There is no question that Bataan offers the most challenging and best rock for sport climbing in the Bow Valley. What keeps it peaceful and quiet (five of us had it to ourselves on a warm Saturday) besides the stiffness of the routes, is the 2500’+ gain necessary to get to the start of these sport walls.
Bataan was named after the infamous death march during WWII, although the one to one and a half hour hike up the mountain is not quite as an extreme experience. I can assure you, the hike is well worth it for this sport climbing crag.
Flesh Gordon, 5.10a
The 80+ established sport routes on Bataan (2007) face southeast and southwest and get the full range of the sun during the summer months. Most of these pitches feature a full 30m of climbing. Many projects and thus development of the crag continue.
Bataan is a prominent “L shaped” featured wall that can be discernable from the south looking up at Grotto Mountain
just to the west of Jughaul Wall
and Grotto Crack and west of the prominent quarry scar that runs along the foot of the mountain. All of these features can be easily viewed from the TransCanada (or my home for that matter).
Sweet Hereafter is the second wall you come to on Bataan.
This is the next wall up from First Cave
. Sweet Hereafter is sort of perpendicular to First Cave. It faces more south than east. This wall is extremely textured (read sharp) limestone.
The routes start left to right at where a trail ends at the base of the wall to its left and runs right to the obvious Dirty Book crag/corner
. There are ten published routes in John Martin’s “Sport Climbs in the Canadian Rockies”, 5th edition. In 2007, there was at least one other route/project on Sweet Hereafter wall.
Route Description(s)Routes are Listed Left to Right
Dirty Book, 5.10a
- Fingers in a Blender- 5.10a/ My fingers felt like they were in a blender by the time we got up to the Sweet Hereafter wall which is the next one up from First Cave. The first route to the left is Fingers in a Blender. This is a totally sustained 30m pitch. Getting off the ground on route proper without a stick clip is quite cruxy. You can cheat up left if you would rather. This route requires a lot of bending and twisting through smallish problems on very hard and textured, somewhat sharp, limestone, thus the name of the route. 10 bolts to anchor and you will need a 60m rope to rap. I recommend this one. (photos)
- Jaws- 5.10b/
- Fresco- 5.11c/
- Too Little, Too Late- 5.12a/
- Culture of Fear- 5.12a/
- Fear of the Hereafter- 5.11c/
- Sweet Hereafter- 5.12a/
- With or Without You- 5.12b/
- Faraway, So Close- 5.11d/
- Filth and the Fury- 5.11d/
Getting ThereFrom Canmore, follow 1A east from the Alpine Club road for several kms looking for a pull out (old gravel pit) on the left below some power lines. Climb up the bank to the right on a faint trail that hooks into a main benchland horse trail running East-West. Turn left and follow this trail for approximately 250’ to a marked sign, turn right and follow this trail north until you reach a prominent forked tree, turn right on a trail here and follow its switchbacks up a grassy slope to a flat reclaimed quarry area above. Cross this flat gravel area aiming for two large cairns (2007) to the north. Pick up a steep trail that starts to ascend aggressively up Grotto Mountain’s south flank to Bataan. Once you reach a rotten cave on the left, you will have found the first routes on Bataan (“The First Cave”). Different sections of routes continue up the hill for quite a distance via separate limestone walls.
- Kananaskis Provincial Park
- Alpine Club of Canada
- Alpine Accidents in Canada
- DowClimbing.Com Bataan/Grotto Mountain
- Environment Canada