We had the pleasure of exploring the limestone sport climbing in Alberta’s Bow Valley for the first two weeks of July this summer. In the company of our good friend Dan, and with Aly’s guidebooks in hand, we hit the road in the van and headed for the Rockies.
We spent most of our time at the Acephale Crag, an awesome climbing spot 15 minutes drive east of Canmore. The hike in is beautiful and close to an hour long with nearly 400m elevation gain, which as it turns out is a fairly moderate approach in the Bow Valley. All the locals we met were in spectacularly good shape up there – it’s no wonder why!
We sampled a number of fun routes, ticked a few classics, and set our sights on some projects that we’re very excited to return to in early September. In particular, Graham can’t wait to get back on “Endless Summer” (5.13d) and Kim is looking forward to “Icebox of Broken Dreams” (5.12d).
Graham climbing “The Hood” (5.13b)
Dan bearing down in the first crux of “Army Ants” (5.13c)
Kim pulling through the upper moves on “Altius” (5.12c)
Graham unwinding from the rose move on “Whale Back” (5.13c)
On Graham’s 28th birthday we were joined by Cory and headed out to Planet X in Cougar Canyon. Planet X is a tall and beautiful wall that is also home to numerous classics. Graham and Dan both quickly put down the classic “Shooting Star” (5.12d), and Kim flashed the enjoyable “Meconium” (5.12a).
Hiking to the crag through the wash in the rain
Graham on his send of “Shooting Star” (5.12d)
We spent a couple days in Heart Creek, mostly on the short and stout routes at the Bayon Sector. We also climbed the 6 pitch “Sciatica” (5.10d) as a fun group of three.
Pondering beta on the cruxy start of pitch 3
We were so stoked on the welcoming kindness of all the local climbers we met, who made our experience that much more enjoyable. After just this little taste of all the sport climbing there is in the valley we can’t wait to return!