Guides Rock is a brilliant and beauty slab located on a low outlier of Mt. Cory. The crag provides a variety of short, moderate routes and selection of some of the best routes in the Bow Valley. Developed over the decades, with several test piece and ground breaking routes established over the years.
was first ascended by Cindy Fagan, Peter Dean and Bernie Wiatzka in 1994. Originally sparsely bolted, the route was updated by local Banff climbing guide Mark Klassen in 2015 with more bolts on the original pitch plus now a few bolts to link to a short second pitch to the top of the second pitch of Aftonroe.
If a person wished to climb T Bam Crack (5.9, 30m) I would recommend ascending For Sure and traversing to the second anchor station on Aftonroe to access T Bam Crack.
For Sure is primarily steep and mildly textured limestone slab. The crux pitch is now fairly polished and the crux moves provide slick feet; I think bumping up the grade is reasonable. I suggest 5.8+ over the guidebook grade of 5.8. The crux provides a very fun and different feel compared to most of the slab on the lower sections of the route.
Park on the Bow Valley Parkway, Highway 1A (now with restricted hours
in the spring; March 1 - June 25 8 p.m. to 8 a.m) 3 km after leaving the TransCanada Highway (from eastern, Banff townsite, end of the Bow Valley Parkway).
Park on the left (south) side of the highway and take the obvious trail up to the buttress, about 200 metres of gain on a steep, but good trail, For Sure is just left of Aftonroe, on the far right end of the buttress, where trail ends. Approximately at 51.173329 , -115.694576
Guides Rock from the parking area
The recent (2012) and excellent guidebook, Banff Rock, by Chris Perry provides great history, approaches, route beta and great topos for all the best rock climbing in southern Banff National Park.
Quote from guidebook for For Sure
Harder than is companion sport route "Cheese Grator", this climb is more sustained and is quite good value for its grade. The first bolt is a little high, but quite easy to reach. If a 60 m rope is being used, it is possible to rappel to a tree on the first ledge and then scramble down from there.
This route was update in 2015 with more bolts on the lower section and few bolts to allow protection to reach the second anchor on Aftonroe and access to T Bam Crack.
Great update information on TABVAR (The Association of Bow Valley Rock-climbers) website. Quote from website PDF update:
With permission of the first ascensionist, a few bolts were added to reduce runouts on the original pitch. It is a well-protected 5.8 lead now and suitable for someone who would be challenged by the grade. There is one bolt that may seem extraneous but it can be used as a directional to get to the first anchor of Aftonroe and this would avoid the tricky friction crux of For Sure. The anchor was updated. A short bolt-protected second pitch was added that leads into the top of the second pitch of Aftonroe. Make a crux move above the anchor (5.8), then traverse right on a big ledge to get to the last bolt of Aftonroe pitch two.
Based on my lead of this route: The lower section is fun and delicate slab climbing, a few deep cut incision holds provide positive grip here and there, the upper section (the mentioned "tricky friction crux") is fun and very interesting, but much of the foot placement is more difficult because of the polished rock that exists on the highest points of the water worn runnel edges. Two slightly indented vertical runnels provide cool side pulls for hands and foot holds on the otherwise very flat slab. Must of been super cool before it was polished after 20+ years of ascents.
Descent is rappel off top anchor, a 60 metre rope should reach easy ground. Or continue to T Bam Crack; recommended.
|Looking up route
OSWB heading up For Sure
Looking down route from top station
Sport climbed equipped, 10 quick draws, belay and rappel gear. Helmet as the upper ledge is loaded with small rocks and pebbles.
External LinksTABVAR update for routes
TABVAR update for Mt.Cory and Guides Rock
MEC - description of Banff Rock guidebook