
soled shoes one can go right up to the left of the summit
and follow the ar6te to the top. An easier way is to descend slightly and follow easy ledges to the arete looking
over the main road. Turn to the left and follow the arete
to the summit.
The return is made to the col. Then one can go down
the gap to Edith Pass, or drop down to the creek on the
side of the ascent and follow it to the highway.
Page Nine Mt. Louis—Though only a little over 8700 feet in altitude, Mt. Louis is one of the finest and most difficult rock
climbs in the entire range. It should only be attempted
by a finished climber or with a skilled climbing guide. It
is approached by the trail over Edith Pass, practically the
same route as to Mt. Edith, but the trail is followed to the
summit of the pass. At the summit bear to the left close
to the second and third towers of Mt. Edith; descend to
the opening to the amphitheatre enclosed by Mts. Louis,
Cory and Edith. From this point the route up the face is
complicated and requires knowledge or study. It is a
thrilling climb.
Mt. Fifi—Beyond Mt. Louis, in the same group, rises
Mt. Fifi of about 8500 feet altitude. The route is by the
western face and provides an excellent rock climb, although
by no means so difficult as Mt. Louis.
Mt. Cory—Is 9194 feet in altitude. It can readily be
climbed from a point about a mile beyond Sawback on the
Lake Louise highway, a short distance west of the cave
known as the Hole in the Wall, which can be explored at the
same time. It is a good rock climb, presenting no special
features of difficulty.
Sawback Range—There are a number of other peaks
at the southerly end of the range that can be climbed from
points along the Lake Louise highway between Sawback
and the warden's cabin at Massive.
Massive Range—Is seen from the bridge over the Bow
River at Banff, rising in an impressive group of peaks,
apparently closing the valley to the west. The principal
peaks of the group are: Pilot Mountain, 9690 feet; Mt.
Brett, 9790 feet; an unnamed peak, 9540 feet; Mt. Bour-
geau, 9615 feet; Mt. Lougheed, 8888 feet; and Massive Mt.,
7990 feet in altitude. All provide good climbs, particularly Pilot Mountain and Mt. Bourgeau. Although in full
view, the group lies too far west of Banff to be made in one
day, and to climb the peaks enumerated it would be necessary to camp at a suitable place to select a route of ascent.
For such purpose a pack and camp outfit would have to be
hired at Banff. It would be advisable to obtain the services of a man who is both a packer and climbing guide.
The four higher peaks open up new and spectacular vistas
of scenery in every direction, and particularly the Mt.
Ball range and wonderful Egypt Lake area to the west and
southwest, while southeast some twenty miles distant the
giant massif, Mt. Assiniboine, stands out in bold relief.
Page Ten Mount Louis-—a Difficult Roc\ Climb
Mount Fiji—beyond
Page Eleven The Fairholme Range
Mts. Inglismaldie, Girouard and Peechee—In the
opposite direction, down the Bow Valley on its north side,
the peaks named can be reached from the Calgary highway.
Mt. Inglismaldie is 9725 feet, Mt. Girouard 9825 feet and
Mt. Peechee 9625 feet in altitude. The abandoned mining
village at Anthracite is a good place to park a car while
making the climb.
A specially fine climb is to ascend to the summit of Mt.
Peechee, then to follow the arete around the big amphitheatre, immediately north, to the summit of Mt. Girouard
and descend from it to the starting point at Anthracite.
There is some excellent climbing on both mountains and
it is well worth while, though seldom, if ever, done. It
would be a strenuous day, and it is advised not to attempt
it without a skilled climbing guide, unless a finished climber,
as some of the towers and pinnacles may present difficult
From all three summits magnificent views of Lake
Minnewanka, The Devil's Gap, and of the mountains
beyond, are to be had.
Fairholme Mountains—There are several peaks varying from 8508 feet to 9315 feet in this group that will provide interesting climbs. They can be reached from points
on the highway near Canmore.
Page Twelve The Three Sisters, Canmore
The Three Sisters—These well-known peaks can be
climbed from the mining village of Canmore, which can be
reached either by train or by motor stage in less than an
hour from Banff.
No. 1, 8850 feet in altitude, is the most northerly and
lowest. It is a good rock climb and, when there is no
snow, can be ascended without much difficulty. Rope-
soled or rubber shoes are necessary. The route is about
the centre of the face looking down on Canmore. Before
climbing, detailed instructions should be obtained from L.
