Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Le Soulier, Tunnel Mountain 2014

Sunday September 7th - Le Soulier 5.6, Banff's Tunnel Mountain

Synopsis: 4 out of 5 stars.  15 minutes from the car, three interesting pitches, sunny aspect, not real greasy - whats not to like?

The day started with bigger plans (in my head anyways), however a late night the night before and supper plans called for a more laid back day. We parked in the parking lot just west of the Banff Centre and hiked down the trail until spotting the scree slope on the left, then simply followed a path to the bottom of the scree and then up right. You then follow the rock to the right until clearing the obvious roof (Gonda's Roof), a cruisey approach in anyone's book.

Once at the bottom, there is an obvious bolt however we chose to scramble around the first pitch. Looking down it seemed like the right call, although there is a little sting in the tail of the scramble. It probably would have been a good idea to gear up before the scramble (lesson #1 from the mountain gods).

Having said that all of the belay ledges are nice and comfy. I did bring a small rack, but found it completely unnecessary (lesson #2) as it was bolted (not to sport route standards, but ...).

From the first belay, there is a bolt out to the left however we figured out that it is the start of the 5.9 variation, the correct route goes straight up and then right at the weakness. Not a lot of route finding necessary as it was a case of following the bolts to the belay.

Sunday was a great day, warm with a little fall in the air and some cloud cover to keep from overheating. I wouldn't want to be on this on a hot day mid summer.

Great views opened up of the Banff Springs Hotel and the Golf Course the other way.

The second pitch ends with a bit of an awkward move right to the station, once again there are bolts and another station to the left but I believe it is for the 5.9 variation.

The third pitch does pass by the namesake shoes with some fun moves.

After things kicked back and it was a scramble for the top, I went right on some dirty rock after clipping an old piton. Once at the top I realized the error of my ways, the route actually went left by a shiny new bolt to a tree - you can ignore any pins as they will just pull you off route (lesson #3).

A great day out, even made Deanna smile!  

We were climbing at a pretty relaxed pace and made it up in 1:40 hours, another 15 minutes took us back to the cars. Take the path left and then the lower jeep track through the forest.

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