Rimwall

June 17, 2012

2684m

Kananaskis – Smith Dorrien Valley, AB

Rimwall is one of those summits that guards the Canmore / Bow Valley corridor from the south-west. It appears like a formidable wall from Bow Valley (hence its name), but from the backside it’s a straightforward scramble, well documented in Alan Kane’s Scrambles in the Canadian Rockies. Neil (Travelin’ Jones), Andrea and I did not follow the standard ascent route and instead, we took a short-cut route up from West Wind Pass so encountered some difficult scrambling at places.

The standard scramble route up Rimwall

The standard scramble route up Rimwall

This was done as the second objective of this day, after successfully summitting the nearby Windtower. On the way down from Windtower, we studied the route up Rimwall. Because we are confident scramblers, we didn’t want to lose too much elevation to traverse around the rock band. From distance, it looks there might be a treed ledge running diagonally across the bands. We wanted to try this route.

Not far up, we encountered the first difficult section, a 3 m rock band. This provided a good warm up for the later use. At this section we caught up a group of three Calgarians also attempting the same route. The ledge was mildly exposed, and 5 of us didn’t have problem to traverse it. At this point, we had a high hope that this route would work. However, soon after traversing around the ledge, a big wall appears in front of us… It’s about 15 m high, with no apparent ledge or weakness.

Since we had already reached this point, we didn’t want to turn around unless it’s practically impossible. Well, it’s only 15 m high though. Even if it’s a lower 5th class rock climb, I would rather solo it then turning around. None of us brought helmet so at the base of the band, we each took a different line up. Andrea took the rightmost line, while Neil descended slightly towards left and found a way on that side. I took the most direct line which was a crack. Due to the potential fatal consequence if I fell, I tested every hold before grabbing of stepping on. At the top of the crack, I had to traverse slightly to the right with very small holds on solid rock, followed by a friction move to get through. This part is definitely a 5th class terrain. I felt more like doing bouldering in gym on a vertical wall, except for no protection and questionable rock quality. I can’t command on Neil and Andrea’s route. Andrea’s route might be the easiest as she topped out the first. The two Calgarians traversed further right but we never saw them after the rock band, so I’m assuming they didn’t make it through.

Rimwall from West Wind Pass. Our route goes up directly through the cliff bands.

Rimwall from West Wind Pass. Our route goes up directly through the cliff bands.

Andrea challenging a warm-up step

Andrea challenging a warm-up step

We traversed along this ledge following two Calgarian scramblers

We traversed along this ledge following two Calgarian scramblers

Neil finding his own way, traversing an exposed corner

Neil finding his own way, traversing an exposed corner

Just finished the crux band.

Andrew just finishing the crux band.

We all relieved after finishing this section, but what was waiting for us was, a long tedious rubble slog and side sloping. The brisk sized rock is the worst type. You gonna be patience here. After a long slog we crossed the alternate descending gully, and after that, the rock quality improved dramatically. However, looking back, we could see a storm was coming in. The summit was already soaked in. We tried to beat the rain, but looks like it’s going to beat us. Ten minutes later, we were in a white out, and surprisingly what was felling on us was snow, not rain. There are several 2-meter rock bands on the summit ridge, but nothing tricky. Another 10 min later we were standing on the summit. Now, the miracle happened. The sky started to clear and the layered clouds added drastically to the view. There was no summit register and we did a long summit stay before heading down.

Typical scree slog

Typical scree slog

We headed into the weather

We headed into the weather

The weather moved away, and we got some views from the top. This is looking across Spray valley.

The weather moved away, and we got some views from the top. This is looking across Spray valley.

Andrea on the summit

Andrea on the summit

Looking towards Bow Valley

Looking towards Bow Valley

Little Sister

Little Sister

Lougheed is the tall one. Windtower in the foreground on left.

Lougheed is the tall one. Windtower in the foreground on left.

Neil on the summit

Neil on the summit

Neil, with Spray Lake behind.

Neil, with Spray Lake behind.

On the way down, we took the scree ski route, which was just like the scree on Yamuska. At the treeline, the terrain got slabby and the gully soon narrows into a canyon. It reminded Neil about Isabelle Peak, and it reminded me about the false fault in Jura Creek. There’s a 15 m water fall that has to be skirted around in the trees on the left side. If wet, don’t venture too close to the edge, as only friction grabs you. If you slip, there’s nothing to stop you. Lower down, there are more interesting rock formation in the canyon, and it’s much fun than simply bushwhacking in the trees. At the bottom, the canyon disappears into thick forest, and we lost sight to each other. I was falling a bit behind since I wasted too much time taking pictures so I thought Neil and Andrea must be far ahead of me, and I speeded up in the forest to try catching them. About a few hundred meters later, I reached the road. Walking back to car, I didn’t find them. I thought they might went to lake shore for views so I walked down to Spray Lake and still didn’t find them… Damn… I thought there must be something happened, as it made no sense to take that long to descend. I walked back again and shouting, and thankfully they soon appeared. There was nothing happened and in fact, after we lost each other, Neil went back to the canyon to see if I was still there, so that’s why it took that long.

Spray Lake

Spray Lake

Cool pools in the gully/canyon on the exit

Cool pools in the gully/canyon on the exit

Another pool of water

Another pool of water

On the way walking back to car, we got showered. Perfect timing! Overall, a good two-peak-day under questionable weather forecast, with great companies.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s