Watchtower Creek

Page Type: Mountain/Rock
County: Canada
Activities: Sport Climbing
Season: Summer


The Watchtower is located in the Maligne Valley and offers some incredible sport climbing in the canyon like walls of Watchtower Creek. The majority of climbs are in the 5.12 range but there are also some excellent 5.10's and 5.11's. The crag has six seperate walls scattered on both sides along the creek. All climbs are equiped with rappel anchors. The climbs are no more than 30 meters high. Some walls are hard to access in early season when the creek is high. This crag has been fairly recently developed and some climbs may be a little dusty and prickly , not loose. The Upper Tier has a good mix of 5.10's and 5.11's and is the best place to climb when the water is high. Kiss The Sky Wall and Voodoo Lounge are predominately 5.12 climbs and the noise of the creek can be overhwhelming in high water. Don't let this deter you from climbing the masterpieces here though. Finnito Land presently has only one climb. To get there, it can be rather difficult crossing the creek in high water and the trail is only vague at best. The most recent addition's are the Hip Wader Wall, which will eventually yield a few cool climbs, and Azlan Wall, which is the first wall you come to after crossing the big log over the creek. There's room for a few short moderate climbs here and it gets great afternoon sun.

Getting There

To get to the Maligne Valley, follow Highway 16 east from Jasper to the Maligne Lake Road turnoff, where the signs read Maligne Canyon/Maligne Lake 2.8 km from Jasper. Turn right, drive over the Moberly Bridge and take the left fork immediately after the bridge. Follow this road and pass the sign that reads Watchtower and continue to the Medicine Lake boat launch/parking lot at the northwest end of Medicine Lake, 22.8 km from Jasper. From the parking lot, take a faint trail on the southeast end of the lot and follow it into the open along the lake shore. Eventually enter the forest along the shore and follow a good game trail until breaking out into the open again. Follow the rocky shore to the Watchtower Creek, an old barge marks the spot where the trail heads up into the trees and up the creek. It should take approximately 35-40 minutes to get to the Voodoo Lounge. Once in the trees, the trail will lead you to a log crossing over the creek. Be careful, it's extremely slippery when wet. Make sure to take in the views. Please stay on marked trails as much as possible so we conserve the beauty of this place.

Red Tape

PLEASE READ :The Medincine Lake area is not only magestic but also a very environmentally sensitive area. It is the home for many animals and much respect must be taken if choosing to visit this area. In the Spring and early Summer wolves den in the area, so please leave your dog at home and don’t go looking for the den. Please be respectful of any closures that may exist.


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External Links

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The Routes


Azlan 5.11- 4 bolts
David Marra, Claire MacDonald, Sean Elliott, 2006
Climbs obvious crack feature to a thin, sequency crux. Don't be afraid to wander a bit.


Finnito 5.11a/b 11 bolts
Aaron Pellerin and Greg Tos, 2003
Classic long line broken by distinctive ledge. Second half better than the first.


Grand Slam Special 5.11a/b 6 bolts
Trent and Shelley Hoover, 2003
Directly below the climbs Empathetic and Seam Stress on the Upper Tier. A tricky start leads to juggy, fun climbing. Save some energy for the cruxy finish!


Sweet Voodoo 5.11b 9 bolts
Aaron Pellerin and Greg Tos, 2003
Balancy voodoo like moves all the way to the anchor.

Airway To Heaven 5.12a 6 bolts
Sean Elliott, 2003
Full body climbing with a crack climbing-esque crux. The first bolt is a ways, have your belayer spot you or use a stick clip.

Day Bed 5.12a/b 7 bolts
Sean Elliott and Shawn Van Asten, 2003
Get creative at the crux, cause its hard. May be height dependant, may be not.


Empathetic 5.10b 7 bolts
Mike Cummings and Aaron Pellerin, 2002
Enjoyable and awkward climbing leads to intimidating traverse at the last bolt. Currently shares an anchor with Seam Stress, an independant station may be added at some point.

Seam Stress 5.11a 7 bolts
Mike Cummings and Aaron Pellerin, 2002
Don't stress if it seams to be getting harder, its well worth it.

Sumsar 5.10c
Garth Lemke and Rick Gould, 2003
Named after a busy summer of rescues and fires in Jasper. Easy climbing up the ledgy rock to the obvious crux above. Heads up, the rock around here is quite fractured.

Moose Is Loose 5.9 7 bolts
Olga, Monica, and Greg Tos, 2003
Great moves, great holds, very sustained. Crux at the top.

The Snivilar 5.10a/b Gear
Bruno Tassone and Chris Bovard, 2003
Follows a thin crack/seam to a small ledge and station. A few meters left of Like A Stone.

Like A Stone 5.10c/d 5 bolts
Sean Elliott, Brent Czobitko, and Garth Lemke, 2003
Shares first bolt wih Tin Man. Step left after the first clip. The only crux is figuring out which of the many holds to use. A real stumper!

Tin Man 5.11c 7 bolts
Greg Tos, Irene Tos, and Bruno Tassone, 2003
More limestone weirdness. Couple of ways to get through the hard section. A little pumpy. Shares anchor with Infectious Groove.

Infectious Groove 5.12c/d 6 bolts
Greg Tos and Aaron Pellerin, 2003
Infectious bouldery moves all the way to the anchor.

Mojo 5.12b 9 bolts
Mike Cummings and Aaron Pellerin, 2002
Classic Watchtower route. Sustained climbing on great rock.

