Raptor is a popular sport route on EEOR (East End of Mount Rundle), 2nd in popularity to True Grit. Raptor is a 220m line put in by Whalen and Bartrom in 1994. It offers several good pitches, the first three plus the 8th pitch, but is plagued with quite a few junk pitches in between. The crux move on the first pitch extracts varying opinions as to grade from different climbers. The Bow Valley Rock guide book suggests that is at a higher grade than 5.10b. Since its publication however, this section of the first pitch has been tightly bolted with three bolts thus the guide book author's suggestion to go left should be and can be ignored. Friends tell me they just A0 their way through this section. I used one precarious right toe smear and felt the crux bulge went at the grade and thus freed it no worries. I still appreciated the tight bolts just the same. Like most of the textured limestone on EEOR, you would look like you tangled with a man sized cheese grater if you took much of a lead fall thus why most of us try to avoid a lead fall even on a sport route.
It is easy to find the Raptor start as it begins just left of the Fumbles Gully which is an optional descent for many of the routes further north on EEOR. If you are standing at the base of the gully, the route starts slightly down and left up a small rib. Keep in mind this is a relatively popular route, but like all Canadian Rockies routes, offers tons of loose rock. It is imperative that you beware of climbers below you. I personally would not climb below someone on any of the EEOR routes. I suggest you be prepared to climb True Grit or Raptor when you leave your vehicle and trudge up the mountainside. More than likely one will be available. Raptor does reach a trail on top that intersects the scramble trail, making it an easy walk off.
From the reservoir parking area directly across from EEOR, gain a trail slightly to the south and ascend steep ground northwest via switchbacks (this trail starts up right behind a large boulder). As you get closer to the south end wall, you will see the base of Fumbles Gully. Hike up to Fumbles Gully and down and left for the start of the route.
720’+/-, 9 Pitches, 5.10b
1st Pitch- 30m- 5.10b/ Start up past several bolts on solid rock via a rib. You will come to a groove of sorts that has three bolts laddered in it. The crux move is the first move to the 2nd bolt. No hands really, just a smear on somewhat polished rock with your right toe, then stand up to a balancing move and make some more crimp moves for the grade past this section. As you swing out left, the climbing eases as you come to a comfortable belay stance.
2nd Pitch- 25m- 5.9/ The 2nd pitch is a sustained 5.9 slab pitch on great textured limestone. Move right and then angle left through a vertical section and then back right up to a comfortable station.
3rd Pitch- 20m- 5.8/ The 3rd pitch is straight up and offers some solid slab moves for the grade, but again eases towards the top and another comfortable belay.
4th Pitch- 5th Pitch-50m- upper 5th class/ Here is where the junk starts, but nothing wrong with it, just not challenging climbing.
6th Pitch- 25m- 5.7/ Some fun corner stuff shows up to break up the monotony of the easy middle section. Follow a corner right and then another corner left to yet again, another comfortable belay ledge.
7th Pitch- 20m-5th Class/ Another junker pitch with a couple of bolts that places you to the right of the crux roof above at yet another stand up belay beneath a huge corner to the right.
8th Pitch- 30m- 5.10a/ I led the first pitch, which is suppose to be the crux, but I thought this little roof was just as difficult. With a pack sometimes one’s vision is skewed. I have heard of someone carrying a #3 camelot for the roof pull but I don’t see the need for it. You swing out wide left past several bolts, the last one of which you want to double sling or not clip altogether to avoid rope drag. Move back to directly below the small roof above. There is not much of anything to grab on top of it, so it is best to work up the right or left side. I think the published topo shows left, however we took it on the right. Either way it is a grunt with a pack on. Continue on easier ground past three more bolts to the station above.
9th Pitch- 20m- 5th Class/ I guess you can walk off left at this station if you want. I just followed the bolts up the rib to the next station. Then it is an easy walk off left to the top flank of EEOR. You should easily indentify a trail here that descends into the regular scramble trail and then circumvents all the way back to the road above Spray Lakes.
Climbing Sequence II
10 Draws and a few slings or more if you are going to combine pitches. Some folks take a #3 for the 8th pitch, but I found no need to. Helmet, rock shoes, etc. A single 60m is fine, the descent is a walk off. You will not return to the base of the climb, thus carry a light weight backpack or duffle to haul up your shoes, water and clothes.
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 and sport 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.
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