Sub-Zero on Rundlehorn

Rundlehorn is a great, easy multi-pitch climb on the West end of Rundle (here’s a good topo on Gripped), just by the Banff Springs Golf Course. Rated at 5.5 it’s supposedly 11 pitches but you’d have to be an absolute masochist to not link pitches as they’re all quite short.

The layout of the route is five pitches, a short scrambling pitch and then a final five pitches. We linked pitches 1&2, 3&4, 6&7, and 8&9 turning the ‘11 pitches’ into 6 actual pitches of climbing.

Cold? Yes. Miserable? No.

If you’re looking for a route to take someone up for their first multi-pitch, it’s hard to ask for a better candidate than Rundlehorn. The setting is beautiful, access is about five minutes of walking up a hill from your car, and it’s fully bolted, if a little run out in places.

It’s also a route that I inevitably end up climbing every year. For the longest time it looked like this would be the year that I would escape lapping this route, but then on Saturday Katherine, Chelsea, and I were looking for a mellow multipitch to bang out in sub-optimal weather and Rundlehorn’s low elevation and easy grade worked well with the recent snowfall that had blanketed everything higher up.

Cold temps are sending temps - a down jacket solves all problems

When we got to the parking pull-out, the weather was -1C. As I led off from the base of the climb, feeling the rock sapping the warmth out of my fingers and trying to remember how much traction my shoes get at those temperatures, I found myself wondering why we do these things to ourselves. A few pitches up, laughing ourselves silly and looking out at beautiful snow covered peaks, I remembered that any day in the mountains is better than a day in the city.

I led the bottom half of the route and then turned over lead duties to Katherine which let me climb the rest of the route in insulated gloves and approach shoes. Not only was climbing in insulated gloves way warmer, it actually made the route a much more interesting challenge since I was way more focused on my footwork than I would normally be on this route.

Climbing in insulated gloves definitely makes things more interesting. Photo: Chelsea Pasutto

Yes, the route’s trivial in difficulty, and yes, it was cold, but we were out there, getting some exercise, enjoying the view, and enjoying company. Beats a city weekend in my book.

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