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Little Sister, Kananaskis, Canadian Rockies
Mountain/Rock

Little Sister, Kananaskis, Canadian Rockies

 
Little Sister, Kananaskis, Canadian Rockies

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Alberta, Canada, North America

Lat/Lon: 51.02000°N / 115.333°W

Object Title: Little Sister, Kananaskis, Canadian Rockies

County: Canada

Activities: Trad Climbing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Elevation: 8839 ft / 2694 m

 

Page By: Bill Kerr

Created/Edited: May 22, 2008 / Apr 20, 2009

Object ID: 405691

Hits: 7556 

Page Score: 80.49%  - 12 Votes 

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Overview

Little Sister is the lowest and most northerly of the Three Sisters
beside Canmore, Alberta. They are in a line along a ridge and are close together. They are very photogenic from many places along the Transcanada Highway and the town of Canmore and are probably the most photographed trio of mountains in the Canadian Rockies. The Three Sisters are featured in many paintings, calendars and posters.

The easiest route(5.3 to 5.5) on Little Sister was probably the first technical rock climb in the Bow Valley and was done in 1925 by the legendary Lawrence Grassi.

The Rocky Mountains South (out of print) calls the climb the NE Buttress and says good climbing to F5 which is an old rating which covers YDS 5.3 to 5.5.


The Bow Valley Rock guidebook gives the grade as 5.3 and the route is said to be cursed by bad rock throughout although we found the rock on the climbing pitches to be reasonably solid.
Both guidebooks have very cursory descriptions.

The Middle Sister
Middle Sister
is a easy Scramble or hike and Big Sister

Big Sister
is a moderate scramble.

Three Sisters from the East from summit of Wind Ridge. Odd lighting makes this look like a painting.
Three Sisters from East
Three Sisters from East - Big, Middle and Little Sister


Three Sisters from the West
Three Sisters Canadian Rockies
 

Getting There

Approach by turning off the Trans Canada at the exit for Stewart Creek Golf Course/ Three Sisters Resort which is 4 km east of Canmore.

This area is under development by the Three Sisters Resort and a new housing developments and a new golf course are currently being developed. The best access would appear to be go straight at the 4 way and go between the two golf courses but parking may be an issue.


Three Sisters from the TransCanada Highway just outside Canmore.

First treed part of approach ridge for Little Sister is marked.

Little Sister Approach Ridge
 


From farther NW - good detail on upper part of approach ridge on large version.
Little Sister, Kananaskis
 

Red Tape

The approach crosses the private development but the mountain is in The Bow Valley Provincial Park which is part of Kananaskis Country which is a protected or managed area but no restrictions on climbing or hiking activities except for wildlife closures. See
>Kananaskis Country for more details.

Current public safety information including fire bans, flooding, park construction, wildlife issues and avalanche reports

Alberta Parks Public Safety

Camping

There are many campgrounds in the Bow Valley area around Canmore.

Travel Alberta
has links for all campgrounds in the National and Provincial parks as well as the commercial campgrounds.
The Alpine Club of Canada has a clubhouse in Canmore which has dorm rooms for reasonable rates. See Alpine Club of Canada

External Links

Alberta Parks Public Safety
No matter the season, before you head out, you can always find up to date public safety information including fire bans, flooding, park construction, wildlife issues and avalanche reports

When to Climb

The season is late spring to early fall. Little Sister is lower elevation compared to many alpine objectives in the Rockies and can be climbed from June until October. Thunder storms can seriously drop the temperature and rain can turn to sleet or snow at any time of the season. The best site for local conditions is the guide conditions site which has regular updatesAssociation of Canadian Mountain Guides

Routes

Northwest ridge and summit ridge. 5.5 See attached route description
Little-Sister-N-Buttress-RH-Crack-System-5-5
Historic route on one of the most photographed mountains in the Canmore area and the Canadian Rockies. The Bow Valley Rock guidebook cites the 1925 climb by legendary guide Lawrence Grassi and friends as probably the first technical rock climb in the Bow Valley. The grade is given as 5.3 and the route is said to be cursed by bad rock throughout although we found the rock on the climbing pitches to be reasonably solid.
The Rocky Mountains South (out of print) calls the climb the NE Buttress and says good climbing to F5 which is an old rating which covers YDS 5.3 to 5.6.
Both guidebooks have very cursory descriptions.

Guide books for climbing, scrambling, Hiking and reference for the area can be purchased through
Rocky Mountain Books
Rock climbs on Little Sister are covered in Bow Valley
Rock


Little Sister from the East.
Little Sister
 
Little Sister from NW.
Little Sister, Kananaskis
 

Images