OverviewLost Boys is a fantastic quartzite crag located about 20 minutes south of Jasper along Highway 93A, and was discovered by locals looking for another crag in 1994 (hence the name). It is one of the most popular of the Jasper rock climbing areas. The crag is over 500 metres long and averages about 20 metres in height – one rope will suffice for all Lost Boys climbs. Lost Boys faces west looking into the Whirlpool River drainage – the views from the top of the climbs are fabulous, with Mount Edith Cavell being visible on a clear day.
The quartzite at Lost Boys is a beautiful gold/orange colour and is blocky in nature. Most of the climbing at Lost Boys consists of steep sections followed by some type of overhang – the holds are generally big with jugs being very common. The climbing here tends to be less sustained in nature – the cruxes normally involve going through a roof, with rests after the roofs common. Having said that, there are a few climbs here that are sustained from the top to the bottom (usually the higher grades).
There is a mixture of trad climbing and sport climbing at Lost Boys. Most of the sport climbs are in the 5.10 and 5.11 range, while most of the trad climbs are 5.9 and under. There are also a number of highly recommended mixed climbs that involve some gear placements between bolts.
Because of Lost Boys generally west aspect it gets a lot of sun in the afternoon. On hot days, it is a good idea to get to the crag early; by the time 1 p.m. rolls around it may be too hot to climb. The climbing season at Lost Boys usually starts in May and ends in September.
Setting up topropes at Lost Boys is a dangerous proposition, as most of the anchors are set far back from the top of the cliff. Leading is a far safety option. Almost all of the routes have beefy rap anchors at the top, with only a few routes (mostly the trad routes) requiring belays off of trees.
I have rated the quality of the climb using a star system. Admittedly, this is a subjective system, and although I have climbed most of the climbs here (numerous times), I haven’t climbed them all. However, having climbed here lots, you get a very good sense of which climbs are popular and which are not, and if you’re only here for a short time, it’s nice to have some sort of guide around which are the quality climbs. Here’s a rough guide to my star system:
No stars – A route that rarely gets down – not worth doing if you are only here for a limited amount of time.
One star – A route that gets some traffic from time to time, but is the kind of route that you maybe climb once, but don’t come back to it again.
Two stars – A moderately popular route that gets a fair amount of traffic. Worth doing more than once.
Three stars – The very popular routes that are regularly climbed and among the best the crag has to offer. Fun moves on good clean rock.
Four stars – These are the absolute classics for the crag and even for the Jasper area. They are very popular, get lots of traffic, and you want to climb them again and again.
Getting ThereFrom Jasper drive south on Highway 93. About 7 kilometres from Jasper you will go through the Park gates – just past the Park gates is a turnoff on your right (west) – this is Highway 93A; turn here. Follow Highway 93A south for about 25 kilometres, passing the turnoff to Marmot Basin and then Edith Cavell. Further along, you will also drive by the “Meeting of the Waters” (about 18 km from the start of Highway 93A) – this is where the Whirlpool River joins the Athabasca River. From the “Meeting of the Waters”, Highway 93A eventually starts climbing up a fairly steep hill – at the very top of this hill there is a small pull-out on the right about 200 metres before Leech Lake (which is also on your right). If you pass this pull-out, just go onto Leech Lake and turn into the parking spot there (which has a washroom); from there, turn around and go back to the smaller Lost Boys pull-out. The Lost Boys pull-out only holds two vehicles, so it might be necessary to park at the Leech Lake pull-out anyway. From the Lost Boys pull-out follow a well worn trail west to the crag – it is a 20-25 minute walk on primarily rolling terrain. The last 5 minutes of the trail follows along a small broken quartzite cliff on your left, until the cliff starts to form up better and you arrive at the main climbing area.
If travelling from the south (Banff, etc.) look for the turnoff to Athabasca Fall (this is the Highway 93A turnoff). Follow Highway 93A until you come to Leech Lake on your left.
