3rd Pitch- 35m- 5.11
Girls Lie is my favorite route
to date on EEOR (East Face of Mount Rundle)
. In fact the third pitch graces the front cover of the Bow Valley Rock guide book
(Chris Perry and Joe Josephson). Girls Lie was put in by Mark Piche
(author of the famed Bugaboo guide book) in 1998. This line is quite complete in comparison to other Canadian Rockies traditional rock routes. Located way over on the far northern reaches of Rundle’s east face, Girls Lie looks quite imposing, but actually breaks down into a very mellow and enjoyable day. The first few pitches (5.8) are a nice warm up to the money pitch of the route, the 5.11 corner that involves a variety of solid finger and hand jams.
Then a couple of not so great pitches leads to a fun 5.9 intermittent crack/corner pitch which takes you to the next 5.11 pitch that involves tedious face climbing but is a nice pitch overall. Then a run out 5.7 pitch lands you atop of a huge ledge system. Move the belay to the left, climb a couple of fun 5.8 pitches followed by a long easy ridge pitch that sets you up for a stellar 5.10 finger/fist/hand crack finish.
7th Pitch- 30m- 5.11
All in all the rock is decent by EEOR’s standards and the physical setting of most of the pitches is actually superior in comparison to most EEOR routes. Although the guide book, Bow Valley Rock, recommends a hammer and pitons
, we did not take a set nor found the need for them. Any run out climbing involved easy terrain considering the grade of this route. The most dangerous part of the climb could be circumventing the top of EEOR to reach the scramble trail for the walk off descent. Although the mountain sheep and goats have pounded out a trail at the very edge of EEOR, we chose to ascend to the base of the rock bands above and circumvent from there although that was not much more secure or pleasant then the sheep/goat trail.
From the Canmore Nordic Center, ascend the Spray Lakes/Smith Dorrien road (gravel) through the switchbacks to the parking area between Goats Creek and the dam right on the reservoir. This is the most efficient parking area for the trad and sport 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. From the reservoir parking area, gain a trail slightly to the south (left of a huge boulder) and ascend steep ground northwest via switchbacks. As you get closer to the south end wall, you will hook into a trail that runs along the base of EEOR. Continue north along the trail for quite a distance turning several corners as the trail peters out. Eventually you reach the start of Drop Out which is an obvious corner route that follows the black streak (wet most of the year) up EEOR’s face. Another 1000’ or so is a large shallow cave with yellow rock above. Climb a right leaning ramp (5.8) just to the left of the cave before working into a steep corner (5.11) for pitch three.
1500’+, 14 Pitches, 5.11
1st Pitch- 45m- 5.8/
Follow the easy ramp as it angles right overcoming a short corner (piton-2009) at the grade and do a gear belay on top of a large ledge.
2nd Pitch- 25m- 5.8/
Traverse right into a fun corner and climb to its top to a bolted belay further right closer to the next corner.
3rd Pitch- 35m- 5.11/
This is definitely the money pitch
of the climb. Down climb easy ground to a point where it is easy to traverse right into the corner. Clip a bolt that is about even with your belayer. Double ropes
come in handy due to both of the 5.11 pitches starting out this way. Run it out a bit to the next bolt, helped with a fairly significant hand ledge
. Start wide stemming
your way up the corner making some finger jams and placing a variety of smaller gear. The crux is between the 3rd and 4th bolt
. The upper portion of the corner is easier with solid hand jams and gear placements
used to overcome the exit bulge
to a comfortable bolted belay. This pitch actually graces the front cover of the Bow Valley Guide book.
4th Pitch- 40m- 5.8/
This is kind of a junky pitch. Move right to the 2nd corner (more solid) and climb back left over the belay to find several pitons (2009). Climb up to the right of a loose roof. Continue up somewhat loose un-protectable ground, trending right towards the end (sling a block) to a semi-hanging bolted belay.
5th Pitch- 30m- 5.10a/
Another not so stellar pitch. Clip a bolt up and left and follow the dirty ramp on loose ground as it trends left. Mantle the ground before the corner to a bolted station.
6th Pitch- 30m- 5.9/
This is a nice pitch. Climb up the corner above the ledge up-protected
. Move out left
to a slab and bolt. Then follow the intermittent shallow cracks as they trend slightly right, past several bolts and into a corner to finish and exit right
to a bolted station on a scenic small ledge.
7th Pitch- 30m- 5.11/
Make a weird traverse left, down climbing
the water worn rock before you reach the steep left wall. Make an easy move up to clip the first bolt (about even with your belayer) and then make the crux move of the climb to reach the 2nd bolt.
This is face climbing on solid, but not highly textured rock. Make several difficult and physical moves to overcome the ground immediately above this 2nd bolt, then the pitch eases as it runs out past a third and up to a forth bolt up in a closed corner. After clipping this bolt, make a delicate mantle
out left and up to a ledge with a single bolt to assist with the belay.
8th Pitch- 40m- 5.7/
This is the most seriously run out pitch, but of course some of the easiest climbing as well. Move right, not all the way to the chimney, and start climbing the well textured slab above which leads to looser ground where protection is nil. Continue up to a very large and treed ledge system to belay off of a tree.
9th Pitch- 60m- Walk/
Move the belay to the left a full ropes length to the top tree below a pair of corners.
10th Pitch- 45m- 5.8/
Climb the left corner
as it angles out left on easy ground to the top of a small ledge with a small tree (2009) and huge block. Set up a gear belay in the smaller block down and right
11th Pitch- 55m- 5.8/
Another mellow pitch for the grade. From the belay, move up and right through a loose corner, making a traverse on the ledge above to a sharp ridge. Follow the ridge until the rope drag is too unbearable (there is a bolt to assist with belay up on a large ledge). Watch how you protect the pitch to avoid horrendous rope drag.
12th Pitch- 60m- 5.5/
Move up and right until you gain the ridge proper, then follow easy ground (4th) all the way up to a final chossy looking wall left of a large drainage, where you can belay off of a substantial tree. Rope drag will be bad enough without placing any gear.
13th-14th Pitches- 60m- 5.10a/
This is a surprise fun pitch to end the day on, normally routes on EEOR peter out towards the top. Move left on the wall about 7m
until below a nice finger crack (.5”). Make grade moves up this crack to the base of a fist crack (3-4”). Get into more crack climbing at the grade as it runs up the larger (and quite sharp!)
crack until you exit out below a roof to the right
. Make an easy mantle up and over the roof. I continued, albeit with major rope drag
, to the summit via easy, but somewhat loose ground (large precarious blocks). You can belay off of a bush tree on the top of EEOR. Your belayer will need to move to the wall for you to be able to combine these two pitches.
This could be the most dangerous part of the day. Sheep and goats have pounded a trail at the very edge of EEOR. We chose instead to ascend all the way up to just below the rock bands above looking for more level ground. We really did not find any. I imagine some of the scree in between might make for a better choice depending on your risk tolerance. Catch the scramble trail back down to the Spray Lakes road.
There is quite a bit of fixed gear on this route. The guide book suggests a hammer and pitons although we did not take any and felt fine without. A single set of cams, including C3’s to 4”. Did not use a wire all day. The 3” and 4”
are really handy for the final 5.10 crack pitch. Helmets. You are carrying everything with you up and over. Double 60m ropes
are kind of essential on this route as both 5.11 pitches would have more rope drag without doubles. Doubles will help with quite a few of the pitches actually. Half shoulder length slings and half draws.
External LinksBanff National Park, Parks Canada
Alpine Club of Canada