Canada Alpine Guides - Mountaineering and Climbing in Alberta's Rocky Mountains


Box 40087
Canmore, AB
T1W 3H9

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Yamnuska Blog postings:
Grillmairs, 5.7
Grillmairs, 5.7 (winter)
West End, 5.6
CMC Wall, 5.11a
Forbidden Corner, 5.9
Pangolin, 5.10b
Pony Express, 5.10a
Rock Climb Mount Yamnuska with a certified climbing guide, located between Calgary and Canmore, Alberta. The impressive south face of Mt Yamnuska, a rock climbers dream!

Yamnuska is, and always has been, the centerpiece of multipitch rock climbing in the Canadian Rockies. It is here that some of the first technical climbs were done and standards have been pushed for decades. Everyone, climber or not, stares at this amazing cliff as they drive into the mountains from Calgary.

From a distance, the cliff looks like it would be virtually unclimbable, but from up close the trained eye can spot literally hundreds of potential lines to the summit. Over two hundred of these lines have now been climbed ranging from 5.4 to 5.13 in difficulty. Some of these routes have proven to be mega-classic climbs and should not be missed!

Yamnuska faces due south with nothing in it's way, so the cliffs are almost always dry and warm, even when the rest of the Rockies is still covered in snow. Winter ascents of Yamnuska are quite common. Because the cliff is quite steep and sits atop a steep hillside, the climbs almost have a big-wall feel to them even though the climbing itself is quite reasonable on many of the routes.

Yamnuska is the perfect place to gain experience for those big alpine rock climbs such as Mt. Louis or Castle Mountain and also makes a great backup plan if those routes are out of condition.

West End Routes (5.5 to 5.9)

The west end of Mount Yamnuska, home of some great beginner multipitch climbs.
The routes on the West End of Yamnuska climb very high quality rock and provide some of the best easier routes up the face. This is a great first place to experience multipitch climbing. There are a number of routes to choose from and lots of variations on all the routes, so the difficulty of the climb can be tailored to meet your abilities! Some of the best lines include Easy Street (5.5, 225m), Unnamed (5.6, 200m) and Gray Goose (5.7, 270m).

Forbidden Corner (5.8+)

Forbidden Corner, one of the best rock climbs on Yamnuska.
The best of the best! This awesome climb follows a series of large corners up a very steep section of the cliff without ever being more difficult than 5.8, thanks to an abundance of good holds and cracks. That said, almost every pitch is in the 5.8 range and the climb is over 300m long which makes for a very full day of rock climbing! This is our guides first choice as the best intermediate level climb on Mt. Yamnuska.

East End Boys (5.12a)

East End Boys on Yamnuska follows near the sun/shade line on the spectacular yellow prow.
East End Boys follows near the sun/shade line on the spectacular yellow prow.
One of the best hard routes anywhere. The first four pitches of this climb are all slightly overhanging, making the exposure atop pitch 4 quite memorable! The climbing is mostly in the 5.10+ to mid 5.11 range with a short but very difficult crux half way up. This climb also has some of the best crack and corner climbing pitches in the rockies and will test all your skills! This route is a good choice for a strong sport climber who would like to experience hard climbing in a multipitch setting with the safety of a guide.

Location: Bow Valley, just off the Trans-Canada Highway. 25 minutes from Canmore, 40 minutes from Calgary.
Length: 150 to 350 meters
Grade: 5.4 to 5.13 and everything in between!
Logistics: Canmore, Banff, or Calgary are the best places to base out of for rock climbing on Yamnuska.

A rock climber on a guided climb up Yamnuska's Grillmairs Chimneys route.

Other Nearby Routes

  • Yamnuska - there are many more excellent routes on Yamnuska other than the ones described above.
  • East End of Rundle - Dozens of great multipitch climbs above Canmore.
  • Ha Ling - 5.6, 450m.
  • CMC Valley - a great place to go camp in the backcountry and get lots of great rock climbing in.
  • Goat Mountain - rock climbs of all grades and lengths right beside Yamnuska.
  • and hundreds more...

Mt. Yamnuska mid winter, taken during a guided ascent of Coire Dubh Integral.

Gear List

Group gear such as ropes and carabiners will be provided by Canadian Rockies Alpine Guides. The personal gear listed below is mandatory. Please inform us well in advance if you need to borrow any of these items. Items that are not available for loan must be rented or purchased. Rental and purchase information can be found here.
  • Small Pack (about 30 litres) - available for loan
  • Hiking Boots or Shoes
  • Rock Climbing Shoes - available for loan
  • Harness - available for loan
  • Helmet - available for loan
  • Sweater/Fleece
  • Rain jacket
  • Light Gloves
  • Toque
  • Sunglasses & Sunscreen
  • Hiking Poles (optional)
  • Water Bottles (1 - 2 litres)
  • Lunch with lots of snacks