Yamnuska Traverse

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 51.12206°N / 115.11887°W
Additional Information Route Type: Scrambling
Seasons Season: Summer, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Easy scramble with one short difficult section
Sign the Climber's Log


This is a good morning or afternoon outing. If you move quickly this can be completed in under 4 hours. Slower paced individuals or those who like to stop a lot on the trail are looking at 5-7 hours. The route is easy to follow if conditions are good. There is a well beaten track so it is hard to get lost. Should there be snow route finding is more difficult. Yamnuska escapes some of the weather that can affect the Canmore or Banff areas so it is a good choice when other areas are under bad conditions.

The mountain is sacred to the local Indians and is a power place. It is hard not to pick up on this when in this area. My friends and I have felt something in the air when camping in the vacinity. Camping is however no longer permitted.

Getting There

From Calgary take the Trans-Canada Highway. Take the Seebe exit and head west on 1X till you meet the 1A. Turn right, then after about 1.5 kms. The take a dirt road on your left.

Otherwise from Calgary take the Crowfoot 1A route all the way from town through Cochrane. When Yamnuska is in view watch for a Yamnuska sign and turn right into the large parking area with a newly built washroom.

Follow the trail marker at the end of the parking lot. at one point you will meet a fork. Left is the climbers route to the base of the wall. This is faster and more direct but steeper with some loose scree in sections. When you get to the base of the wall you have the choice of heading to the west or east ends of the face. Most people head for the east end and do it east-west. It is supposed to be easier. I don't see much difference once you get onto the mountain itself. But the descent down the screen slopes as you come out the west end is fast and easy. It is also fun. So I would recommend east to west.

At the fork if you follow the hikers trail to the right you will find the way more gentle and gradual. It just takes longer. It will take you directly east to west.

Route Description

This is an easy scramble. You are moving along a trail mostly. Once you come out of the trees at the east end you will have to scramble through a small notch and you will then find yourself behind Yamnuska. Here you will wind your way up the many fingers of trails to the ridge line. Enjoy the views of the prairies to the east as you move along to the ridge. Move up and down and around each small summit till you will reach a short section you must traverse to continue to the actual summit. There is a small exposed ledge that you must move along of about 50 feet. A slip here would be nasty. A cable had been put in place here to aid you on your way. This makes this section more easy. Once you get past this you make your way up to the obvious summit. Sign the register have a snack and then head straight down and around the west side to the front of the wall and along till you reach the scree section you can just bust down through. Then follow the trail back to the parking lot.

Essential Gear

A good pair of trail shoes. A pair of gaitors are also useful especially for the return down the scree slope. A pack with water, snacks, a fleese and wind shell or rain jacket, hat and fleese gloves for backup should the weather change.

Trekking polls, sunglasses, sun screen.

External Links

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