The RoutesI have made three topos for this area:
Topo #1 - For climbs 1-18
Topo #2 - For climbs 19-36
Topo #3 - For climbs 36-58
The first sets of routes that you encounter on the approach trail are two short sport climbs:
SHORT STARTER WALL
Pass more overgrown cliffs for 40-50m until you reach a large noticeable boulder on your right. On your left is a large overhang capping an open book, with 2 bolted routes.
1. Moonlighting 5.12b* – A very hard bouldery route with four bolts. There are two small awkward roofs and then thin face moves around the big roof. (S. Stanko 99)
2. Nerdling 5.11a* – This is the second route at Lost Boys. Three metres from "Moonlighting". Start up grassy ledges then continue through roof to single quickshut anchor.. (S. Steinke/S. Elliott 99)
You may notice 1 bolt to the right of Nerdling. This is an unfinished project that really goes nowhere.
Continue along past overgrown bluff for about 30m until you reach a cleaner looking area. There are 2 bolted routes side by side.
2b Sprouts 5.10a* (3 bolts)
Move up thin face and step left around small roof to quickshut anchors. (D. Diduck, S. Stanko and A.Chalifoux, 2002)
2c Rubber Boots 5.10b/c* (4 bolts)
Thin face climb to quickshut anchors underneath roof. (S. Stanko, Dale and Dani Diduck, A. Chalifoux, 2002)
The third set of routes that you come to on the approach trail are situated in a large alcove with two aspen trees noticeable on the right. The cliff is still fairly short at this point (about 12-15 metres). Both these climbs are sport climbs – so look for the bolts.
3. Bourgeois 5.10b* – A short sport climb that trends up and left. Fun to do in conjunction with “Proletariat”. (D. Jensen/S. Jenson 96)
4. Proletariat 5.11c* – A tough climb that starts in the alcove and then heads up over the big and obvious roof – the crux is definitely pulling the top roof. Short and difficult. (D. Jensen/S. Jenson 95)
The next three routes are just around the corner from “Bourgeois” and “Proletariat” – each has three bolts. There is danger from a large boulder at the bottom of these routes, and if you blow a clip from anywhere on these routes you may hit this boulder or the ground. Take a long stick clip.
5. Electric Circuit 5.12d – A short difficult route with ground fall potential
6. Tom Cruise 5.12a* – Fun bouldery moves, but there is danger if you blow any of the clips. Use a stick clip (on the second bolt, if possible) and short draws. (D. Jensen/S. Jenson 96)
6b Rodent Thieves 5.12b/c* (mixed 3 bolts)
Ascends the left side of the open book under the huge roof. A large cam is required for the top.(B. Czobitko and S. Stanko, 1999)
After “Electric Circuit” and “Tom Cruise” there is a short section of rock with no free routes (there is one aid route going through the huge roof crack right of “Tom Cruise”). The next bolted route you will see is “Nasty Badness” – it goes through a number of roofs and has a high first bolt. There is also a collection of boulders at the bottom of this route, as well as the next 3-4 routes.
7. Nasty Badness 5.10c* – A pumpy sport route that climbs through a series of overlaps and ends at a rap anchor below a large blank roof. The first bolt is high and the climbing is not straightforward getting to it – a stick clip is highly recommended. There is loose rock on the edges of this route – so be cautious. (D. Robinson/J. Gott 97)
8. Yummy Goodness 5.10a** – Another short and pumpy bolted route. It may seem hard for 10a, but the moves are all there. It’s very popular. (J. Gott/D. Robinson 97)
9. Hi Ho Silver 5.11b** – It’s a short sport climb, but has a pretty tricky crux – I’ve seen many a climber struggle with this climb. 5.11b but not for free…. This has the same anchor as “Little Girly Man”. (E. Hoogstaten/B. Tassone 96)
10. Little Girly Man 5.8*** – This is the easiest sport route at Lost Boys. Fun moves trending up and left. This is a safe climb and makes for a good first lead (or warm-up). Shares anchor with “Hi Ho Silver”. (E. Hoogstaten/B. Tassone 96)
11. Baby Feet 5.7* – This is primarily a trad climb (one bolt) a few metres to the right of “Little Girly Man”. Climb straight up and over the lower crux and then up grassy slopes until a short steeper section at the end is encountered. This section is protected by one bolt. There is an anchor at the top of this climb. (G. Thomas)
12. Lost in Space 5.10a R – Fifteen metres to the right of “Little Girly Man”, the climb goes through a weakness in the roof. This is a gear route, which does not get climbed much.
