<-- Map of summer 2017
     climbing roadtrip 
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AUG
20
2017

Mt. LOUIS Route: Homage to the Spider (5.10a, 1000', 6p)

Category: British Columbia/Alberta      Trip Report #262
Partner: Chris Cox
Rock Type: Limestone
Summit Elev: 2,667 m / 8,750 ft

One of the most aesthetic peaks of the Canadian Rockies and one of the best routes up it.


INTRO


I'd wanted to climb Mt. Louis ever since John Scurlock and I flew past it on an aerial photography trip to the Canadian Rockies in May 2012. Mt. Louis is an impressive tower of Palliser limestone just northwest of Banff, Alberta. It is one of the most aesthetic peaks of the Canadian Rockies. Unlike many summits in the Rockies, there is no walk-up to the top. 

Though there are many routes on Mt. Louis, most of the climbing activity is concentrated on three routes: Kain Route (5.7, FA 1916!), Gmoser Route (5.9, FA 1964), and Homage to the Spider (5.10a, FA 1987). Chris and I decided that Homage to the Spider sounded the most interesting and challenging. Homage to the Spider ascends a prominent system of corners on the steep face on the east side of the NE Ridge of the mountain, offering 6 pitches of steep climbing on some of the best rock found on the mountain. Six pitches might not sound like much, but since the route starts on the northeast side of the peak and the descent is on the southwest side of the peak, it means you are basically going up and over the entire peak. 

Interesting fact: The name of the route is derived from “homage” to Walter Perren who added a variation to the Kain route while seeking out the best rock on Louis. 

Chris and I really enjoyed this climb, car-to-carring it in 12 hours. The following page gives an overlay and pitch-by-pitch photos from the fun day!


TIMES

Car to Base: 3 hours 15 minutes
Roped Climbing (6 pitches): 3 hours 52 minutes
Scramble to top: 44 minutes
Rappels (10 single rope rappels): 59 minutes
Base of rappels to car: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total car-to-car: 12 hours


OVERLAY



PHOTOS


Photos:
Photo descriptions:
Approach 
via Edith Pass trailhead
1.   
2.   
3.   
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1. It appears these trees on the trail to Mt. Louis were snapped off like toothpicks by an avalanche.
2. First views of Mt. Louis from the trail.
3. Scrambling under the east side of Mt. Louis to the base of Homage to the Spider.
4. Getting closer...
5. The final scramble to the base of Homage to the Spider, across loose but ledgy limestone.
6. Getting to the base of the route requires a few exposed moves over a gully (snow in earlier summer). There is a bolted station to make a short rappel down to the base of the route and avoid these exposed moves. (Based on various trip reports I have read, it appears that these bolts were installed  sometime between 2008 and 2011.)
Pitch 
1
5.9
7.
7. Looking up Pitch 1 from the base of the route.

Pitch 
2
5.9
8.   
9.   
     
8. Chris starting up Pitch 2.
9. Looking down while climbing Pitch 2.

Pitch 
3
5.8
10.   
10. Looking down Pitch 3 from the belay. We climbed the face to the right of the chimney system, which ended at a bolted belay. Based on other trip reports I have read, it is possible to climb the chimney too, but the face was fun and the chimney did not sound fun with packs on.
Pitch 
4
5.10a
11.   
12.   
13.   
14.   
11. Chris on Pitch 4, surrounded by rock.
12. Fun climbing on Pitch 4.
13. Old belay bolts midway up Pitch 4. The new bolted belay station is higher than this.
14. Not quite the same as a piton, looks like something you can get at a hardware shop.
Pitch 
5
5.9
15.   
16.   
15. Looking up Pitch 5 during one of the rare sunbreaks we had.
16. Chris climbing near the top of Pitch 5. This pitch ends on the fin of rock to climbers' right of the chimney/crack system.
Pitch 
6
5.6
17.   
18.   
19.   
17. The "Medieval Alleyway", a cool feature at the top of Pitch 5.
18. Chris strolling through the Medieval Alleyway to the other end where it narrows and is easy to chimney up and out.
19. Chimneying up and out of the Medieval Alleyway. There is a crack in the right wall that would take some gear, but the climbing is pretty easy so Chris did not set any pro. There is a bolted belay station above this on the left.
To the summit
500' of 4th to low 5th
20.   
21.   
22.   
20. Looking at the final scramble to the summit. We unroped and soloed to the top.
21. A wild deattached fin high on the east walls of Mt. Louis.
22. Soloing to the top. I prefer soloing to simuling on this terrain, where gear is sparse and rock is a bit chossy.
On top!
2,667 m
23.   
24.   
25.   
26.    
23. Nearing the summit.
24. Nearing the summit.
25. Metal cross on the summit.

26. Smoky views from wildfires in BC (summer of 2017 was a bad fire year for BC).
Descent 
10 single rope rappels from bolted anchors on SW side of peak.
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32.   
27. Looking down from the top of the rappel route. The rappels go down a gully system.
28. Rappelling. Although we had 2 ropes, we did all single-rope rappels. This went fairly quickly (1 hour to base of rappels). On this terrain, I don't think double rope rappels are any quicker, and increase the chance of getting a rope stuck or pulling rocks down.
29. After 5 single-rope rappels, scramble over to the notch in the photo. Make 5 more single-rope rappels (or double rope if you dare) down the other side.
30. Rappelling in an alleyway of wild chimney features.
31. At the base of the rappels, beginning the hike back to Edith-Louis col.
32. Nearing the Edith-Louis col. Less than 2 hours back to car now!