Rainbow Warrior 5.10b, IV – Mt.Gilbraltar
FA- B.Gross and P.Kaufman, 1985
This is a long rock route similar to, though more demanding than the NE Face of Windtower. The rock is good and the climbing sustained generally well protected. Expect to take up to 12hrs. on the climb. For gear: a set of wires, cams from TCUs to #3 Camalot and lots ‘o pins.
This info was supplied by Raphael Slawinski for the second edition of Kananaskis Obscure.
APPROACH: from the end of SR 546, walk or bike up Sheep River trail for 6km until even with the North Face of Gilbraltar(one awkward creek crossing). Where the trail crosses to the north bank of the stream(collapsed bridge), continue another 5-10 min. along the south bank, then hike up dry streambeds and gravely slopes to a platform at the highest point of the screes(1.5hrs. from the car). Scramble 100m up an easy ramp trending left across slabs to a broad depression. Rope up at the base of steeper rock above. Many lines are possible for the next 4-5 pitches, generally no more than 5.6/7 difficulty. The discription below offers one option. If in doubt, aim for the bottom right end of a large left-trending ramp, with a prominent patch of overhanging yellow rock above.
1. 50m, 5.6. Follow a gully/crack to a short right-facing corner. Break out left to a slab, then move back right into a gully (piton).
2. 55m, 5.7. Move left and climb slabs to a large ledge. Climb a left-facing corner on the left side of a large rotten nose to a large ledge, with a bolt/piton belay at its’ left end.
3. 55m, 5.6. Move up to a short corner and climb it to slabs. Either move right and climb corners and slabs to small ledges below the right end of the large ramp, or move left across slabs to a large ledge with a 2-bolt belay at its’ left end.
4. 60m, 5.8. From the top of the variant of pitch 3, move up into a short left-arching corner. Step right and climb up to gain the large ramp. Wander up this to a 2-bolt belay(top of pitch 5 in the old K-Country J.Martin guidebook topo). This variant is awkward to reach from the bolt belay at the top of pitch 3. A more direct variant climbs a steep slab and overlap on the left and is runout 5.10c.
5. 30m. Wander up the ramp to a ledge.
6. 30m, 5.5. Climb up and right onto a slab. Move right around an edge into a corner. An old bolt belay is visible a few metres down.
7. 50m, 5.9. Climb the corner for a few metres, then move left into a crack. Follow this until a line of face holds leads right across a wall of impeccable rock into a prominent left-facing corner. Follow the corner to small ledges and a 2-piton belay.
8. 50m, 5.9. Climb the corner above through small roofs to slabs. Belay on small ledges up and left.
9. 55m, 5.10b. Move right and climb up to a short left-facing corner(bolt). Crank through easy but loose ground. Traverse 15m right across a large scree ledge to better rock. (bolt)
10. 50m. Traverse right on the ledge. Belay below an obvious left-trending line of weakness in the wall above.
11. 50m, 5.8. Move right, then back left across blocky but good rock. Climb some cracks to small ledges below a short steep wall.
12. 55m, 5.10a. Climb the steep wall above to a large sloping ledge. Traverse left to a left-facing corner and climb it to small ledges(bolt, possible belay). Climb the sustained open book corner above past another bolt to a ledge.
13. 55m, 5.10b. Climb broken ground to the base of a corner/crack directly above(possible belay top of P14). Climb the increasingly hard crack past a pin to ledges. Trend left into a large right-facing corner.
14. 55m, 5.8. Climb the corner for 10m to a piton. Traverse right, around an edge, and into another right-facing corner below a large roof (possible belay, top of P15). Pull over the right end of the roof to easy but loose ground.
15. 60m. Wander up easy ground to the top
Descent: walk over the flat summit and down a broad ridge to the col between Gibraltar and the next summit to the south. Drop down an easy scree gully on the west side back to the Sheep River trail. Near tree line, it’s easier to leave the drainage bottom and descend its’ right (east) margin. It may be necessary to ford the knee-deep river to regain the trail. Takes about 2.5hrs from summit to car.