<-- Map of summer 2017
     climbing roadtrip 
     (click to enlarge)
AUG
21
2017

GRAND SENTINEL 
Route 1: South Face (5.9, 350', 4p)
Route 2: Cardiac Arete (5.10d, 350', 4p)

Category: British Columbia/Alberta      Trip Report #263
Partner: Chris Cox
Rock Type: Quartzite
Summit Elev: 2,658 m / 8,720 ft

A link-up of two awesome climbs to the top of a 400-foot quartzite spire.


INTRO

The Grand Sentinel is a 400-foot free-standing quartzite spire just below and west of Sentinel Pass. The beautiful and high-quality quartzite, excellent protection, and awesome position in an alpine setting make this a Canadian Rockies must-do. The Grand Sentinel has several routes to its narrow top, the most popular being The South Face (5.8-5.9, 4p, trad) and Cardiac Arete (5.10d, 4p, sport). 

Chris and I did a link-up of these two climbs, warming up first with the South Face and then climbing the steeper and harder Cardiac Arete. We swung leads on the South Arete, but on Cardiac Arete I was a bit intimidated by the steep non-crack-climbing nature of the route, so Chris led all four pitches (nice job Chris!) while I thoroughly enjoyed following it. For both climbs, we rappelled (single rope) the South Face route (you can also rappel Cardiac Arete, but we'd heard that due the overhanging nature of some sections of the, the first person down might need to clip into some draws to reach the lower rappel anchor).

The following page gives some photos of our climbs. This link-up makes for a fun day of climbing!


TIME STATS

Approach (Moraine Lake TH to base): 2 hours, 15 minutes
Climb South Face: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Climb Cardiac Arete: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Rappel South Face: ~15 min
Hike out: ~2 hours
 

ROUTE OVERLAY



PHOTOS FROM HIKE IN AND OUT


Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach 
Hike ~1km past Sentinel Pass, ~7km & 2500+ ft gain from trailhead at Moraine Lake.
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1. View at the trailhead at Moraine Lake. From L to R: Bowlen, Tonsa, Perren, Allen, Tuzo.
2. Approaching Sentinel Pass. Pinnacle Mountain to left of the pass.
3. View of Valley of Ten Peaks from approach up to Sentinel Pass. From L to R: Fay, Bowlen, Tonsa, Perren, Allen, Tuzo, Deltaform.
4. View towards Grand Sentinel from Sentinel Pass. Mt. Lefroy (I think) behind.
5. Grand Sentinel.
6. Grand Sentinel. We hung out for about 5 minutes to get a photo of sun on the face (for a route overlay, of course...).
7. Approaching small notch to left of Grand Sentinel.

8. At base of Grand Sentinel.
9. Watch out for rockfall on the traverse between Sentinel Pass and Grand Sentinel. Specifically in the area just past (towards Sentinel Pass) the snowfield in the photo - rock was coming down all day in this section.
10. Looking up from the trail at the location where most of the rockfall was coming from.
11-12. Cool rocks near Sentinel Pass. (My go-to geologist consult Doug McKeever tells me these are meta-conglomerate, or at least a metamorphosed pebbly sandstone (pebbly quartzite)).
13. Mt. Fay.
14. I recalled seeing a photo in my parents' old photobooks of my mom changing my diaper on a boulder, with Mt. Fay in the distance. I thought that this might be the boulder, but after digging out the old photo (see next photo), the diaper-changing boulder is closer to the treeline.
15. Me getting my diaper changed in 1983. I was born in May, so I must have only been a couple of months old here.
16. My parents and me on our trip to the Canadian Rockies in 1983. Compared to 2017, the  glacier on Mt. Fay looks a little bit bigger and I look a little bit smaller.


PHOTOS FROM CLIMBS

South Face (5.9, 350', 4p, trad)
Steep and exposed climbing up cracks and corners at a moderate grade with good protection.

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Pitch 
1
5.4
1.   
2.
1. Looking up Pitch 1, a short pitch that goes up blocky terrain just left of the SW corner of the Grand Sentinel.
2. Band of slate through the quartzite at end of Pitch 1. (This would have started off as sandy strata with a lens of mud between; upon lithification they become sandstone and shale, later metamorphosed into quartzite and slate.)

Pitch 
2
5.7
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4.   
3. Looking up Pitch 2, which goes righward past a couple of corners.
4. Nice corner crack midway up Pitch 2.
Pitch 
3
5.8
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5. Chris starting up Pitch 3, a fun juggy corner to juggy roof.
6. Steph climbing Pitch 3. (Photo by Chris)
7. Looking out from under the roof on Pitch 3. Getting out of the roof is 5.8ish on jugs.

Pitch 
4
5.9
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8. Looking up Pitch 4. This pitch goes up steep cracks; the climbing is excellent and the rock perhaps the most solid of the whole route.
9. The climber on the left is on Cardiac Arete while Chirs is on Pitch 4 of the South Face.
Top! 
xxx
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10. Chris on the small summit spire.
11. At 11:30am on August 21, 2017, there was a partial eclipse of the sun. In the Banff area, this was about 75%.
12. Climber on Cardiac Arete next door...our next climb (photo taken during rappels of South Face route).



Cardiac Arete (5.10d, 350', 4p, sport)
Follow the bolts on the SE Arete for four pitches of beautiful climbing and great exposure on clean quartzite. This is one of the best sport multipitches around.

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Pitch 
1
5.10b
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2.   
 
1. Climbers starting up Cardiac Arete. To get to the base of the route, traverse in on the obvious ledge.
2. Chris starting up Pitch 1. Another team is a pitch or two ahead of us in the photo.


Pitch 
2
5.10c
3.   
3. Looking up Pitch 2.
Pitch 
3
5.10d
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4. Cruxy roof on Pitch 3.
Pitch 
4
5.10d
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5. Chris starting off Pitch 4.
6. Climbing the arete.
7. Awesomely exposed section to top.
8. Looking down Cardiac Arete with rather phallic shadow of Grand Sentinel below.