Sunburst and Snowblind, 5.9+, 3 Pitches

Sunburst and Snowblind, 5.9+, 3 Pitches

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 51.49995°N / 116.47802°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.9 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 3
Sign the Climber's Log


Mountain Goats

Takakkaw Falls is the second tallest waterfall in Western Canada (1260’). One of the more interesting easy trad routes in all of Canada is the Takakkaw Falls route itself, a 12 pitch 5.6 route established in 1966 that includes a 60m horizontal tunnel on its second to last pitch. To the left of this classic route are a couple of rather obscure and much shorter moderate climbs (5.9+) put in considerably later by Karl Krause (1993). Neither climb is overly exciting, but combining the two for a short day out in a spectacular setting makes the trip worthwhile. We ran into mountain goats at the base of the falls on this particular trip.
Takakkaw Falls
View En Route

Tabvar has Sunburst and Snowblind labeled as a four pitch route, although in reality it is just a three pitch route with a move of the first belay along a ledge which someone decided to count as a pitch of climbing. Both Krause routes share the same first pitch. You run up a chossy left facing corner and traverse past some bolts out right to a decent looking left facing corner/roof pitch (Suspended in Gaffa). Whether you climb Suspended first, rap and do Snowblind or just want to head for Snowblind, move further right along the ledge down a bit then up a bit of 5th class to tie into a fixed belay below Sunburst and Snowblind. This 2nd pitch of Sunburst is the best of either route. Follow a mostly bolted pitch as it wanders up left and then make a few crux moves of the day by traversing back right and up steep ground to a slab finish. The third pitch has one exciting bulge pull up into a chossy corner that is also rated 5.9+ at Tabvar.

To reach the falls from the East, follow the Trans-Canada Highway for 23 km west of Lake Louise until Yoho Valley Road. The Trans-Canada Highway splits the park in half. Heading west on the Trans-Canada, as you approach the only town in the park, Field, BC, you will see a sign for the Yoho Valley Road. Follow this road for 13 km to the Takakkaw Falls parking lot. When accessing from the west, drive 3.7 km west of Field on the Trans-Canada Highway and turn left on Yoho Valley Road. A short well developed hiking trail leads to the base of the falls. From there ascend the larger scree to the left of the falls to the base of the wall. Follow the wall left up to the very top of the scree slope. When it flattens out, continue a short distance to locate an easy left facing corner. If you step back, you should be able to locate three bolts above and right of this corner which are part of the first pitch.

Route Description (s)

145 Meters, 3 Pitches, 5.9+

1st Pitch- 50m- 5.4/ Scramble up the loose corner and traverse right. Follow three bolts up and right. Locate the fixed station below the decent left facing corner with some blocks above. There is another fixed station about 10m right which is the start of Sunburst and Snowblind.

2nd Pitch- 50m- 5.9+/ This was the best pitch of the two short routes this side of Takakkaw Falls. This pitch is also heavily bolted. Follow approximately five bolts up shallow corners above the belay. Move left through an overhung area and traverse back right (crux) across several bolts on steep sustained climbing and finish up a three bolt slab to a fixed belay.

3rd Pitch- 45m- 5.9+/ Move up and right on easier ground. Angle back left and up to below a chossy right facing corner/overhang. Clip a bolt and make the crux move of the pitch by pulling up into the chossy corner. Continue up to a fixed station.

Climbing Sequence


Make a double rope rap down the third and second pitches and one final double rope rap from there straight to the ground without traversing back to the first pitch.

Essential Gear

Helmets advised on Takakkaw Falls wall as it is quite chossy. Double or twin ropes. The crux moves are fairly well bolted. I advise a small single rack. Take a combination of draws and slings. Take your camera, we got fantastic close up shots of mountain goats on descent and the waterfall usually makes a rainbow at the base on sunny days as well. In our case, the mountain goats actually walked through the rainbow.

External Links

Banff Rock Climbs

Environment Canada Weather

Yoho National Park trail conditions or closures, wildlife notices/closures, weather conditions, camping permits, etc.

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