Forty metres past “Little Girly Man” is the next sport climb and a good reference point – this climb is called “Smooth Transition”.
13. Smooth Transition 5.10d*** – This route goes up and through two roofs – the first one being smaller but harder. There is a bouldery start to this route which can be avoided by traversing in from the right. Stick-clip the first bolt if trying the boulder start. Hard climb for the grade. (D. Robinson/S. Elliot 94)
14. Project Hillbillies 5.9 R – This is a mixed route that rarely gets climbed. Start five metres to the right of “Smooth Transition” and then climb up past a bolt and then cross over “Smooth Transition” into the right side of the large corner (near the top of the crag). Shares anchors with “Smooth Transition”. (D. Robinson 94)
15. Hillbillies Gone Straight 5.10 R – A mixed climb with the same start as “Project Hillbillies” but instead of trending left across “Smooth Transition” continue straight up through the roofs. There is a second bolt higher up – bring gear to two inches. (K. Christakos/P. Valiulis 94)
16. Adventures with Gearmo 5.10c* – This gear route starts about four metres to the right of the Hillbilly climbs just before the “Rave Cave”. The crux is the first roof; from there climb up to the next roof and trend right at first and then follow a weakness up and left. You need to traverse left to the anchors of “Smooth Transition”. (G. Boyd/D. Diduck 96)
After “Adventures with Gearmo” the trail heads sharply downhill around a nice bouldering wall, before coming back uphill and rejoining the bottom of the cliff. Behind this bouldering site is a large cave topped with boulders known locally as the “Rave Cave”. The next two routes start from the top of this platform.
17. Pigs in Space 5.10c/d* – This is the left of the two obvious bolted lines. There are two cruxes on this route; both tackling the roofs (the first is harder). If mid 5.10 is your limit, it’s a good idea to carry some gear because the bolts are far apart up top. The top anchors are set far back so lowering or rappelling is a bit of an ordeal. (D. Diduck/S. Elliot 95)
18. Space Between Breakdown 5.11c** – This is the right of the two obvious bolted lines. The bolts are a bit spaced out, especially between the 2nd and 3rd bolts – gear to 2.5 inches is recommended. The large obvious roof is the crux. (D. Diduck/S. Elliot 95)
The next routes start just past the “Rave Cave”.
19. Lovin it 5.12a* – This is primarily a sport route (7 bolts) with an easier gear finish. Take gear to two inches. (S. Lovenik 96). There is also a direct finish to “Lovin It” through the roof. Two additional bolts.
20. Dirty Retro Boy 5.10a – This climb tackles the edge of the large left facing corner a few metres right of “Lovin it”. It’s a mixed climb with gear to two inches – there is one bolt. You want to end up at the left facing corner near the top of the climb. Once you clip the bolt traverse left into the small dihedral. There are no anchors – belay off of “Chilli Dog” anchors. (K. Christakos/P. Valiulis 94)
21. Chilli Dogs 5.10a* – A good gear route a few metres to the right of “Dirty Retro Boy”. You can attempt this climb directly (straight up through the overlaps) or can traverse into it from the large block on the right. Gear to two inches. (K. Christakos/D. Diduck/H. Struss 94)
After these climbs, there is a large platform that you can climb up onto (be careful here, you wouldn’t want to fall off). From this platform this is a nice featured wall with a number of climbs on them. Most of these climbs are mixed – meaning there is at least a couple bolts, but gear is required. Small gear, like “Aliens”, are particularly useful. All of these climbs are worth doing and are of a similar nature.
