We have been having a beautiful April! With a forecast of 20 degrees, Jen and I decided to warm up our climbing for the season on the Rundlehorn, an easy 5.5 multi-pitch that claims to be 11 pitches, but really is only about 5 if you skip stations and use your whole rope. We parked at the falls because the golf course road was closed for construction. This added a few minutes of walking, but the approach was still really quick and we were at the bottom of the route before we knew it.
|Nice morning view of the Banff Springs Hotel|
We hadn't planned our aspect very well and spent the whole morning climbing in the shade, which was chilly. Jen and I traded leads and skipped belay stations to quickly pitch out the lower sections. The climbing was really straightforward and if we hadn't spent so much time looking for bolts and belay stations, we would have cruised to the top really quickly. The whole route was bolted but the stations were so close together it was easy to miss them.
|Hanging out at the belay station waiting for the sun to warm us up|
The upper pitches were a bit more interesting with some slab and steeper blocky sections, but nothing was very difficult. The hardest part of the day was the routefinding! It was a nice easy day out, perfect for the first climb of the season. I was disappointed when we topped out. I was hoping that the climb would be longer and that we would get higher up on Mt. Rundle. There is so much more mountain above the top of the climb. We had a leisurely lunch in the glorious sunshine (and wind) before attempting to rappel down. I say attempting because we got our rope stuck. Badly. I would recommend against 60m rappels on this route, its too low angle and it wanders. Plus the wind was playing havoc with the ropes.
|Sunny lunch at the top of the Rundlehorn|
We unstuck our rope and continued down. By this time the lower pitches of the route were crawling with people. It was a good choice to start early, because even though it meant climbing in the cool shade, we got to avoid the crowds.
|A slightly different view of the Bow Valley|
|Jen is happy after her first multi-pitch lead|