established August 2004, G.Cornell
May take many a year for this place to popularize as humping nearly 2 hours to boulder in the alpine is desperate but those who combine it with Elephant Rocks may not see the negative. Once you reach Chester Lake the worst part of the hike is over and continues over barren rolling hills. Stay focused: don’t carry any scrambling gear to knock off Fortress or Gusty, just keep low. Not only is the rock quality highlytextured, the problems range from enjoyable to ludicrous highballs. There is lots of unexplored stuff to do. Most landings are O.K. but a pad will unleash a wider gamut of fun. The jewel is the unclimbed 25m split boulder overlooking the entire mass. With its’ lightning bolt north face crack it has every problem: offwidth, traverse, hand crack dihedral and the awesome chicken head north face which I might add is a serious contender for the most colorful face in Kananaskis or the Rockies for that matter. This place was mentioned in Bouldering in the Rockies by Marcus Norman.
To get to the Taunting Grounds, hike to Chester Lake.Walk around the north shore and about 150m before the waterfall take a steep trail up. It eases off to another meadow and rambles over shattered rocky hills. Soon the valley tightens up and enjoyable plate scree is the trail to the boulders. The first nugget you will encounter is the square Earthen Stove Boulder which sits a few hundred meters from the main area along the creek. The Lily Pad is found by hiking away from the main rocks up a draw towards Fortress.
1)Earthen Stove Boulder(VB) climb north crest, downclimb.
2)Taco Belly(V0) tilted sharp prow on jugs next to snout, not fun.
3)The Shed(V0) up small seperate wall on nice incisions. Off right.
4)VW(V0) move up angled crack, traverse lower VW shape flakes.
5)Bubbles(V1) from chimney traverse entire wall on flakes, eerie.
6)Lily Pad(V0) walk up valley to dark round erratic with mossy top. Traverse the thing first using top rail then moving lower on the harder north; good enduro on excellent holds.
7) unclimbed overhung rock with slabby east face.
8) unclimbed jewel with a vertical chicken head north face, good rest area.
FAs- unknown, way pre-80s
Elephant Rocks is old and well known but not popular. Two groups 100m apart on solid stone, the smaller stuff better than the highballs. Worth hiking the pad if you go on to the Taunting Grounds.
Park at Chester Lake 45km south of Canmore. Go up switchback road to the lake(1hr). Go along the shore and take a good trail left into the woods for 10 minutes. Good place to show your Saskatchewan relatives how we waste our life away in Alberta.