Tower of Babel Scramble

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Alberta, Canada, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Half a day
Easy Scramble

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Tower of Babel Scramble
Created On: Jun 18, 2005
Last Edited On: Aug 2, 2010


Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel was named such by Walter Wilcox as it reminded him of the biblical rendition that reached into the heavens. In reality, this is not such a massive feature by Canadian Rocky standards. This quartzite spire is however much better known than the mountain named after it, Mount Babel, which is directly behind (south) the tower. Its easy access via Moraine Lake Road makes it a common objective for both technical climbers and scramblers. The scramble route is straightforward and three rock routes on the north side of the tower are no more than six pitches in length and are around 5.7. (McKay Route, Greenwood Route and Fuhrmann Route). The scramble can obviously be used for descent of these north face routes. The East Face route of Mount Babel itself is a much more viable challenge, rated at Alpine IV 5.10 A1 or a strenuous free climb at 5.11.
A cold wintery June day in...

The Tower of Babel is located over Moraine Lake, which is part of the Lake Louise portion of Banff National Park, one of four connecting national parks in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. The approach trail (Consolation Lake Trail) to the Tower of Babel is a commonly used trail among the tourists who are delivered in mass by bus to the Lake Moraine Lodge.

This is a 1500'+/- ascent day. The scramble route up Tower of Babel is a pleasant enough route if done in marginal weather to avoid other climbers and hikers. It is so short of a route, it really just serves the purpose of a rest day (for most) in the Canadian Rockies.

Take the Consolation Lake Trail from the Moraine Lake parking lot (near the washrooms by Moraine Lake's outlet). This trail normally has a bear restriction of six people minimum. Follow this trial for approximately 1 km. Tower of Babel will clearly come into view on your right side.

Route Description

Tower of Babel

Proceed up the large scree on your right aiming for the narrow gully on Tower of Babel's right side. Staying right on the larger scree works better for ascent. Once into the gully, stay right, in and out of ledges to avoid rock fall hazard from the upper gully and Babel's west wall. Ascend through the gully and out onto the ridge that leads left to the broad summit plateau. The summit consists of large, lichen-covered separated blocks of quartzite. It also has an assortment of summit cairns, including a full living room set when we were there in 2005. Even though I did this route in weather, I could still make out Mt. Bident, the Quadra Glacier and Consolation Lakes to the southeast. I could hear Mt. Fay unloading her typical ice and rock directly to the south. Return the same, this time venture out into the gully further to take advantage of a fast glissade on snow and/or scree.

Essential Gear

Helmet, Gaiters, Alpine Ax in Winter Conditions or Poles for the Summer.

Tower of Babel Scramble

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