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 long 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.
Reprobate climbs the large dihedral in the upper section of EEOR’s face near the south (left) end. It gains a two star rating (out of three) in Joe Josephson’s “Bow Valley Rock” for its sustainability and relatively decent rock. I led all of the 5.7 pitches on this route and concur with the two star label. The climb offers several variations at the start, middle and finish to find more challenging ground.
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, look for a 100+/- meter pinnacle at the base immediately below the upper dihedral. The route starts in the chimney on the left side of this pinnacle although you can take the right side as a variation.
1st Pitch- 50m- 5.6/ Climb the chimney up and over a small roof. There is a piton on top of the roof but not where you need it underneath. Also I remember it was difficult if not impossible to place gear underneath (backpack caused a problem I believe). I just remember thinking the piton was in the wrong place. In any regard, it is not too difficult a move to take the roof. Easy climbing after that to several bomber bolt belays to your right where the chimney splits. Not sure why all the bolts.
2nd Pitch- 50m- 5.5/ Real easy grade up the right fork of the chimney. Keep climbing back left as you ascend and move out right as you top out onto a sunny ledge. You have to build a station as I recall.
3rd Pitch- 45m- 5.5/ The junk pitch to be sure. Move back left and continue up until you top out onto scree. Walk left dragging your ropes over to the wall and up a short groove (piton) that runs to a slightly higher ledge. Belay out of a small corner on your left, build your own station.
4th Pitch- 25m- 5.7/ First good pitch of the route. Start ascending the corner. Make a large step right and climb the right side of a small pinnacle to its summit. Stand on the pinnacle and move back left to gain slabby rock into a short groove. Don’t go too far left, as you might be tempted to. Continue your ascent to a small ledge with a piton belay at the base of a wide open corner.
5th Pitch- 40m- 5.7/ Follow the corner for a few meters and then traverse way left across the wall to obtain the arête. Climb a groove in the arête until it steepens, then move even more left (rope drag!) to attain a slab that leads to a right facing corner. Ascend the corner to a piton belay. Place your pro appropriately on this pitch to avoid strenuous rope drag.
6th Pitch- 40m- 5.7/ Close to 5.8 rating. Continue up the left facing corner a short distance to a break/crack on the left face. Use this to swing out onto the arête (bolt). Ascend, angling back right to the edge using several pitons along the way (where the corner is). Then finish by going straight up to a large platform with bolt belay.
7th Pitch- 45m- 5.6/ Climb easy ground to the slabby corner above, move right and continue up the slabby wall trending right up into an alcove below the start of the upper dihedral. Piton belay.
8th Pitch- 35m- 5.7-A0/ Climb the right wall of the corner up to three pitons and pull on your draws to move back left onto the dihedral. If you want to free climb this pitch, it goes at 5.10c. Fall back into the corner and continue up to a very small belay position out on the right face some 30 meters up. Look for a small ledge to traverse out right on that leads to a three piton belay.
9th Pitch- 30m- 5.6/ Climb over bulges as you move out right and trend rightward to a piton belay at a solid ledge below a significant overhang. It is easier going right over the bulges.
10th Pitch- 65m- 5.6/ Make an exposed traverse out left and out of the overhang to a chimney type feature and turn it to the right on easy ground and start angling back right. You will want to protect yourself at the base of this feature and that will cause this pitch to go at 65-70 meters with serious rope drag. Your partner will not be able to hear you, so discuss your options ahead of time. Continue up low 5th class loose ground above your belay below (you have moved that far back right) . You are looking for a significant ledge with a live tree (2006) and bolt belay on the wall in front of the tree. All of this is just left of your ascent line above the belay below. I had the belayer simul-climb to the base of the chimney feature to allow us to make this one pitch. The ground up high is easy, but run out.
11th Pitch- 45m- 5.6/ This becomes a loose pitch as the leader will no doubt drop rock from the summit via the rope drag on a sitting belay. The leader needs to think about the angle of the rope as it lays over loose rock and possibly set up a station before topping out to avoid this situation. Trend left into a right facing corner and climb this corner (5.6) to the top, moving back right on easy broken ground. If you see a belay station to the left on a wall, use it and solo or short rope to the summit from there to avoid rock fall.
Descend off the south slopes until you hook into the scramble descent trail which will lead back to Spray Lakes Road.
Essential GearSome 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 with you. You will not return to the base of the climbs.
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.
CampingThe 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.
- 100’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
- OR: Best True Technical Clothing and Accessories in the Outdoor Industry
- Scarpa, has surpassed La Sportiva in terms of quality, function, value
- Osprey Backpacks, Not a Second Choice
- Great Outdoors Depot
- Cascade Designs (MSR; Thermarest; Platypus)