Grassi (Swiss), climbing guide at Canmore.
No. 2, 9000 feet, is practically a shale slope and consequently an arduous grind.
No. 3, 9744 feet, the highest, is most easily done from the
Goat Creek side, west of the Canmore Gap, but can be
made from Canmore by way of the arete seen from the
highway between it and No. 2.
Mt. Aylmer—Is the highest mountain in the vicinity,
10,375 feet above sea level. It shows a rounded dome
northwest of Banff.    It can be reached by motor car to
Page Thirteen the east end of Lake Minnewanka, thence by trail some
three miles along the north shore of the lake; here, a branch
trail to the north is followed for about three miles to the
divide at the headwaters of Ghost River. The ascent is
made from the pass up long slopes of rock and scree, with
which the mountain is covered in great part on this side.
The climb is a steady grind, but as a viewpoint the summit
is superb, disclosing peaks on peaks in every direction and,
far to the eastward, the wide expanse of the railway prairie
lands. It makes a long day, but can readily be done by
getting an early start.
To study the climbs enumerated, see the maps at the
Information Bureau at the north approach to the Bow
River bridge.
Woollen underwear.
Short skirt or riding breeches.
Woollen golf stockings.
Climbing boots with Swiss edge nails, or stout rubber-soled
Sweater—not very heavy.
Flannel shirt.
Drinking cup—rubber or collapsible aluminum.
Belt with knife (scout) attached.
Waterproof match box and matches.
Light raincoat or cape.
Light rucksack to carry lunch, coat, etc.
Goggles—preferably greeny-blue or greeny-brown.
For climbing—ice axe or alpenstock.
Cold cream or other complexion grease to prevent sunburn.
The Alpine Club of Canada
The Alpine Club of Canada, with considerably
over 600 members, and headquarters established in
a singularly handsome Club House at Banff, holds a
Camp each year in the Canadian Rockies, and welcomes all qualified members who have the ambition to
climb or are interested in any way in the mountains.
Page Fourteen bungalow camps
Wapta Camp—Overlooking beautiful Lake Wapta,
just west of the Great Divide. Centre for Alpine climbing,
drives, pony rides and hikes to Lake O'Hara, the Yoho
Valley, the Kicking Horse Canyon, etc. Postal Address,
Wapta Bungalow Camp, Hector, B.C.
Lake O'Hara Camp—This Alpine lake, of exquisite
coloring and charm, is a splendid climbing, riding and
walking centre. Excursions to Lake McArthur and Lake
Oesa, or over Abbot Pass to Lake Louise. Postal Address,
Lake O'Hara Bungalow Camp, Hector, B.C.
Yoho Valley Camp—At the most delightful location
in Yoho Valley, facing Takakkaw Falls. Excursions to
the upper valley or over Yoho Pass to Emerald Lake.
Postal Address, Yoho Valley Bungalow Camp, Field, B.C.
Moraine Lake Camp—At the head of the Valley of
the Ten Peaks. Good trout fishing, climbing, riding and
hiking to Consolation Lakes, Paradise Valley, Wenk-
chemna Pass, etc. Postal Address, Moraine Lake Bungalow
Camp, Lake Louise, Alta.    (Open June 15—September 30.)
Castle Mountain Camp—On the Banff-Windermere
automobile highway, the most spectacular automobile
road in America. Wonderful panoramic views of Castle
Mountain and other peaks. Postal Address, Castle Mountain Bungalow Camp, Castle Mountain, Alta.
Radium Hot Springs Camp—Second stop on the
Banff-Windermere Road. Swimming in Radium Hot
Springs Pool, hiking and climbing and wonderful views
of the Selkirks. Postal Address, Radium Hot Springs
Bungalow Camp, Radium Hot Springs, B.C.
Mount Assiniboine Camp—Two days' trail ride
from Banff (35 miles), stopping overnight at half-way
cabin.    Rates on application.    (Open July 1—August 31.)
The above camps are open (except where otherwise
stated, and subject to road conditions) from June 15th to
September 15th. Rates $5.50 per day, American plan.
Full information at Canadian Pacific hotels and railway
Page Fifteen CANADIAN


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