The False Summit of Heart Mountain
For those of you who don't know why Canada is so special, I'm from Sweden and when little I only wanted to read English books and watch English TV. Apparently, I even told my mom that my grandma and I was Canadian :D. So, traveling to Canada was a big deal to me.
A 14 hour flight from Stockholm took Alex and myself to Calgary where we met up with Sonnie Trotter who drove us to the final destination – Canmore.
Raven's Crag, Banff
First we climbed at Raven's Crag in Banff. I wont lie – the approach was hard! It's a 30-45 min steep uphill walk. We had to rest at the bottom of the crag for over half-an-hour. I thought for sure I was going to be too exhausted to climb, but it's funny how fast the body recovers (besides burning calves on steep stuff)...
Raven's Crag, One Bowl One Round, 5.12c. Photo: Sonnie Trotter
Raven's Crag is one of the smaller crags and there are not many options, but they are good! Raven's Crag now offers routes from 5.10 - 5.15.
The classic routes, I would say, are a bit stiff for the grade. And the new lines can a bit chossy and need some more cleaning, but they climb nicely and the view is amazing!
Raven's Crag, Telltale Heart P2, 5.13a. Photo: Sonnie Trotter
The approach to Planet X is more mellow and a bit of a scramble, 50-60 minutes along an old river bed. If you don't feel like walking, there are more crags along the approach.
Approach to Planet X. Photo: Alex Megos
Planet X is a pretty big wall with lots of routes around 5.12 to 5.14.
Most routes have an anchor half way up with an 'easier' start, meaning the hardest part is at the very start, and then the extension up to the top of the wall is the harder pitch.
The wall climbs are really nice and vary from vertical to slightly overhanging with some roof climbs.
Next was Acephale. It has a medium-hard approach, about 45 minutes with a steep uphill (only 5-10 minutes at the end, which you can skip if you go to the lower crag).
Acephale is amazing! It has everything from slabby/vertical techy stuff on small crimps, to slopey holds and steep stuff on good holds. But there's not that much easy stuff even the warm ups are pretty hard!
I could've probably spent the entire trip at Acephale and been totally satisfied.
Here, I almost ran into a mama grizzly! She was just 10 meters in front of me on the other side of the river with her four cubs.
Acephale, Sweet Thing, 5.13b. Photo: Andrew Foster
This approach was easier, but still 60 minutes. Carrot Creek is the first crag you come to on the approach. The wall is slightly overhanging with almost polished slopey holds.There are good rests on the way up, but if you don't take them (or find them) I can imagine you get pretty damn pumped! =P
Carrot Creek, The Warlock 5.12a. Photo: Sonnie Trotter
I really enjoyed the climbs here but we only did two as a warm up (well, warm up for Sonnie and Alex, hard flashes for me) :P before continuing up to Carrot Cave.
Swinging at Carrot Cave
I didn't actually find the cave super inspiring climbing-wise. So I took a little walk around the cave, took pictures and enjoyed the sun.
Carrot Cave, The Warlock, 5.12a. Photo: Sonnie Trotter
Next stop Lake Louise, a very popular place for tourists. It's really hard to get a parking spot here if you come between 10 am- 4 pm. It took us 30 minutes to park the car, but once there, the view is amazing!
The amazing view from the approach to Lake Louise
To get to the climbing you walk alongside the river on the big path with all the tourists for about 20-30 minutes.The crag here offers a LOT of climbing in grades from 5.6 - 5.14 (I believe).
The rock is amazing. It's a purple granite that I haven't seen before and has so many cool features on it. Climbing at Lake Louise was one of my favourites!
The climbs felt super exposed and were quite mental battles for me, no matter the grade. The easier ones might actually have been worse because the bolts were more spaced out.
Lake Louise offers a large variety of sport and traditional climbing. And I even placed my first gear here on trad! And luckily I got to see Alex flashing the top part of the Path 5.14 (8b+)! So nerve-wrecking, exciting, and inspiring! I have no idea how he managed to keep so cool and relaxed during that climb.
Rest Days: Hiking
Heart Mountain & Grassi Lakes
True Summit of Heart Mountain
On one of my rest days I went on a hike at Heart Mountain. I would definitely recommend this hike or any other for rest days. It took us about 2.5 - 3 hours to the top and then about the same back down.
View from the hike at Grassi Lakes.