This is a 2000’+/- ascent day. East Mount Rundle’s (EEOR) summit is located on the border of Banff National Park and Kananaskis Provincial Park. Banff National Park is one of four connecting national parks that make up the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Kananaskis Provincial Park encompasses over 4,000 square kilometers of foothills and mountains bordering Banff National Park to the east. EEOR is the unofficial name of the east end of the 15km Mount Rundle massif. Its short gain from Goats Creek trailhead and proximity to Canmore make it a popular objective.
EEOR has many published routes of varying difficulty besides the common scramble. Its north face consists of a tall 500 meter cliff overlooking Canmore. Although several of the routes boast above average rock to climb on via Rocky Mountain standards, the natural rock fall from above presents a serious hazard on EEOR. There is also a traverse of the entire Mount Rundle massif that is typically performed east to west but is not a typical objective by any means. In fact beta on the route is almost non-existent. EEOR is directly north (across Spray Lakes Road) of Ha Ling Peak, another common scramble objective with north face trad routes.
Eeyore’s Tail climbs the line (photo provided) below the left chimney that is visible atop EEOR’s cliff from the Grassi Lakes climbing area. There are two stand out chimneys that can be seen from below. Eeyore’s last two pitches encompass the left one. Supposedly Eeyore is considered to be one of the best if not the best sustained trad route on EEOR. Some rap the route from atop the 6th or 7th pitch, but the 8th pitch (chimney) in my opinion is not to be missed. Once you ascend the 8th pitch, you are committed to descending via the scramble route on the south side of EEOR.
From the reservoir parking area directly across from EEOR, gain a trail slightly to the north and ascend steep ground via switchbacks. As you get closer to the south end wall, you will hook into a trail that runs along the base of EEOR. Continue north along the trail past the 100+/- meter pinnacle at the base of Reprobate immediately below the upper dihedral. Continue circumventing the wall as you ascend the next scree cone.
355 Meters, 10 Pitches, 5.8
All the belays have two bolts (2007) and the route can be rapped below the start of Pitch 8 with double ropes. Take extra webbing for such purpose. We walked off the route and I advise completing the final pitches and hiking off if weather permits.
1st Pitch- 25m- 5.5/ The start is difficult to identify and we found the description in “Bow Valley Rock” quite confusing. We soloed to the start of the 2nd pitch, so that is the only description I can share. Start angling up right on easy firm rock to looser blocks that circumvent a steep obstacle (short wall) on its left. Continue climbing easy, but exposed, ground to the main EEOR wall above. In 2007 there is a stuck rope at this location. Follow a narrow ledge left and over a short exposed space, past one station and to the next which is the start of the 2nd pitch of Eeyore’s Tail.
2nd Pitch- 35m- 5.7/ Ascend the easy break directly above the belay as it starts a left facing corner past one placement and a bolt. Climb over a bulge protected by a piton and either climb an unprotected textured slab out left or keep climbing up to a small ledge that you can traverse left to the next station.
3rd Pitch- 50m- 5.7/ Traverse back right to the corner and follow it as it arches left over easier ground to ledges. Track the ledges left into a wide gully system that leads to a slab and then back right to your next station on a small ledge. This is sort of a hanging belay.
4th Pitch- 25m- 5.7/ An ugly duckling of a pitch. Start out left for a placement and climb a shattered crack of sorts up the first tier. Then traverse right up loose, but easy ground where you protect a vertical move before running back left to the base of a steep left facing and somewhat off width dihedral.
5th Pitch- 40m- 5.8/ This is the most sustained and crux pitch of the day due to a hard to follow route. Head up the dihedral where you will be forced to do a layback to get past the crux. You will find plenty of gear placements to protect the difficult moves. After that, pay attention as it can be quite difficult to follow. We ventured too far left and got into 5.10 territory, where I did clean some bail treasure, so we were not the only ones to veer off course here. To reach the next station, you need to find your way straight up from the dihedral or just slightly left. You are looking for a steep crack with a piton, but if you traverse left too early, that is where you run into tougher ground. So angle up left to the piton which is hard to spot from the right. From the piton, follow an exposed diagonal break right to the station. At 60m, we built a station above the bolts.
6th Pitch- 35m- 5.8/ This pitch definitely contains the crux “move” of the day. Climb up left onto a large flake. Climb the flake up through two pitons as they angle back right. Then comes, as the guidebook suggests, a “sensational” move with no hands, stepping out right onto a very small stance, crouching and then standing up straight to sink a small nut or blue or white Metolius into a small flaring crack. Balance is key on this move. Climb above the crack for another placement or two until it is easy to traverse left to the base of a right facing steep corner.
7th Pitch- 30m- 5.8/ I have great photos showing this pitch which looks tougher than it is. Traverse right on little if any hands and slight feet. Move around a large bulge in the face until you can access easier ground leading up and into the chimney above which is the main identifying feature for this route from below. Climb up to a comfortable belay.
8th Pitch- 40m- 5.7/ I guess this pitch is an either you “love it” or “hate it” pitch. If you want to rap the route, you need to rap now. Otherwise take on the chimney which is easy climbing, although a little mossy, until you are directly beneath the roof. Easy to place gear along the way. At the crux position below the roof, face out and sling a medium sized chockstone with three shoulder length runners or 2 long ones. This will protect the crux move of coming out and onto the left wall where you climb face holds to the finish. You have a lot of rock fall above that you will kick out onto the 2nd if you are not careful. Extend your belay from the bolts back to the edge and hang out over the chimney as the 2nd climbs so that rope drag does not drop rock.
9th Pitch- 30m/ Scramble up the rock filled gully to the final chimney pitch.
10th Pitch- 45m- 5.4/ We packed the ropes away and soloed up this fun squeeze chimney behind a massive boulder to the top of the route. Scramble up left to the meadow above.
Descend off the south slopes until you hook into the scramble descent trail which will lead back to Spray Lakes Road.
Normal Canadian Rockies rack. Cams and nuts. You will find quite a bit of fixed protection, so you do not need to overdo it with the gear. Helmet, rock shoes, etc. We used double ropes which I always advise on longer routes on EEOR or Yamnuska so you can make a quick weather exit if need be. Also helps considerably with rope drag on these routes. Wear trail runners versus boots so you can haul them on a biner. You will not return to the base of the climb if you complete the route.
Getting ThereFrom the Canmore Nordic Center, ascend the Spray Lakes/Smith Dorrien road (gravel) through the switchbacks to the Goats Creek Trail head past the dam and reservoir. An alternative parking spot is the parking area between Goats Creek and the dam right on the reservoir. This is the most efficient parking area for the trad routes on EEOR. Watch for hazardous rock fall on the switchbacks above Canmore. At times this road will be closed due to rock and/or mud slides. There are restrooms at the Goats Creek Trail head parking area.
Camping/LodgingThe closest camp site would be back in Canmore at the town campsite at the information center off of the same exit for Harvie Heights. The Alpine Club of Canada national office is located in Canmore and also serves as a hostel, a recently renovated one at that. You cannot camp outside of the marked specific camping areas in Banff National Park or Kananaskis Provincial Park. Refer to the park website(s) for more information regarding backcountry camping.
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