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AUG
28
2017

Mt. KIDD Route: The Fold (5.8, 11p, 1300')

Category: British Columbia/Alberta      Trip Report #266

Partner: Robert Waye
Rock Type: Limestone
Elev: 
2,893 m / 9,490 ft (south summit elev.; top of route is lower)

A unique climb up a narrow rib of Mt. Kidd.


INTRO


The Fold is a spectacular moderate 11-pitch adventure climb in the Kananaskis Range, just south of Canmore in Alberta. The route follows a prominent narrow rib on the south side of the south summit of Mt. Kidd; this unique feature can be clearly seen from the Bighorn Highway. The rock is limestone, apparently some of the best in the area. The climbing is mostly 5.6 to 5.7 with a few 5.8 cruxes that protect reasonably well. Unlike many routes in the Canadian Rockies, (as of 2017) the route has not been retrofitted with belay bolts and there are no fixed stations whatsoever at the moment apart from the odd dubious pin. As such, the route is rather committing and requires good route-finding and anchor-building skills.

Above The Fold are two options: one is to rappel to a lower scree slope and scramble back to the trail and the other is to continue up the upper buttress (5.9 R) and to the top of the south summit of Mt. Kidd. The latter option is called The Fold Integral and makes for a much longer adventure. Not wanting to jeopardize our plans to climb the next day we well, we opted to just climb The Fold.

I climbed this route with Rob, on the first of a three-day stretch of climbing together. We had a really fun day. Although the climbing itself was not overly challenging, we felt that the unique position of the route, the exhilarating exposure, the fun climbing on solid grippy limestone, the spectacular scenery, the exciting hanging rappel, and the straightforward approach made this route an excellent day out in the mountains. The following page contains an overlay and photos from the day. Thanks Rob for being a great partner!

We followed the MountainProject.com description for this route, which was excellent.


TIME STATS

Hike to base: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Climb: 5 hours
Descent (top to base to get stuff to car): 2 hours 30 minutes
Total car-to-car: 9 hours, 30 minutes


OVERLAY



PHOTOS

Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach 
1.   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
1. Morning sun on Mt. Kidd. The Fold follows the prominent narrow rib.

Pitch 
1
2.   
3.   
4.   
5.
2. The first pitch traverses ledges from the gully on the left to the tree on the right. 
3. A view out as I approached tree on ridge.
4. Steph starting the first pitch. We might have started this pitch a bit too high but it worked. (Photo by Rob.)
5. A view of Kidd Falls to climbers' right of The Fold. This is a popular ice climb in the winter.


Pitch 
2
6.   
6. Steph leading up Pitch 2. (Photo by Rob.)
Pitch 
3
7.   
8.   
7. Rob starting up Pitch 3.
8. Grippy limestone further up on Pitch 3.
Pitch 
4
9.   
9. Looking down from near the top of Pitch 4, which is 4th class.
Pitch 
5
10.   
11. 
10. Steep juggy wall on Pitch 5.
11. Steph high on Pitch 5. (Photo by Rob.)

Pitch 
6
12.   
12. Rob on Pitch 6, which climbs "The Wave" and then goes up a crack system on the right side of the crest.
Pitch 
7
13.   
14.   
13. Some large and loose blocks at the start of Pitch 7. You don't really need to pull on any of them, so we didn't.
14. Looking down from the exposed belay at the top of Pitch 7. The exposure on the narrow rib is great.
Pitch 
8
15.   
16.   
17.   
   
15. Rob starting up Pitch 8.
16. A fixed piton on Pitch 8. There are lots of fixed pitons on this route, and never felt a need to have brought any pitons ourselves.
17. Higher up on Pitch 8, going up a steep wall to the left of the chimney system.
Pitch 
9
18.   
18. Midway up Pitch 9. I went up the groove on the right.
Pitch 
10
19.   
20.   
19. Rob leading Pitch 10.
20. 3-pin anchor at the top of Pitch 10. As of 2017, this route does not have bolted anchors like many of the moderate multipitch routes in the Rockies.
Pitch 
11
21.   
21. Steph leading the steep juggy wall of Pitch 11 to finish the route. The rock and pro are both questionable on this pitch, but at least it is short. (Photo by Rob.)
Descent 
22.   
23.   
24.   
25.   
26.   
27.   
28.   
29.   
30.   
31.   
32.   
33.   
34.   
22. This photo was taken at the top of The Fold. If you continue upwards, you are climbing The Fold Integral, which apparently continues for about 4 more pitches of roped climbing, rated 5.9 R, and reportedly has slightly lesser quality rock. But it is a way to extend the adventure and get to the south summit of Mt. Kidd.
23. 
The first rappel from a bolted rap station. This is just 30m, so we did it with a single rope.
24-27. 
The second rappel. This is a free-hanging 50m rappel to the scree ledge below. Two ropes make it a "fun exciting." One rope makes it a "scary exciting" requiring you to somehow reach into the wall to access an intermediate anchor, while you are hanging in space with the ends of your rope dangling in space several feet above the ground. Needless to say, we were happy to have two ropes for this rappel.
28. Looking over at the rib we had just climbed, to get an idea of the steepness of the route (the upper half is the steepest).
29. From the base of the rappels, we scrambled down a path that would around cliff bands and back to 200m shy of the base of the route.
30. Nearing the end of the descent to 200m shy of the base of the route.
31. A view of The Fold in the afternoon sun. This looks like a giant syncline, with the left limb nearly vertical.

32. A zoomed in view. 
33. We took a short break to repack our packs and enjoy the beautiful summer day in the Kananaskis Range. We did not see another person other than at the trailhead parking area itself. More grizzlies than people out here.
34. The suspension bridge at the start of the approach to The Fold.