The Juno Wall, as seen from Highway 16 (looking east) just past the Rocky River Bridge.
The Juno Wall is a large west facing limestone wall located approximately 50 kilometres east of Jasper on the south side of Highway 16. The wall can easily been seen as one is driving east from Jasper – when approaching the second crossing of the Rocky River (about 5 kilometres east of Talbot Lake) the wall can be see immediately in front of you (see picture). It is very recognizable by a lone spruce tree in the middle of the wall.
The climbing at the Juno wall is on well worn, fairly steep, good quality, limestone. The routes are not generally slabby, but rather are steep, with small overlaps, usually constituting the crux. While the rock is good quality, it is limestone, and subject to breaking at any time – please wear a helmet at all times. Due to the exposure and location of the wall, it is one of the first places open to climb at the beginning of the season (it rarely receives snow), and has one of the longest seasons of any of the crags in the Jasper area.
All the routes are bolt protected, with beefy chain anchors. All of the climbs can be done with one 60 metre rope and 15 quickdraws, although four of the climbs are two pitches in length, so with one rope, two rappels are needed to get back to the ground. Route development only started in 2004, so although only 20 routes (24 pitches) are described, there is room for many more climbs. The first ascentionists named the cliff the “Juno Wall”, so they could make up route names from the Canadian music scene. You can tell from the route names that one of them grew up in the 70’s, while the other grew up in the late 80’s.
This is a relatively new crag and is not included in the old guideboook "Jasper Rock" (which is currently out of print).
I have rated the quality of the climb using a star system. Admittedly, this is a subjective system and I am somewhat bias since I was involved in the route development. However, having climbed here lots, you get a very good sense of which climbs are popular and which are not, and if you’re only here for a short time, it’s nice to have some sort of guide around which are the quality climbs. Here’s a rough guide to my star system:
– A route that rarely gets down – not worth doing if you are only here for a limited amount of time.
– A route that gets some traffic from time to time, but is the kind of route that you maybe climb once, but don’t come back to it again.
– A moderately popular route that gets a fair amount of traffic. Worth doing more than once.
– The very popular routes that are regularly climbed and among the best the crag has to offer. Fun moves on good clean rock.
– These are the absolute classics for the crag and even for the Jasper area
. They are very popular, get lots of traffic, and you want to climb them again and again.
The parking for the Juno wall is located in a large pull-out along side Highway 16 about halfway between Hinton and Jasper. After leaving Jasper town limits, there are two areas along Highway 16 where the speed limit changes from 90 km/hr to 70 km/hr – the first one is located just after you cross over the Athabasca River on a large bridge. The second 70 km/hr zone occurs about 2 km after you pass over the Rocky River – it is in this 70 km/hr zone (about 20-25 minutes from Jasper) that you want to park. Park at the first major pull-out on the north side (Athabasca River side) of Highway 16 in the Hidden Valley 70 km zone. Ensure you park in the pull-out on the north side of the Highway – there is a larger pull-out just east of this one, but it’s on the south side of the Highway.
If you are approaching from Hinton, you want to park in the second 70km/hr zone past the Jasper Park Gates (the first 70m/hr zone contains the turn off to Miette Hot Springs).
"Cuts like a knife"
Once you are parked, the Juno Wall can be approached in two different ways; one is easier but isn’t as straight forward for a first time approach, while the other is a little harder (more side-hill walking as opposed to ridge top walking), but is impossible to go wrong.
See this map for detailed approach info for the Juno Wall
For the first time climbing at the Juno wall, it is suggested that you use the following approach:
From the pullout, walk to the other side of the highway and west until you can see an old road bed that travels north/south. Walk on this old roadbed (river channel on your right, rock cut on your left) until a small pond is found on the left side of the road bed. From here, descend to the pond and then walk up the hill keeping the cliff band on the left side of you. Walk for approximately 20 minutes along the side-hill (gradually gaining elevation), at which time you will be able to see the Juno Wall above the lower cliff band that you have been following. There is only one way through the lower cliff band that takes you up to the higher cliff band, where the Juno Wall resides. There are a few trees that signify the weakness in the lower cliff band – to gain the upper wall you need to scramble a few moves on limestone (10 feet) until the steep lightly vegetated upper wall is gained. There is an easily recognizable solitary spruce tree that sits at the very bottom of the left hand centre of the wall. It makes a good reference point for route identification. The entire approach takes no more than 40 minutes.
