Barrier Lake Walls
There are 5 known routes on the two walls on the west side of Barrier Lake which are easily seen from Highway 40. The 5th route not mentioned here is the 5.10b four pitch sport route that starts 25m to the right of Friends called Blitzcrag Eh and info for it can be found elsewhere.
Maya’s Route is another obvious line and although this was done in 2003 the corner itself was done in the 80s or earlier and may be the same or slightly different line, either way we have info to Maya’s.
And the more southern east-facing unnamed wall has two different lines that conclude at the same finish which is a yellow very steep open book best spotted with binoculars. The Devonshire-Cornell line starts at a broken buttress and winds its’ way leftward and up, whereas the T.Jones line comes up somewhere straight up or possibly a bit left and up. Jones confirmed to me this was a line he and a partner had done many many years ago but did not fill me in on any further details- we had drinking to do! Go explore!
FA- J.Martin and C.Dale, 1980
A worthwhile 5 pitch route for Kananaskis with great wilderness panoramas on good rock. Approach by biking from Barrier Lake Dam for half hour plus then thrashing up through the woods for 15 minutes to the base of the rock. The crux 4th pitch is recognized by the pale white strip and a one bolt belay was drilled after the only gear – a slung block, fell off during our 1999 ascent. To descend, walk off north through the upper forest and down.
A gear list may include: TCUs and cams from 2”-3.5”, medium nuts/Tri-Cams, and a good assortment of pins. Unfortunately, rope lengths are forgotten, but twin 55m works.
1.) Find the corner with a horizontal roof high above. Climb up on fun 5.5 rock to a ledge with one bolt.
2.) Either continue up the corner(5.7) and move off right to a ledge with a bolt or leave the belay and traverse right then straight up(5.6).
3.) Enjoyably go up and into a short corner and to a one-bolt anchor(5.7).
4.) Climb up and into the left-facing corner(5.9). Grunt up it, pass a bolt, and try to clip a high pin or run it out left to the one-bolt ledge belay: falling here would be a nasty swing into the corner, however sustained, it’s not desperate. The pin is hard to clip.
5.) Go up from the belay on fun rock directly above the anchor (5.9) to a tree belay.
Maya’s Route, 5.9+, 240m
FRA- I.Gordon and J.Steppan, June 2003
This climb follows the major right-facing corner on the SE face of Barrier Lake Buttress. Generally it goes up the slab just left of the huge corner system. The crux is pulling onto and over a buldgy slab on the first pitch, then an airy traverse under the huge overhang on the last pitch and judging from the photocopies sent in it looks highly entertaining, along with a short scenic approach, and a end-of-day crank at The Republik, should be a very fine day out. Bring a single rack to 4” and a 60m rope.
Park at Barrier Lake Dam. Cross the dam and take the trail along the lake, continue past Jewel Pass until below the first of two walls (30 min. by bike). Stash bikes and bushwack and scramble up a loose gully below the climb until reaching the 2 trees at the corner’s base(30min.). The descent is down the climb from the same anchors. Four long 30m raps reach the ground or walk off heading north and around through the upper forest.
1.) Climb/scramble up water bowl until the base of the right-facing corner. Short 5.10(bolt) crux pull up on marginal holds gains good ground to the left of the corner. Thin slab moves towards the final steep section. Climb up right side of very loose arete to good ledge/bolt belay. (30m)
2.) Climb right and slightly up towards corner(2 bolts). Climb corner towards small bush; go left onto slab climb over small ledges to second bolted belay. (30m)
3.) Climb over small overhang and gain the bottom of the finger crack(5.8), go up the easy finger crack round the tree and over small ledges to gain a 2-bolt belay below the large overhang. (30m)
4.) Climb around first overhang on the right side close to the main corner. Continue up the main corner until below the huge overhang. Traverse left across slab below overhang on good holds(5.9). At the end of the overhang, climb up and right to gain main left facing corner. Climb over small ledges and exit cliff face to final 2-bolt and chain belay(25m).
Barrier Lake South Wall
FA- T.Jones and partner
Alternate 5.10aR righthand route- T.Devonshire and G.Cornell, July 2003
We don’t have information to T.Jones’s original line on the wall – maybe sometime- but described below is the more recent right-hand line that heads to the same yellow open book near the top of the wall which was not completed by the 2003 team.
This is a 10a line, not as direct as we first thought, done using many bolts to get to the obvious finish in the center of the cliff. Surprisingly, the pitch below it had an old pin belay and old SMC bolt just before the corner. T.Jones has confirmed he did finish the yellow corner and it appears you can exit into a tree gully above this pitch. **You will need to bring a number of hangers to do this as we removed some of them on rappel.**
Pitch 1: Start at a crack down and right of the scree slope. Climb it to a ledge and move right about 5m then move up and left around to a short crack that leads up to a small tree and hangerless bolt belay.(5.7, 35m)
Pitch 2: Traverse left on shattered rock past the corner, and go up steeper rock between two trees to a two bolt belay under a roof. (5.7, 30m)
Pitch 3: Traverse left on nice rock to a bolt(all 5 lead bolts on this pitch have no hangers) then continue up excellent compact stone, over a bulge, moving left past 4 more bolts to a two bolt belay on a ledge.(5.10a, 45m)
Pitch 4: From the belay climb straight up steep featureless rock with no pro for about 10m to the old SMC bolt. Climb left and up to the good ledge with a two bolt belay under an overhang. (5.9R, 15m) Above is the yellow corner and looks to take gear to 3″.