Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Thunder Mountain Rock Climbing

On the weekend a group of six met up in the hanging valley on the north end of Thunder Mountain (aproach from the Gap).There was area local's Tom and Lisa, Rendog and Julie from Calgary and myself and Casey from the Crowsnest Pass. We went up to check out the bolted routes that have been put up by the Medicine Hat Climbing Club. I had been up in the valley during the winter time with Tom and we stumbled across a few bolts, so it was a must to come back this summer . From the road it is a 20 min or so hike up towere the valley flattens out enough for some rough camp sites. From the tents it is a 5 to 10 minute slog up some scree to the main wall. The main wall is the prominant blob on the west side of the valley, there are two more lines in the gully on the left.
The climbing routes are on the nicest rock I have seen in southern Alberta, it is a solid dark grey Limestone with very few loose sections. It has the same feel and style as some rock routes on EEOR in Canmore, very frictiony, abbrasive and with open handed holds during the crux sections. The bolting is top notch, not too runout nor are the bolts ever too close together, the stations are all equiped with rap rings and were well placed to keep rope drag to a minimum. There is still a touch of loose rock here and there but that will quickly change with more traffic in the area.
Our group climbed 7 out of the 8 routes that we found, the longest route being 30m in length and the shortest being 15m. The grades seemed to be in the 5.9s at our estimates with one 5.7 in the gully on the left and possibly a 5.10 or so out on the main wall. All and all we had a great time up there for two days and I would like to head up there with the people that created the routes so I could see all that I missed.
One word of warning for future parties is that we couldn't find any water up there and had to hoof it down to the Oldman river to refill our bottles. So bring lots of water.
2nd word of warning is that it gets really really hot up there the main wall is in the sun until 3pm so to stay cool climb the bolted routes in the gully.

Chris Morris



At 6/27/2008 10:55:00 PM , Blogger Bev Smith said...

Intruging climbing...but where is it again. I have only been to the Gap area once to climb the slabs where the road turns. Is it in a guide book? Any info would be appreciated.
Bev 562-7010

At 7/10/2008 12:24:00 PM , Blogger chris g said...

The gap slab is described in the SOuthern Alberta Rock Climber's guide, which is hard to find. Tamarack Mall in waterton has some and I think the climbing wall in Blairmore too. Right now it is out of print.

The routes for the Medicine Hat club's area are about 0.5km past the Gap slab. Wander along the east side of the road, and head up the central drainage. The trail turn off will be very hard to describe. Once up the valley (15-30min) the rock on the right should have some bolted routes. No more info, but Ralph Eckman from the Medicine Hat club may have a lot more.


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