Bankhead Buttress, 5.6-5.11d

Bankhead Buttress, 5.6-5.11d

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 51.22808°N / 115.56248°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Summer
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Valley View, 5.9


Cascade Mountain in Banff National Park displays several significant rock faces. By far the most common of those is Mother’s Day Buttress. To the right of Mother’s Day Buttress on the other side of a waterfall fed drainage is an even larger rock face named Bankhead Buttress. The most common route on Bankhead Buttress is a mostly bolted six pitch Mark Stewart route (the topo shows seven pitches; the description states six) appropriately named Valley View (5.9) (2001) (direct view up the Bow Valley). The most difficult established route to date (2011) is Chris Meyer’s four pitch Lipburner (5.11d) (2006). Lloyd MacKay help established several older corner routes on the buttress in 1971, Dan’s Delight (5.6), Ken’s Cave (5.7), Lost (5.7) and Head Jam (5.6).

Bankhead Buttress


Valley View I thought was worth doing on a cold short day out. Lipburner I felt was way too chossy and needed to be cleaned and possibly is not worth cleaning. I had a hand hold and foot hold break on the first pitch. Chris Perry makes note in Banff Rock that “Overall, the quality of the rock on the buttress is not good. The rock tends to be shattered and loose in places, and the cracks are often shallow….” I tend to agree as that was my experience on Lipburner. However, the approach is short and the wall sunny making any of its routes tempting on a cold short day.

Exit the TransCanada at the first Banff exit (heading north). Turn right and cross the cattle guard. At .7 miles (1.1k) from the cattle guard, use a significant gravel pull out on the left next to a large drainage. Follow the trail on the right side of the drainage up to the wall and a waterfall pouring into the drainage. Lip Burner starts fairly immediate to the right. If heading for Valley View and company, turn right and follow the climber’s scree trail up the wall until it levels off into some trees. Look for bolts and orange tape (2011) marking the start to Valley View.

Route Description (s)

Valley View, 5.9


Lip Burner, 5.11d

Lip Burner, 5.11d

Routes Listed Right to Left as you Face the Wall

  • Lip Burner- 4 Pitches- 5.11d/
  • Despite the initial lure of crack climbing my way through the two roofs, we were not impressed with the choss factor on this route. Midway through the second pitch we bailed after several clean looking holds broke below. Dow

  • Valley View- 6 Pitches- 5.9/
  • It is easy scrambling up to a small ledge below three single bolts closely placed. This is somewhere close to the start of the first 5.6 pitch. From there, I passed two rap stations and continued to the top of the second pitch (5.9). The last several meters of this pitch offered good face climbing at the grade on typical sticky Canadian Rockies limestone (almost vertical) slab. We combined the next two pitches, 5.8 and 5.9 as well. The start of the 5.9 4th pitch was similar to the solid face climbing at the top of the 2nd pitch. The last two pitches went fast and furious up solid rock to the top of this section of the buttress. The route is set up to descend via 25m rappels on solid, relatively safe, ground. Dow

  • Dan’s Delight- 13 Pitches- 5.6/

  • Ken’s Cave- 9 Pitches- 5.7/

  • Lost 35- 400m- 5.7/

  • Head Jam- 400m- 5.6/
  • External Links

  • Banff Rock Climbs

  • Environment Canada Weather

  • Banff National Park

    trail conditions or closures, wildlife notices/closures, weather conditions, camping permits, etc.

    Best Eats in Canmore: Iron Goat, tons of organic/free range fare, my favorite is the game meat loaf. As good as prices as anywhere really and the staff is made up of a few aspiring climbers. The main man works his heart out making everything run smooth, not a given in Canmore. Best dining views (and sunny outdoor seating) in town bar none, from Mount Lougheed to Mount Rundle traverses, two of my trademark beta contributions near the town of Canmore. True best of the best mountain local dining experience.

    Best Eats in Banff: The Bison, all organic/free range fare, with a detailed description of their suppliers. Recently expanded (2010), I recommend sticking with the downstairs. Better menu, prices and social ambience. Maybe retire to the bar upstairs for sunset or late night. Bison chili is amazing!

    Best Coffee in Canmore: Beamers, the locals favorite, super wholesome lunch stuff, local guys, no attitude on service

    Best Climbers Hangout: Summit Café, most likely place to find me or my brethren shooting the bull about beta. Best breakfast place in town, good coffee as well, serve Mennonite meats from Valbella, which is the best place to buy free range products anywhere in the world, right here in Canmore.

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