22. Crimes Against Humanity 5.10b** – The furthest left of the platform climbs – it has three bolts and takes gear to two inches. Rap anchors. (S. Blake/R. Wedgewod 95)
23. Criminal Negligence 5.10b** – A fun climb with some thoughtful moves – 3 bolts and gear to two inches. Rap anchors. (S. Blake/L. Paulson 95)
24. Criminally Insane 5.10b** – Start up a small corner continuing up and trending slightly left. Some tricky moves. There are four bolts and the climb takes gear to two inches. (S. Blake/A. Kolesw 95)
25. Manufactured Stimulus 5.10a** – Another similar climb with bolts and gear to two inches. (D. Diduck/J. Sheppard 95)
26. Domenico Butter Fingers 5.10a – A rarely done gear climb to the right of “Manufactured Stimulus” by a few metres. Climbs through a roof at the top. Gear to two inches. (D. Jenson/D. Marra 96)
This is the first climb off of the platform.
27. Excited First Daughter 5.10c** - A mixed climb (primarily bolts) with gear to two inches. (D. Christakos/D. Diduck 94)
The following routes start near a small group of pine trees. The wall from this point, and all the way over to the large left facing corner of “Dances with Bushes”, is defined by a series of large roofs.
28. Into the Blue 5.11b*** – If you look closely at the bottom of this climb you can see where someone has scratched the route name into the rock; not recommended, but it is a handy reference point. This is a fun sport climb with one fairly difficult crux (pulling the first big roof). The first bolt is high up and a bit tricky to get to – stick-clip it if you can. (D. Diduck/S. Elliot 95)
29. Number One 5.11c*** – A good sustained sport route with a tricky crux right at the top, which involves devious small holds and good footwork (not typical of most of the cruxes at Lost Boys). Well worth doing – a hard onsight. (S. Lovenik 94)
30. Italian Meatballs 5.11c*** – A fun bolted climb with a few difficult and awkward cruxes, but there are a number of decent rests on the climb. Given the same grade as “Number One” but probably a bit easier. (S. Elliot/B. Tassone 95)
31. Geriatric Ward 5.11c/d** – The steep bolted line immediately to the right of “Italian Meatballs”. (B. Tassone/ S. Stanko 2000)
32. Taylor Made 5.11c/d** - The crux of this sport climb is pulling the large roof – there is often a bail sling hanging off the bolt. The clip is a bit high for the first roof but can be done with care.
33. One Arm Bandits 5.11d* - Rarely climbed, but actually a pretty good sport climb with a tricky crux. Quite sustained. (M. Spagnut 96)
34. Fireline 5.11+** – The bolted route left of “Dog Day Afternoon” – Steep and sustained. (S. Elliot/S. Stanko/B. Tassone 2000)
35. Dog Day Afternoon 5.11b/c** – The easier start of the route can be protected with gear (to 2 inches) – from there it is five bolts through the steeping wall. A good climb worth doing. (K. Christakos 95)
36. Altered Beast 5.11b**** – An awesome line up the steep wall. The first 3 bolts involve fun, thoughtful climbing, followed by a good rest. After the rest, it’s steep and sustained all the way to the anchors. The crux is pulling the big roof at the top. This climb is hard for the grade and spits off lots of people. It’s well protected though and worth the effort. (D. Diduck/S. Elliot 95)
37. Super Brant Man 5.10b**** – If you only have time for one climb at Lost Boys, this is the one to do. It’s a beautiful line that climbs the full height of the wall ending with a roof that’s not as hard as it looks (but it is pumpy). To make the climb 10b you need to follow the bolts more or less straight up – don’t climb into the corner system on the right after the 3rd bolt – if you do this, the climb is a bit easier. A classic climb. (D. Diduck 94)
38. Frosting the Beater 5.12a/b – A toprope problem, which climbs up through the large roof to the right of “Super Brant Man” (in the big left facing corner).
