The north face of Mount Edith is an impressive climbing objective, particularly as viewed from the less steep, but much more popular, south face of Mount Louis
. Due to snow melt drainage late into the season, it is hard to find either of the published routes (2012) on Mount Edith’s north face in dry condition.
Both Greenwood-Boles and the Kafir Strikes Back (5.10c) routes were wet in late August, 2012
. Whereas Kafir Strikes Back was seriously wet on its crux overhanging pitches, Greenwood-Boles only had one wet pitch, albeit a full vertical pitch of mud climbing (5.8).
Unlike many of the routes on Mount Louis across the col, Greenwood-Boles as Dougherty suggests in the “book of lies”, is considerably more sustained via nine long pitches of climbing in the 5.7-5.8 range. Via the descent, we found no evidence of anyone completing the route during 2012 and possibly for several years prior. All the descent rappels were rotted out. Several bail raps were found right below the drainage pitch indicating turnarounds by several parties. We cleaned up those bail raps and used same to reinforce and repair the descent raps down the gully on the west side of the north face.
Greenwood and Boles established this line in 1961
. The only beta we could muster in 2012 was in the Selected Alpine guide book, aka, the "book of lies", which was of course, fairly sparse. The first pitch is shared with the Kafir Strikes Back route and follows an obvious corner straight up the middle of the north face from the apex of the scree below. Where the Kafir route continues up the tall corner, Greenwood-Boles turns due left for a full 200’ across a rotten ledge to a much easier corner system. The third and fourth pitches follow chossy corners up to a belay below magnificent (by Canadian Rockies standards) splitters on the right wall. We got sucked into following those splitters on up the right side of a roof forcing us to traverse back right in Kafir Strikes Back. However, this variation is not bad.
Another easy traverse pitch up and left gets you back on track to the base of the dreaded wet pitch below an alcove often filled with snow. This drainage pitch (7th) can be the crux of the climbing due to its condition. The eighth pitch is fairly sustained up and left of the chimney above traversing back right into the corner before you get too run out. The final pitch, in my opinion, is best tackled straight in the wide corner above to the notch above. However, various pitons angle up and left via cracks with unstable rock. Carry a C4 #4 and tackle the final crack direct and you will be better served in my opinion
As you would for the popular Mount Louis routes, park at the Cory and Edith Pass trailhead parking area. Take the Edith Pass trail option (straight) at the fork for Cory and Edith Passes. Turn left at a signed junction to head for the Mount Louis and Mount Edith col. Stay up and left on the scree and make for the apex of the scree on the left against the north face of Mount Edith. The route starts in an obvious tall corner directly center of the north face. Most folks will take a solid 2 hours to reach the base of the route.
Route Description1500’+/-, 9 Pitches, 5.8
1st Pitch- 60m- 5.7/
Climb up the corner on good rock past one small ledge and continue above to a much larger ledge. I did not find a good gear station here, thus started the traverse out left to a small 2” crack with a decent belay stance.
2nd Pitch- 45m- 4th/
Continue traversing way out left along the crumbling ledge to the base of an obvious chossy corner above that angles left to right before ramping back left (pitch 3).
3rd Pitch- 50m- 5.6/
Climb the chossy corner up right, traversing back left via a ramp feature and continue up to a comfortable belay below another right facing corner of choss.
4th Pitch- 40m- 5.7/
This pitch offers a less protected belay stance
therefore the leader needs to climb with care. Climb the corner and turn left out of sight, make a few short crack moves and belay below nice splitters out on the right wall and another corner straight above leading to a roof.
5th Pitch- 60m- 5.8/
According to the line drawn on the guide book’s topo photo, we added a variation
here. The roof blocks your view above. We assumed to stay with the prominent corner not to mention the climbing directly above was on the best rock of the day. But once you turn the roof, you have to traverse all the way back right into the Kafir Strikes Back corner/route for a belay. I presume one could have traversed left from the belay below and stayed in more direct corners to the left.
6th Pitch- 50m- 5th/
Traverse up and left to another ledge system that leads back around the arête and down to a belay in a small (probably wet) alcove with a chossy and mossy wet right facing corner above.
7th Pitch- 60m- 5.8/
In the condition I led it, this was no doubt the crux pitch of the day. Climb the ugly wet corner up moss and choss to a large rock/snow filled alcove above. Be ultra-careful not to knock rocks down on your belayer as you cross the alcove onto the much better rock above.
Stay right and follow the left facing corner for a few finger crack moves up and then trend left on blocks to find a decent 2” crack to belay in. This higher belay will keep your rope from dropping loose rock on the 2nd.
8th Pitch- 60m- 5.8/
Move left of the wet chimney and climb up the face past a piton on good but run out ground until you can traverse back right staying within the grade back right into the crack/corner. The "book of lies" is quite vague on the whole route but particularly lacking on these last several pitches.
Follow the corner to a good belay stance at the end of your rope.
9th Pitch- 40m- 5.8/
The last section of this pitch and the route for that matter involves the steepest climbing of the day.
Follow the easy corner up and either tackle the steep, but short, 4”-6” crack above or follow the various pins up and left on suspect rock
via several well protected cracks. I went up and left assuming there might be a surprise waiting for me above the wide crack (thus the numerous pins out left). But if I did it again, I would take a C4# 4 and finish in the corner/crack.
Belay at the notch above.
Climbing Sequence I
We used a 70m rope
. The "book of lies" really lives up to its name regarding this route. Good luck deciphering its descent description. The descent is actually quite simple to describe however. We un-roped at the notch, but some would be more comfortable leading another pitch. In any regard, head west up a short steep section of loose rock. The angle of the terrain quickly softens to scrambling status. Continue up to the col above. On the other side, enter the scree filled gully and make your way along the right side covering some exposed ground as you bypass the first steep drop off in the gully proper.
We found two pitons on the right wall and fixed new cord (2012) to get us down to the next steep gully drop off. This piton/nut rap (2nd) is well concealed on the right wall just above the drop off.
One could also sling boulders here. This rap gets you down to a section of the gully you can down climb and walk along. Stay on the left side
following a ledge out to a two nut rap below a small roof
(3rd). Rap down into the gully proper again to find a piton rap below the next steep drop off (4th). A full 70m rope rap plus a short bit of down climbing out climbers right got us down to another piton rap (5th) which we chose to down climb instead to the large scree gully heading north. Descend this gully down to the Cory Pass trail and turn right to return to the base of the route.
70m rope, several of the pitches are long and several raps preferred a rope of this length. Single set of cams, size C4#.3 to 4 (last pitch). Double up on the .3-.75’s before you take double 1’s to 2’s.
I seemed to always be looking for my single .3 and .4. Can easily go without the C4 #4, we did not have one, but if I went again, I would take one for the last pitch. Single set of nuts. Half draws, half shoulder length slings. Helmets are a must. Biner your approach shoes to your harness for the scree filled descent. No drinking water to be found en route, but half a liter was plenty for me. North facing, dress appropriately. Take plenty of cord along with a few quick links and if you are a cautious individual, take some pins and a hammer to fortify old rap stations
. Poles for the approach.
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