Keelhaul Wall and the Black Band

I don't know what it is about the 3/4 Couloir that's fighting me this year, but once again my plans to ski it fell through this past weekend. The plan had been to ski it Sunday but Saturday it basically monsooned all over the Bow Valley and in fact it accumulated something like 20cm on the 93 North highway. The result was that conditions were a giant question mark and we decided to hold off for a weekend with higher odds of success.

Anyway, another Plan B type of weekend. Paul OBK had posted an ACC trip where the plan was to climb some sort of mellow multi-pitch on Kidd Goat and he had a spot free - so I gratefully jumped on that.

Paul starts up the first pitch with Yam in the background

Paul, Rob (our third) and I met up at the Kidd Goat parking lot (the dump) at 7:45 which I thought was straight up stupid. I mean, I like climbing in conditions generally considered awful - but it had been pissing rain or puking snow all the previous day and most of the night so I thought the smart thing was to give the rock at least a couple of hours to dry, but this was Paul's rodeo so I played along.

Turns out Paul was right and I'd underestimated the magically drying properties of Rockies limestone - other than a couple of wet patches, by the time we got to the bottom of the wall the rock was good to go. 

It wouldn't be the easy Rockies climbing without some route finding...

The approach to Kid Goat is reasonably quick but easy to get lost on - give yourself enough time to get lost the first couple of times you head out that way. I've never not made it to the bottom of the crag, but sometimes there's been more walking than strictly necessary. There's a Kid Goat Climber's Guide that's definitely your best resource here. If you're cheap, you can get the relevant chunk of Banff Rock.

5.6 with an undercling bulge... grading is maybe a little sandbagged, but it really isn't that bad

We had a few options in mind with the idea that we could get to the bottom of the crag and pick our climb based on what was free. Turns out we were sharing the someway huge wall with only one other party. They said they were headed to Grey Waves, so we picked Keelhaul Wall - an absolute classic Kid Goat 155m 5.6 mixed route. In fact, according to Banff Rock, it was the first route climbed on the crag.

Rob cruising up on a remarkably warm and dry day

We got our gear sorted and then Paul took off up the first pitch as Rob belayed him and I was useless and played with my camera.

The route is classic Kid Goat - rambly (enough so that you probably don't want to link pitches), mellow with mostly short lived difficulties. The climbing is also a lot more fun than you would expect from the grade. Definitely worth a shot. 

Despite being a party of three, we banged out the route in pretty short order and found ourselves back at the bottom of the crag. We briefly considered banging out another route but decided that having taken it pretty easy in the morning, we should go a little harder in the afternoon so we headed over to the Black Band Crag on Tunnel Mountain.

Paul headed into a 10c crux on Black Band Crag

Paul proceeded to absolutely crush and led the three hardest routes at the crag back to back. Rob then seconded everything impressively smoothly. Me? I scrabled up shit and took photos. Great day with great people - even if we weren't crushing a couloir.

One hand a lot of slab - Paul works through a crux at the Black Band Crag

Grumpy, cantankerous, wildly opinionated and so much more! Getting really tired on skis is what makes me happy.