Lower Narrows, 5.6-5.12b

Page Type
Mountain/Rock
Location:
Alberta, Canada, North America
Activities:
Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Season:
Summer
Elevation:
5000 ft / 1524 m
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Lower Narrows, 5.6-5.12b
Created On: Dec 12, 2006
Last Edited On: Feb 25, 2013

Overview/Approach

Xanadu, 5.10a

Lower Narrows is probably only 2nd to Hemmingway Wall in terms of popularity of the walls in Grotto Canyon. Therefore, many of its routes are quite polished. Lower Narrows has one of the longer sport/trad mixed routes in Grotto Canyon, West Coast Idea-5.10c. At 35 meters, it requires two ropes for the rappel and gear to 3”. Definitely one of the more unique routes of the 250 to choose from. It is to the far right hand side of the Lower Narrows wall as the canyon starts to head north again. The Lower Narrows is across from the Upper Narrows which also features some long routes requiring two ropes.
Mendocino, 5.11a

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. Hemingway 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 into Lower Narrows. A right turn here goes to Grotto Falls, home of several ice climbing routes in the winter.

Route Description(s)

Routes Listed Left to Right

Bogus- 5.10d/ Very short route (thus the name) with one bolt.
Mighty Mark- 5.12b/ Two bolts to anchor.
Mighty Mite- 5.12a/ Two bolts to anchor.
The Minden- 5.9/ gear to 2” with 3 bolts to anchor
Unknown- 5.6
Xanadu- 5.10a/ Three bolts to roof and then 5 more to anchor, 22m rap (nice route).
Stormy Weather- 5.11a/ Two bolts and then gear to #3 cam.
Blik- 5.10b/ Shared start with West Coast Idea up corner and then split off on 3 bolts to anchor on the left.
West Coast Idea- 5.10c/ 3 bolts and gear to anchor, longest route of Lower Narrows, 35 m rap.
Moonabago- 5.10b
Mendocino- 5.11a/ (photo) 5 bolts to shared anchor with Malibu and Monterey
Malibu- 5.10c
Monterey- 5.10a
Baker Street- 5.10d/ 1 bolt short route
Dr Watson- 5.9/ same as Baker Street, same anchor as well
Lost World- 5.10a
Hollow Earth- 5.9
Moriarty- 5.9

Essential Gear

The routes at Lower Narrows rappel with a single 60 meter rope except for West Coast Idea, 5.10c, which is worth doing, so you might consider bringing double ropes if Lower Narrows is your destination. West Coast also requires gear up to 3” as do several of the other routes at Lower Narrows. Lower Narrows is a neat scenic corner in the steep section of the canyon to hang out on a warm day. 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.

External Links

  • DowClimbing.Com- Grotto Canyon

  • Canadian Alpine Accident Reports are also extremely helpful and feature no less than 5 accident reports (2006) regarding Grotto Canyon.

  • Kananaskis Provincial Park








  • Lower Narrows, 5.6-5.12b

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    Grotto Canyon Rock ClimbsMountains & Rocks