Gooseberry, 5.8, 7 Pitches

Gooseberry, 5.8, 7 Pitches

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 51.17639°N / 115.55556°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.8 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 7
Sign the Climber's Log



Lloyd MacKay and Ken Baker put up Gooseberry in 1967. They originally rated it 5.7, it has since been changed to a more modern rating of 5.8. Three of us took 6 hours to casually complete the route from car to car. You walk off via a trail down the west side and walk down Tunnel Mountain Drive back to your car. It is approximately a 1000+/- ascent day.

From any number of Tunnel Mountain Drive pullouts on the left, hike through the forest towards the east wall of Tunnel Mountain. There are trails all over the place, but get to the wall and head south. Start below a short groove capped by a yellow roof. If I recall correctly there is paint marking the bottom of the route.

Route Description


1st Pitch- 30m- 5.4/ Climb the right wall of the groove past an old piton and a bolt higher up to a station at a ledge on the right.

2nd Pitch- 40m- 5.6/ Angle up left to gain a ramp that leads to a long, right-facing corner. Climb the corner to a large ledge on the left with a bolted station located behind several trees.

3rd Pitch- 45m- 5.8/ Move out left several meters to start the 3rd pitch. Climb easy ground moving left again and up to gain a large ledge with a left-facing corner system above. Climb this corner utilizing some layback moves (crux) past several bolts on the left. Move over a bulge above versus the short corner and pitons on the right. Step back right and move up to a small ledge on the right. Climb the wall above past two bolts to reach a station on the right.

4th Pitch- 25m, 5.6/ Move up left over a small bulge and climb a shallow groove past two pitons. Go diagonally up left into a left-facing corner and follow it to a ledge and bolt belay. At this point you have an alternative finish to the original route and we took it.

5th Pitch- 50m, 5.8/ This is an aesthetic sport pitch raided from the MacKay route to the right. Move up and right and follow the line of bolts diagonally to the right on some of the best vertical rock of Tunnel Mountain. At the top of the wall, move up sloping ledges and then traverse right and up to the bolt belay at the top of a large corner.

6th Pitch- 30m, 5.7/ Move up diagonally left on broken ground to a groove capped by a roof. Two meters below the roof, ignore the bolt line going left, move up right past a piton into a steep right facing corner. Sustained 5.7 up the corner leads to a bolt belay on a good ledge below an obvious chimney.

7th Pitch- 30m, 5.7/ Move left and make an awkward move up past a bolt into the base of the chimney. Climb the chimney for a short distance and then step out left onto an easy ramp with excellent rock that leads up past a piton to a chained station near the top. Alternatively, continue up the chimney to a large tree at the start of easy ground.


Once you top out, look for a trail in the trees and turn right if you want to take a 5 minute hike to the summit. From the summit follow the marked trail down the west side of Tunnel Mountain. You can leave the main trail via a number of faint trails off of the switchbacks to circumvent the north side of Tunnel Mountain so you can get back to Tunnel Mountain Drive at a shorter distance to your car.

Essential Gear

Typical Canadian Rockies trad rack, but no need to carry excessive gear, quite a bit of fixed protection on the route. Helmet, rock shoes, etc. We used double ropes which I almost always advise on trad routes in the Canadian Rockies, plus it bodes well for three climbers.

External Links

  • 100’s of Canmore and Banff National Park multi-pitch rock climbs, ice climbs, alpine climbs and scrambles, just scroll down to routes
  • Banff National Park, Parks Canada
  • OR: Best True Technical Clothing and Accessories in the Outdoor Industry
  • Scarpa, has surpassed La Sportiva in terms of quality, function, value
  • Osprey Backpacks, Not a Second Choice
  • Great Outdoors Depot
  • Mont-Bell
  • Cascade Designs (MSR; Thermarest; Platypus)

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