Take the Kananaskis Highway (Highway 40) exit off of the Trans-Canada Highway between Calgary and Canmore. Travel past Kananaskis Park headquarters
and Barrier Lake on your right and Mount Baldy
on the left as you are heading southbound. Park at the Wasootch Creek Day Use Area on your left. You will clearly see Wasootch Tower
from the highway as you near the parking turnoff. From the parking lot, follow the faint gravel trails up the creek bed to the slabs on your left, starting with “A” slab.
B Slab has a left and right section divided by a very popular route at Wasootch Slabs that forms a prominent corner that runs from bottom to top called Second Corner, 5.7, B19. The best way to find where you want to climb on B Slab (since there are 35 routes!) is to start at B19 and either move or count your way left or right depending on what you are looking for.
Route Description(s)B1-B7- 5.2-5.7
- A bunch of low end trad routes.
B13-Smoke on the Water-5.11b
-trad- This is the route that divides B Slab in two and gets a lot of attention. So much so, that it has become quite polished. I watched a pretty good climber fall on it repeatedly. I can’t say I had the same difficulty however, it is still a 5.7. It protects well with multiple cams and/or nuts. Of course it is less polished the further up you go. The hands get a little thin for a 5.7 towards the top and makes beginners think about their legs more which makes it a good teaching route. The rap station is off to the right as you near the top of the corner. This is a full length corner, but you will move to the outside edge a time or two during the 2nd half.
-top rope, highest rated route at Wasootch Slabs
-trad- One of the best trad routes at Wasootch Slabs. It is the next corner just right of Second Corner. However this corner does not rise all the way to the top. It peters out and then you wind your way up to some hanging blocks above. The rappel rings are above these blocks. This is a full 30 meter route, but the 5.9 is just in the bottom half. Good cam and nut placements for the more difficult climbing. A little run out after that. You can protect before you have to do an overhang to get over those blocks, it is not bomber however.
- Although a trad route in the guide book, this is now a sport route. Start right of the Third Corner on face moves. The crux is low and it eases considerably as you tie back into Third Corner for the finish.
- Too many routes too close together here. I don’t get it.
- Although a trad route in the guide book, this is now a sport route. It starts on a ramp and moves back left under a concaved overhang. You can get over the overhang no worries. The crux is moving back left over the overhang to follow the bolt line with few features in sight. Once you find the key, it is an exhilarating move to be sure. (photo)
-Appropriately named, however they give you a cheater bolt on the mini-roof which is the crux half way up. The first half is easy, but you will want to place a few pieces after you turn the roof and move left and up. The 2nd half is definitely the fun half of this pitch. This is a nice 5.7. If you go over the next roof direct, that is Cracked Slab which is a 5.9 move. (photo)
-trad with a nice roof move in the middle.
- A bunch of low end top rope routes.
A single 60 meter rope ought to do you. Many of these pitches are close to 30 meters which is nice. Sport Climbs in the Canadian Rockies is the book you need, but somewhat outdated on what is trad or sport.
You might get by without it if Dr. Topo
has everything you need in terms of which routes you want to do. Bring your trad gear, there are still some fun trad routes left.
The Kananaskis Provincial Park website
is a very thorough park website, including trail conditions or closures, wildlife notices, weather conditions, avalanche conditions, camping permits, whitewater conditions, etc. It is an excellent source if you are going to spend any time here and comparable to any National Park website I have used. Canadian Alpine Accident Reports
are also extremely useful. There is only one accident report for Wasootch Slabs as of 2006.