When walking back to the vehicle at the end of the day, it is suggested that you descend the alternate approach route, as the walking is more pleasant. To descend simply walk north along the bottom of the cliff until the cliff band peters out, and you can scramble up to the ridge top (exposed 4th class). There are a couple of wire ropes installed for safety that can be used as handholds or clipped into. From the ridge top, simply walk back to the highway trending right at the end of the ridge to get off the rock cut. The next time you climb at the Juno wall, approach using this descent.
For the more adventurous, the easier approach to the Juno wall is as follows – from the pullout walk to the left side of the rock cut on the other side of the highway. Walk up the well worn sheep path that gets you to the top of the rock cut – from there simply walk west up to the ridge and then follow the ridge up (south). The walking is initially fairly steep, but this is over in about 15 minutes. From here the ridge levels off and you continue following it for about another 10-15 minutes. Then ridge starts to get steep again – move up the ridge for another 200 metres until you come to two small (10 ft.) spruce trees growing side by side (very identifiable feature), which has a stone cairn at the bottom of the trees. From here contour into the cliff (which is on your right) following the stone cairns. In about 50 metres from the trees you will come to a section of exposed scrambling. There is wire rope installed to help for handholds and to clip into if so desired. Scramble slightly down and to the south until easy ground is gained (about 15 metres of easy scrambling). From here you will see the Juno wall.
The very fun "Quarry Hart", a long 5.9 at the Juno Wall
The following link provides a topo for the Juno Wall
. The routes are described from left to right:
1. Bird on a Wire 5.10d***
(10 bolts, 18 metres) – This is a slabby climb up the beautiful grey limestone face. Side-pulls and high-steps are the key. (G.Cutforth, A.Jones)
2. Cuts like a knife 5.10c**
(14 bolts, 30 metres) – This climb starts out with fun 10a climbing, and then steepens for the last 10 metres. The crux is pulling the bulge at the bottom of the steep wall - the clip is a bit tricky but can be done in a non-desparate fashion with correct body position. Beautiful crack moves await you at the top. Named for the amount of blood spilled on the first ascent. (G.Cutforth, A.Jones)
3. Constant Craving 5.10d**
(14 bolts, 30 metres) – This climb is located immediately to the left of the spruce tree that splits the cliff. There is only one difficult section on this climb, but it’s right at the bottom (first two bolts), afterwards it’s all mid 5.10 climbing. (G.Cutforth, A.Jones)
4. American Woman 5.11c/d***
(14 bolts, 30 metres) – This climb is located immediately right of the big spruce tree. The crux is in the first 4 bolts and quite hard – the rest is enjoyable 5.10 climbing. The crux is well protected, but fairly tricky. (A.Jones, G.Cutforth)
5. Switch’in to Glide 5.11b***
(14 bolts, 30 metres) – An improbably looking line up the steep limestone face. There are two crux’s, one to gain the large sloping ledge near the bottom and one to move off the obvious small right facing corner, near the middle. If you can do these, you can do the steep, but loose, finish at the top. (A.Jones, G.Cutforth)
6. Armageddon 5.11a****
(14 bolts, 30 metres) – A great climb with a couple of fun well protected crux’s. (A.Jones, G.Cutforth)
7. Prism 5.10b***
(12 bolts, 27 metres) – An awkward start leads to a cruxy move through a steep section. One more tough move near the top gets you to the anchors. It shares anchors with “Helix”. (A.Jones, G.Cutforth)
8. Helix 5.10d****
(12 bolts – 27 metres) – A beautiful climb up overlapping grey limestone with two distinct and challenging crux’s. It shares anchors with “Prism”. The anchors are set a bit too far back, so lowering is a pain. (A.Jones, G.Cutforth)
9. Jagged Little Thrill 5.10b***
(13 bolts, 27 metres) – A good climb with three steep sections that constitute the crux. Feel around – there’s good holds, you just need to find them. (A.Jones, G.Cutforth)
10. Turn me Loose 5.10a**
(12 bolts 27 metres) – The first climb at the Juno Wall (hence the name). There's a crux at the beginning and at the top. This is a good climb to become accustomed to the rock and climbing at the wall. (G.Cutforth, A.Jones)
