Ha Ling (aka Chinaman’s Peak) boasts one of the steeper rock faces in the Canadian Rockies. Its north face looms over Canmore to the south and is located directly across from Mount Rundle’s east face (EEOR-east end of Mount Rundle) which is much broader and has many more established lines than Ha Ling’s north face, but is not near as tall of an objective.
Two of Ha Ling's routes are very popular and then there is a huge drop off in what gets climbed on an annual basis. The NE Face is a route I have soloed and probably the most popular easy trad route in all of the Canadian Rockies. If a Canadian Rockies limestone route can actually get cleaned by human traffic, this would be it. But don’t bank on it. Consequently it also gets at least one visit from local rescue personnel every year.
The other popular route on Ha Ling’s north face as well as a much more notable climb, is Sisyphus Summits, which was once considered the “longest limestone sport climb north of Mexico”. It is a fully bolted line and truly a Bow Valley classic. I lived full time in Canmore for six years and stared out my master bedroom window directly at the route as I went to bed every night. I have climbed it three times and am not one to do many repeats, always desiring new experiences. It is a worthy route as sport routes go. Today you can convert its 21 listed (by the FAer’s) pitches into 10 total pitches with a 70m rope and complete the line in well under 8 hours if you are efficient and competent. Sisyphus Summits is similar in nature to Prince of Darkness at Red Rock, NV, just longer and colder.
From Canmore, catch the Spray Lakes road south of town which takes you past the Olympic Nordic Center and onto a gravel road that runs underneath EEOR. Continue up to the dam and park by the reservoir. Cross the dam above Grassi Lakes and catch a trail on the other side that runs up into the large scree below the north face of Ha Ling peak. Eventually locate a well-trodden trail through the large rubble/scree that runs all the way to the NE corner which is where the NE face route starts. Sisyphus and others all start further right. About an hour approach for any of the routes.
Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Wall
External Links100’s of Canmore and Banff National Park multi-pitch rock climbs, ice climbs, alpine climbs and scrambles, just scroll down to routes
Banff National Park, Parks Canada
Best Coffee/Breakfast/Lunch in Canmore: Castillos As of 2012, my favorite breakfast/lunch spot. Patio, espresso is strong, food is fresh. Someone there instituted service with a smile, typically unheard of in Canmore anymore.
Best Climbers Hangout: Summit Café, most likely place to find me in season or my brethren shooting the bull about beta. Best “large” breakfast in town, good coffee as well, serve Mennonite meats from Valbella, which is the best place to buy free range products anywhere in the world, right here in Canmore.