39. Dances with Bushes 5.9* – A better route than the name suggests. This is a gear route that starts above a large boulder – it follows an obvious weakness to the cliff top. The roof can be done using the crack, but it’s pretty hard (5.11ish). Most folks tackle this climb on its right side. (K. Christakos/S. VanAsten 94)
40. Atypical 5.10b/c** – This is the next bolted line right of “Super Brant Man”. It has a tricky crux down low (surmounting the obvious roof) and is a bit easier for tall folks. The top half of the route is easy. (B. Czobitko 99)
41. Ethnic Cleansing 5.10a* – This is a gear route that climbs the obvious crack right of "Atypical" and left of "Wanna Be a Star". It takes pro well, and the crux is at the roof and is similar to "Wanna Be a Star". Traverse slightly right to share anchors of “Wanna”. (B. Tassone 99)
42. Wanna Be a Star 5.10a** – Climb up a broken corner system which takes good pro. At the top of this there is a slabby section right before the finishing roof. The roof is the crux and is protected by a bolt. Take gear to 2.5 inches. A fun moderate climb. (K. Christakos 94)
43. Rupert the Bear 5.8*** – This route climbs the obvious large left facing corner system – you traverse right below the large exit route. This is a nice and popular trad climb with gear to 2.5 inches. (P. Valiulis 95)
44. Grab a Seat 5.9** – This is the obvious right leaning hand crack to the right of “Rupert the Bear” – it has anchors at the half way point (about 10 metres up) that can be seen from the bottom of the climb. This crack is steeper than it appears and is a bit awkward to protect so be confident on the grade before attempting it. If you want to continue past the mid anchors, traverse right past two bolts making an awkward move to a ledge. Go back left and around roof and belay off of “Rupert the Bear” anchors. The climb takes gear to 2.5 inches. (K. Christakos 94)
45. Free Lunch 5.11a/b* – This climb tackles the overhanging face right above the mid anchors of “Grab a Seat”. There are two bolts (the same bolts as “Grab a Seat”), but the crux is protected by gear. In order for the climb to be 5.11, you must tackle the overhanging section more or less straight on after the last bolt – if you step off to the right at the large block (that you can sit on) you’re climbing “Grab a Seat”. Gear to 2.5 inches. (M. Spagnut 95)
46. Wasted Youth 5.11c/d*** – This sport climb climbs through the large intimidating roof to the right of the “Grab a Seat” hand crack. The moves getting up to the large roof are thought provoking and not particularly easy. But it’s the roof that you came for. Strong fingers, strong stomach muscles, and good heel hooking technique will do you in good stead on the roof. An awesome climb! (M. Spagnut 95)
47. Iggy Pop & the Three Stooges 5.10c**** – This is one of the most fun climbs at Lost Boys – it looks like it should be a lot harder than 10c, but all the moves are there. The crux definitely comes at the roof when you need to make one move off of a slightly insecure hold, but the jugs on the top are huge. The finishing roof isn’t exactly easy either. The first bolt is up high – so you may want to take some medium sized gear to protect the start. Some folks traverse in from the right (easier), but the correct line is right from the bottom up the broken corner. (K. Christakos/S. Elliot/S. VanAsten 94)
48. Peer Pressure 5.12a*** – This is the next sport climb to the right of “Iggy Pop”. The crux involves a number of crimpy moves in a row and a big bump up to the right. The moves after the crux are a lot easier but are slightly run-out – make sure you have energy to make the clip after the crux because you wouldn’t want to blow it. This is a very good climb – relatively easy for the grade. (M. Spagnut 95)
