Dave Edgar and I teamed up to climb Eisenhower Tower on the south portion of the
mountain. Start out on Rockbound Lake Trail and then venture off to the left to gain the
SW ridge. We took less than 4 hours from the parking lot to the summit via the south
skyline and dragon's back. About 9 full pitches total, but you can use some running belay.
We moved fast due to inclement weather (Temple snowed in this day). There was still a
snow patch on the rappel route (covering one station) which was slightly west from our
Early morning on the trail we were treated to a Fisher (weasel family). We had a great
look at him. Very gray Hoary Marmot on way up as well. A bald eagle soared and
screamed from below to above us as we were on the rock giving us great views as it
caught the streams. And we were buzzed no less than 5 times by search and rescue as
they searched in vain for a missing small aircraft (never found!). An osprey is nesting and
feeding its young on the bridge over the Bow River. A golden mantle squirrel chewed on
Dave's backpack as we suited up. It was just a wildlife sort of day. We had a great view of
Pilot Mountain despite cloud cover.
Steve Fedyna and I climbed it again in July, 2004, switching leads. Enjoying the weather
and each other's company, we took 12 hours versus the 8 that Dave and I accomplished.
So plan on variation in times. Steve and I used 2 ropes for 60 meter rappels, but I
suggest 1 rope for weight and the lack of steepness of the pitches. The rappel is straight
west from where you top out on the route. You will find 2 solid bolts by scrambling down
5-10 meters off the southwest edge. You can go right or left at several locations on the
ascent, I prefer to stay right. Avoid the water worn gully.
In "Selected Apline Climbs" this route is rated as 5.4. Apparently there are two variations from the scree bowl. Do you know if the left (original) route is similar in difficulty to the route you describe (up to 5.7)? Sounds like a great climb!
Fury, Sean's book is nicknamed the "book of lies" for a reason. But in all fairness, anybody who writes a guidebook, me included, is going to be hammered. Just too many variations and opinions to take into account. Many of us locals feel the Eisenhower Tower route that I describe on SP has several 5.7 moves. I just climbed Lorette two days ago and Blane yesterday. Sean has Lorette at 5.4, not even close to the exposure or difficulty as Eisenhower. In fact, I saw it as a difficult scramble basically. Blane is long and exposed, but no moves needed compared to Eisenhower. He calls it a 5.6. If Eisenhower is 5.4, Blane is a 5.2. So is the case in the Canadian Rockies, it is all subjective. What everyone knows about the ratings locally is that if the old timers rated it, it is probably 2 degrees more difficult via the modern rating system. Remember, in the day, they did not go to 5.13, so they used the lower scale to compare the routes. It is my assumption that Lorette and Blane were rated more recently and that Eisenhower, being such an early and stand out objective was rated quite some time ago. Sean pulls the ratings from the first ascenders. It is all comparative and subjective. But if someone thought Eisenhower was lesser of a climb than the East Ridge of Lady Mac at 5.5 or Lorette at 5.4, they would be in for a rude awakening. To answer your question, I soloed both times on the right from the scree bowl. The first move Steve Fedyna and I both think is a 5.7 is the start of the tower itself, once already on the Dragons Back. It is a good clean route, not overwhelming, just not 5.4 either. Enjoy and Cheers! (thanks for voting on the page Colin)
Thanks so much for the info Dow. I am new to the game (and obsessed with the Canadian Rockies) and have been researching several routes in "Selected Alpine Climbs". Since you obviously have a lot of local knowledge are there any routes that you would recommend that a prairie-boy should cut his teeth on? Thanks again. - Colin
Colin, search the mountains and routes I have added to SP, or go to my website to peruse a route or mountain. My recommendations are usually in the route information.
I will go out with you any day if you want. When you come, I can assess your level and what you want to do and make a recommendation. It will be a new route for me as well, as I don't repeat anything anymore. I do a minimum of 40 mountains per year. Cheers.
I have another question for you Dow. I was wondering if you could could give me an indication of climb quality and rating accuracy for two peaks. I found two climbs in "Selected.." that caught my attention. The first being the unnamed peak at Lake Louise and the other is Mount Odaray. I am planning objectives far in advance, but I tend to research things in depth (read: obsessive) before setting out. Take care. - Colin
Colin, I have been up neither mountain. William Marler has added Odaray and SP member jstanley has signed the summit log. So those two would be better sources. Always a kind jester to vote on their pages/photos if you find their information useful on peaks you are interested in.
Most of the mountains back into Lake Ohara are easy going. But the Tarrant Buttress of Odaray is no doubt one of the most challenging routes. This year, so many routes were out of condition for different reasons. We had a record setting June (snow and rain) and have had early snows hit us hard the past few days. I had to bail on a route yesterday due to unstable weather.
It is definitely best to pick a wide range of choices, both in location and difficulty so your trip will be worthwhile no matter the objective circumstances. Send me an email before you arrive! (firstname.lastname@example.org) Cheers.
""You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.""