Mount Cline is one of the coveted 54 11,000’+ summits
in the Canadian Rockies
. Its main claim to fame amongst this group is that it is one of if not the driest of all mountains at this height
being located well east of the Continental Divide
between the Saskatchewan and Cline rivers just outside of Banff National Park.
Famed Canadian Rockies mountaineer Rudolph Aemmer
and outfitter Jimmy Simpson made the first ascent via the Southwest Ridge (II, 5.4),
the most common route today, in 1927
. In 1981 Orvel Miskiw and Bruce Hart established the North Ridge, III, WI 2, 5.3. In 2006
, Torran and Tim Elson along with J. Mills established a much more challenging route on the East Face, IV, 5.10b.
Mount Cline was named after a Jasper postmaster/fur trader.
For me and others, Mount Cline’s main attraction could be its bivy site below the final approach for its southwest ridge route
. Although I could have climbed this mountain in a push from car to car with a light pack, which would be my typical choice, I coveted the opportunity to enjoy a night at the north end of several beautiful small tarns hemmed in by slab thrusts on both sides. Although Bill Corbett’s guide book references a 4-5 hour approach to this bivy, I made it in 2:45. However, I did chose to solo the mountain without any technical gear whatsoever, no alpine ax, no crampons, no rope nor harness. Just boots, poles, a bivy sack and some food. I saw one grizzly track the size of my hand just below the bivy site, so there are bears in the area (2011).
Total elevation gain from the parking area for all routes will involve over 6000’
Route Description (s)Southwest Ridge- II, 5.4/ Along the way, you will come across the crux of the climb, two back to back narrow notches that must both be down climbed and ascended up the other side, rated at 5.4 and even higher on some guides websites. I felt 5.4 was more than adequate. The rock was solid going and coming in my opinion. Many make a big deal about the exposure of these notches but I felt it was no more than I have seen on the more difficult scrambles in the Canadian Rockies. There was a fixed rap station at the first notch and only a single piton at the far side of the second notch in 2011 although decent features exist to sling for whatever system you desire to set up. It took me a few minutes to solo both notches both directions and both were completely dry in August, 2011.
North Ridge- III, WI 2, 5.3/
East Face- IV, 5.10b/
When to Climb
As before mentioned, Mount Cline is well east of the Continental divide and one of the drier 11000’+ objectives in the Canadian Rockies typically giving it a decent sized climbing season from July through September. All routes will be somewhat dependent on how much rime and/or verglas is on the rock.
External Links100’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
Best Eats in Canmore: Iron Goat
, tons of organic/free range fare, my favorite is the game meat loaf. As good as prices as anywhere really and the staff is made up of a few aspiring climbers. The main man works his heart out making everything run smooth, not a given in Canmore. Best dining views (and sunny outdoor seating) in town bar none, from Mount Lougheed to Mount Rundle traverses, two of my trademark beta contributions near the town of Canmore. True best of the best mountain local dining experience.
Best Eats in Banff: The Bison
, all organic/free range fare, with a detailed description of their suppliers. Recently expanded (2010), I recommend sticking with the downstairs. Better menu, prices and social ambience. Maybe retire to the bar upstairs for sunset or late night. Bison chili is amazing!
Best Coffee in Canmore: Beamers
, the locals favorite, super wholesome lunch stuff, local guys, no attitude on service
Best Climbers Hangout: Summit Café
, most likely place to find me or my brethren shooting the bull about beta. Best breakfast place in town, good coffee as well, serve Mennonite meats from Valbella
, which is the best place to buy free range products anywhere in the world, right here in Canmore.
All way too expensive in the Bow Valley, but if you must, Mountain Magic
in Banff is far superior to service and actual knowledge about climbing than the two in Canmore.