For adventure climbers, the East End of Mt Rundle (EEOR) is a gem that stands out amongst the embarrassing riches of rock climbing within the Rockies. High above Canmore, the climbs adorning EEOR’s 450m sunny face yield sustained exposure on the sort of stellar prickles that exemplify the best of Front Range limestone.
At first glance, there’s Geriatric (5.8, 250m), a classic with unique moves and features on every pitch. Guides’ Route (5.6, 650m) is a circuitous puzzle, less flashy but with an alpine feel. To take it up a carat there’s the ever-engaging Eeyore’s Tail (5.9, 350m) with a granitic texture and long rap down; the Reprobate (5.10a A0, 465m), a piece of Brian Greenwood craftsmanship that, apart from the memorably forgettable first 50m, commands attention right to the finish; or the multi-faceted Generosity (5.9, 450m), a modern mixed jewel with cool positions that just keep on coming.
For a little more glitter without the commitment, True Grit (5.10b or c, 170m) is fully-equipped friction face climbing that is precise and precarious in equal measures, with Raptor (220m, 5.10b) as a smooth warmup or a chunk of Parallel Dreams (5.11a, 180m) as a full-on follow-on.
In recent years, a collection of short, bolted lines freshly quarried from the roadside outcrops make for great afternoon add-ons or rainout options, or tougher seams exist for folks mining hard trad test pieces. Of course, for those who know where to search, there are also some other treasures hidden up there…
A September visit to EEOR is a highlight, especially on murky mornings when cold air has the valley fog bound. Starting up the steep scree of the socked-in approach seems hopeless, but suddenly you emerge from the gloom into an azure realm with morning gold blazing up the valley as it reflects off the white shroud below. Across the way, the features of Ha Ling are backlit and EEOR radiates the rich colours of autumn. After that, climbing feels like a kind of larceny.
by Carl Johnston (Alpine/Rock Guide)