T Bam Crack - 5.9, 30 m (1 pitch)

T Bam Crack - 5.9, 30 m (1 pitch)

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 51.17333°N / 115.69458°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: Less than two hours
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.9 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 1
Additional Information Grade: I
Sign the Climber's Log


Guides Rock is a brilliant and beauty slab located on a low outlier of Mt. Cory. The crag provides a variety of short, moderate routes and selection of some of the best routes in the Bow Valley. Developed over the decades, with several test piece and ground breaking routes established over the years.

T Bam Crack is an alternate pitch on the popular route Aftonroe. Both Aftonroe and T Bam Crack were established by two local climbing guides, Mark Klassen and Todd Anthony-Malone in September 2011.

The rock on Aftonroe is primarily steep and very textured limestone slab. Unlikely most slab rock formations, much of this route has fantastic hand holds with deep incut holds with super positive grip. The pitch on T Bam Crack is mostly a moderately steep slab with a short corner, not really a crack. Overall interesting, but not exciting climbing. Very good protection from cams, unusual for most of the climbing on this slabby crag.

Getting There

Park on the Bow Valley Parkway, Highway 1A (now with restricted hours in the spring; March 1 - June 25 8 p.m. to 8 a.m) 3 km after leaving the TransCanada Highway (from eastern, Banff townsite, end of the Bow Valley Parkway).

Park on the left (south) side of the highway and take the obvious trail up to the buttress, about 200 metres of gain on a steep, but good trail, Aftonroe is on the far right end of the buttress, where trail ends. Approximately at 51.173329 , -115.694576

Route from highway
Guides Rock from the parking area

Route Description

The recent (2012) and excellent guidebook, Banff Rock, by Chris Perry provides great history, approaches, route beta and great topos for all the best rock climbing in southern Banff National Park.

Quote from guidebook for T Bam Crack:

T Bam Crack is a thin-hand to fist-sized crack to the right of pitch 3 of Aftonroe that can be top roped from that route or climbed using gear. The crack is steep and slightly off balance in places and starts off narrow, widening to fist size higher up. Gear to 3 inches is required with extra cams in the 0.5 to 1 inch range. The pitch is best reached from Aftonroe, although the start of the crack can be accessed via easy ground from the right.

I led up "For Sure" - 5.8+, 40m then to the fixed bolted anchor on the top of pitch 2 of Aftonroe, recommended if only climbing T Bam Crack. Brad led T Bam Crack on gear to the fixed bolted anchor on top of Aftonroe's pitch 3.

Anchor to anchor about 30 metres, T Bam Crack is slightly right of anchors, but an not issue. Access crack from bolts is a 5.8 traverse, no gear until at base of crack. We both climbed the route more as a left hand on the top of the slight corner, with palms or slight crimps for the right hand on main slab wall. More of an awkward short corner climb then a hand crack. Great cams places for most of the route; Brad placed 6 cams on the way up to the bolted anchor. Near the bottom and near the exit at the top, the corner bulges or bends and pushes you away from wall providing some strenuous moves, but all at or below 5.9.

Traverse to top of pitch 2
on Aftonroe
Brad leading up T Bam Crack Looking up pitch to Brad at anchor

Essential Gear

We climbed with a single 70 metre rope. Used 10 quickdraws on "For Sure" to approach T Bam Crack. T Bam Crack is best protected with cams. A selection of mid to large cams works well, mostly 0.75 to 2.

Belay/rappel device and helmet is a must, several of the ledge have loose pebbles and this is a popular and busy crag with exposure to rock fall from Aftonroe.

External Links

There was a great route description for Aftonroe at this blog linked below, but the site has become inactive.

Authur Waterson

Aftonroe - topo photo
route topo for Aftonroe, showing T Bam Crack Pitch

MEC - description of guidebook