11. Quarry Hart 5.9***
(12 bolts, 27 metres) – This climb is a little easier than “Turn me Loose” but probably deserves the same grade. Fun climbing. (A.Jones, G.Cutforth)
12. April Whine 5.10a**
(13 bolts, 27 metres) – A fun moderate climb similar to Quarry Hart. One steeper section in the middle of the climb constitutes the crux. (G.Cutforth, A.Jones)
13. Red Rider 5.10c/5.10d
(2 pitches – 1st pitch 5.10c
****, 11 bolts, 18 metres; 2nd pitch 5.10 c/d
****, 10 bolts, 15 metres) – An awesome line, through the overhanging red headwall. The first pitch is well worth doing on its own; it has a very bouldery start (hard 5.11 if you're less than 6 feet tall), and then moves up the steep perfect limestone on side-pulls. If you can’t do the start, pull on a draw; the rest of the climb is worth it. The second pitch is steep! Move up starting on poor handholds trending right. About half way up jugs can be found, but do you have the energy to hold them? (A.Jones, G.Cutforth)
14. Road Apples 5.11a
(2 pitches – 1st pitch 5.11* (one move), 9 bolts, 18 metres, 2nd pitch 5.11a**, 10 bolts, 20 metres) – Another nice line through the headwall, but not quite as steep as “Red Rider”. The first pitch has a hard boulder start made harder by a starting hold that broke off in 2008 - I installed a new bolt that can be clipped from the ground and protects the one hard move (11ish). If you can't do the move, pull on the draw. The second pitch tackles the headwall through its major weakness, and is a fun challenging climb. (A.Jones, G.Cutforth)
The ultra-classic second pitch of "Red Rider" (5.10d)
15. Tom Sawyer 5.9/5.11b
(2 pitches – 1st pitch 5.9***, 9 bolts, 19 metres; 2nd pitch 5.11b***, 9 bolts, 16 metres) – The first pitch is a fun moderate climb with only one cruxy section – a well protected move getting past the first bolt. The rest is a pleasant 5.7 romp on perfect limestone. The second pitch is a gently overhanging line, starting off on red limestone, transitioning to perfect grey rock. A burly pitch. (A.Jones, G.Cutforth, G.Helgeson)
16. Arcade Fire 5.10c/5.10d
(2 pitches – 1st pitch 5.10c**, 8 bolts, 19 metres; 2nd pitch 5.10d****, 8 bolts, 15 metres) – The first pitch is harder than it first appears – with a nice sequence to move past the first 3 bolts; one steeper section 2/3 of the way up is also fun. The 2nd pitch is stellar – it ascends perfect limestone with beautiful crimpers and side-pulls. The crux is at the very top, as it is on all good climbs. (G.Cutforth, A.Jones).
17. Bleeding Heart Show 5.8**
- One of the easier routes on the wall and a fun introduction to climbing at the Juno Wall. (G. Cutforth)
There are five additional routes which start about 25 metres to the left of "Bird on a Wire" and were put up in 2009 and 2010. Described from right to left, they are:
18. Rural Alberta Advantage 5.10a****
- This is the first climb to the left of "Bird on a Wire". This climb is destined to become a classic. It has two cruxes; one near the bottom and one near the top. High steps and footwork are the key. (G. Cutforth, A. Jones)
19. Black Velvet 5.11b****
- While this climb may look like a slab from 10 metres away - from the bottom of the climb, it's dead vertical. There is a tricky thin move to get you started - this move is protected well by a fixed draw (please leave it here). From there, it's powerful moves on small crimps for the next 10 metres - solid 5.11 climbing. After you've mastered this, the top half is a 5.8 romp. (A. Jones, G. Cutforth)
20. Snakes & Arrows 5.10d**
- There are some hard moves right off the ground and getting past the 2nd bolt - the climb eases off after you've passed the third bolt. (A. Jones, G. Helgeson)
21. Trailer Park Life 5.9**
- A fun warm up route whose crux is getting off the ground - good moves on nice rock (A. Jones, L. Jones)
22. Cadillac Dust 5.8*** - This route starts just on the right side of an obvious rock fall scar (and to the left of "Trailer Park Boys"). It ascends beautiful limestone and even has a bit of a crack to follow for a ways. The route currently is not shown on the topo. (G. Cutforth, A. Jones)
23. She's Come Undone 5.10a
- The furthest route to the left at the Juno Wall. A nice climb whose crux comes about half way up at an obvious steep section. The climb goes to the left of the bolt at the crux. (N. Threinen, A. Jones)