Hot Carl 5.10b 8 bolts
Climbed on gear by Carl Diehl, 2004. Retro-bolted by Sean Elliott, Dana Ruddy, 2005. Carl made a bold ascent of this line in a drizzle, with bad gear and questionable rock. This ascent was honored by bolting, cleaning, and renaming the line. What assholes...Climbs the overlaps into the left facing corner, a fun climb.

Married With Children 5.10a/b 6 bolts
Steve Stanko and Chris Bovard, 2003
Fun varied moves make for a good warm up. Last bolted route on the far right of the Upper Tier(for now). Seeps in the spring.


Left of Kiss The Sky Wall

The following two routes pose a problem in high water. It's difficult to not get wet here, so save them for low water or the last climb of the day.

Schooner 5.11b 8 bolts
Lloyd King and Greg Tos, 2003
First route on the far left of Kiss The Sky Wall. Super moves up a beautiful feature to a technical and commiting crux.

Pirate 5.12b 10 bolts
Sean Elliott, Greg Tos, and Lloyd King, 2003
Start as per Schooner and move right and up at the second bolt. Move back left and finish on Schooner. This climb actually has a small tufa, cool.

Pharaoh 5.12d 9 bolts
Aaron Pellerin and Greg Tos, 2003
Complex cruxes seperated by good rests. Very pumpy and beta-full.

Kazathon 5.12c 9 bolts
Aaron Pellerin, Kaz Tos, and Greg Tos, 2003
Move up and slightly left following the left leaning crack. Finish as per Pharaoh. Great fun climbing through two technical cruxes. Keeps you honest all the way to the anchors.

Summer Rain/Station To Station 5.10c/5.11c 11 bolts
Sean Elliott and Dana Ruddy, 2005
Climb a vague open book/layback feature to a station below a roof. This is Summer Rain, five bolts. Station To Station climbs through the roof with a sequency crux and hard to find holds. Another tricky section gets you to the station.

Bailey's 5.12b 5 bolts
Aaron Pellerin and Greg Tos, 2003
First pitch to Bailey's On Rocks. Rock is amazing and so are the moves.

Bailey's On Rocks 5.13b 9 bolts
Aaron Pellerin and Greg Tos, 2003
Jugs to start lead you to openhanded steep terrain. Very powerful and technical sequence through the roof. A must do for those who can.

Purple Hazing 5.13a 10 bolts
Aaron Pellerin, Mike Cummings, and Greg Tos, 2003
Amazing line with no move harder than mid 5.12, sustained climbing keeps you busy to the anchors.

To Infinity 5.12a 7 bolts
Aaron Pellerin and Greg Tos, 2003
First pitch of To Infinity & Beyond. Funky moves on great holds, pure fun!

To Infinity & Beyond 5.13-ish, open project 9 bolts
Aaron Pellerin and Greg Tos, 2003
Bouldery two bolts and anchor beyond Infinity.

Kiss The Sky 5.12c/d 7 bolts
Aaron Pellerin, Mike Cummings, and Greg Tos, 2002
Start on left leaning face, clip 3rd bolt shared with To Infinity and continue left. Head straight up at the 6th bolt to finish as per Purple Hazing. First route at the Watchtower. Funky moves up an obvious ramp lead to an exiting finish. Classic!

The Meat Show 5.12a/b 6 bolts.
Trent and Shelley Hoover, 2003
Steep and pumpy climbing with a technical finish. Start up right side of open book, boulder through the steep overhang onto the arete, and head up. Shares anchor with Cue The Masses.

Cue The Masses 5.10c 7 bolts
Aaron and Yvonne Pellerin and Irene Tos, 2003
Shares anchors with The Meat Show. This very striking dihedral will question your commitment until you see the anchor. Esthetic moves. A very technical route that is a must to climb!

Paul Valiulis Memorial 5.12a 9 bolts
Dana Ruddy, 2005
Climb just right of an overhanging fin. Cruxy moves to surmount this bulge. Interesting and technical climbing on not so steep ground above. An excellent route that our late friend Paul fought hard to onsight.

Wet Sundays 5.10d 9 bolts
Sean Handerek, Sean Elliott, 2010
Just right of P.V.M. Climb up and left through a break in the big roof, great moves! A more technical finish.

To the right of Paul Valiulis Memorial the terrace flattens out and becomes a narrow ledge just past an obvious right facing corner. This corner has been climbed by Dana Ruddy and reportedly takes good gear, has a station and is easy 5.10. A few meters to the right is the following climb.

Power To The People 5.11a 7 bolts
Dana Ruddy and Sean Elliott, 2005
Right of the obvious right facing corner. Surmount a small roof and up on balancy grey rock. There is a belay bolt at the base.

Further to the right the ledge gets narrower. The next two climbs start from a nice ledge with a two bolt belay station. This is a far as you can walk along this ledge comfortably.

Lil' Chimp 5.10b/c 6 bolts
Adriane Williams and Sean Elliott, 2009
Trend up and right over a roof and into a right facing corner. A station is below the obvious roof.

See a Man About a Gorilla 5.11b/c 7 bolts
Adriane Williams and Sean Elliott, 2009
Shares the first two bolts with Lil' Chimp then continues out right and up a challenging face. Station is above and right of large roof.

If you look far to the right you can see Finnito Land and its possible to rappel from the ledge and access that climb as a alternate to crossing the creek when the water is high. There is some nice potential for new routes here.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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bighorn - Sep 6, 2008 1:17 pm - Hasn't voted

infinity and beyond

The route "Infinity and Beyond" has been done in 2005 and goes at 13b

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