49. Am I Prejudice 5.12+*** – The route to the right of “Peer Pressure” – it has a very hard sequence of very crimpy moves, followed by an overhanging section that’s easy but run out. Make sure you bring a medium size cam (or two) for the sections above the crux. Shares the anchors with “Saturday Night Special”. (S. Elliot/S. Jenson 97)
50. Saturday Night Special 5.10a/b*** – A very popular sport climb just to the left of the left facing corner (Bloodline). There are four fairly widely spaced bolts, so you don’t want to blow any of the clips. Pumpy but all the holds are there. The crux is at the bottom. (D. Latimer/M. Spagnut 95)
51. Bloodline 5.8* – This is the large crack in the left facing corner immediately to the right of the “Saturday Night Special” bolts. This crack takes gear to five inches and shares the anchors with “Saturday Night Special”. (D. Latimer/M. Spagnut 95)
52. Shiva @ Netshop.Net 5.10d* – The short bolted face (two bolts) to the right of the “Bloodline” corner. It is harder than it looks. Unfortunately, the bolts hangers have been missing on this climb for a while, and I’m not exactly sure of the status of them right now (Dec 07) – they still may be missing. (S. Jenson/S. Elliot 97)
53. Social Foreplay 5.8+** – Immediately to the right of “Shiva” is a newer sport climb (6 bolts) that climbs through a series of small roofs.
54. The Year the Punk Broke 5.9 – Climb the wide crack in the right facing corner up to ledges and then to the roof. Go through the roof on a weakness on its right side. Take gear to four inches. (B. Tassone)
55. Voodoo Grunge Tour 5.8/5.9 – Climb the same as the “Punk” climb but take the roof on its left side. Same gear. (S. VanAsten)
56. The Crack 5.9 – This gear climbs starts just to the left of the next two sport routes (“Satan’s and “Boonie”) and shares the same anchors. Follow a right trending crack using the face and the crack to make progress. You can step to the left to take a break. Take gear to three inches.
57. Satan’s Hairy Semen 5.10a*** – This is a fun, pumpy sport climb located on a small buttress – the climb ends about halfway up the wall (before the large roof). The climb trends right eventually ending up on the other side of the small arête. This is a good climb, but can feel hard for the grade. (S. Jenson/D. Marra 96)
58. Boonie on the Nose 5.11a/b* – The bolted line immediately to the right of “Satan’s” and shares the same anchor. It’s only 5.11 if you stay on the arête – the line is a bit contrived. (S. Jenson/D. Marra 96)
After “Boonie on the Nose” there are a number of new sport routes that I don’t have any information on, but will try to get. I have climbed a number of them and they are all quite fun. In addition to these new sport routes, there have also been a few trad routes climbed further to the right of “Boonie”, but these get climbed rarely, if ever. They are as follows:
59. Die Darkman Die 5.10a – An obscure line about 18 metres past “Boonie”. It climbs the steep face with only mediocre gear – I wonder why it doesn’t get more traffic? (D. Marra /D. Jenson 96)
60. Cross-Eyed and Painless 5.8/5.9* – Follow the obvious clean corner to a set of rap anchors. Although it isn’t often climbed, this is a good outing. Take gear to four inches. (G. Boyd/D. Diduck 95)
61. Flirch Me 5.10a – Another gear climb about 15 metres further down from “Cross-Eyed”. Take gear to three inches. (G. Boyd/D. Diduck 95)
CampingSee the Jasper Rock Climbs link
Red TapeYou need to have a National Park Pass to stop anywhere in Jasper National Park. These can be purchased at the Park gates while you are driving in.
There is little red tape in Jasper with respect to the climbing. Bolting has not yet been an issue at the crags that have been developed; nor does it appear to even be on the radar screen of Parks Canada (yet). Obviously, things like cutting or removing trees and other vegetation in the name of route development is illegal and must be avoided at all costs.