Garden Rock is just past the actual confines of Grotto Canyon
below the infamous Hoodoo Cave
. It took us several years of exploring the area before we hopped on these routes. Although the routes are short, we found Garden Rock to be thoroughly entertaining and private.
From where you parked, trek north up hill to the mouth of Grotto Canyon. Enter the canyon by following the creek bed as it winds into the steep walls. The trail moves back and forth from each bank. Hemmingway Wall
is the first climbing wall on your left. It is buffered on the left by a swatch of mature trees. A myriad of short trails meander in and about allowing you to clearly scope out this wall. Continue north towards the canyon headwall (fork). Before you reach the headwall the canyon bends slightly east. The Paintings Wall
is on your left. The Peanut which features one route is in between Hemmingway
and Paintings Wall
. Continue to the headwall and turn left past the Lower Narrows. A right turn here goes to Grotto Falls, home of several ice climbing routes in the winter. As you take a left, the canyon turns sharply right again past Illusion Rock on your left. Keep trekking north as you exit the steep canyon walls. Gain a faint trail on the left bank. Hoodoo Cave starts to come into view to the upper left. Garden Rock is a small, cliff-like (glacier till formation), stand-alone feature on the left side (west) of the canyon just to the north of Hoodoo Cave.
Route Description(s)Routes Listed Left to Right
Pining Way- 5.9/
I have provided a photo showing the first and only bolt on this route. It protects the crux well with wired nuts after that. It is the shortest route on Garden Rock. Fun little route that follows the left side of the corner. Hardest move is low, thus the bolt.
Conifer Crack- 5.10c/
Two bolts and opportunity to protect with a #3 cam.
Chainsaw Wall- 5.11c/
Tough route with three bolts. Hard start and finish, definitely sustained.
All Spruced Up- 5.10a/
Kind of an ugly route running up next to the tree with one bolt up high. Felt more like 5.9.
The routes on Garden Rock only require a single 60 meter rope for rappels. You can top rope or walk off the right side (north) as well. You will need a little trad gear for these routes.
Garden Rock is just something short, fun and private to play around on. The rock is pretty solid throughout Grotto Canyon relative to the Canadian Rockies, but of course a helmet is always advisable. Sport Climbs in the Canadian Rockies is the book you need. You might get by without it if Dr. Topo
has everything you need in terms of which routes you want to do. As of 2006, Dr. Topo did not have the better routes farther into Grotto Canyon.