|July, 2003 7897' Gain- 2800'+ 5hrs+/- Northeast Face, 5.6
|August 21, 2006 6hrs+/- Northeast Face, 5.6
|Lat/Lon: 51.058333 N / 115.4 W- CLICK FOR TOPO MAP
I have run up Ha Ling (Chinaman's Peak) many times, winter and summer, as have
most locals. I have done the NE Face twice and if I did it again, would be tempted to
solo the route. It was a much cleaner route in 2006 than 2003. Rock fall is still the
appropriate hazard on the route and must be respected whether below or above
other parties, which is common.
The Bow Valley Rock guide book details this route extremely well via a great topo
map. It details 12 pitches, however, the first trip we did it in 9, the 2nd trip in 8 and it
can easily be done in 7. We took 2.5 hours of actually climbing in 2003 and 3.5
hours in 2006. This is not an overwhelming route by any means. The first four
pitches are easily soled via the competent climber. Pitches 7-8 are also easily
combined, particularly with double ropes.
Drive south of Canmore as you would for the Grassi Lakes climbing area, up the
Spray Lakes gravel road and park southwest of the dam. Walk across the dam and
through the gate to the east. Pick up a trail on the right that leads up to a larger trail,
turn right and then immediately pick up another trail that meanders through the trees
as it climbs towards the base of Ha Ling on your left. There are several braided
trails, try to pick up the one to the right and it will be better trodden. Once you make it
to the buttress, descend slightly before you start the scrambling portion up the NE
Scramble 100m+/- angling back right to reach a large flat area directly below the
climb. You will pass several bolted stations that guides use for less experienced
climbers. This scramble portion is made up of pitches 1-2 of 12 if you are going to
pitch out the entire climb. Most can also comfortably solo the 5.4 pitches 3-4 which
is an uneventful 60 meters.
Pitch 1/5- 25m-5.5/ Climb past a piton and up to a bolt belay to your left. All of the
belays are very comfortable on this climb and I placed no gear on my leads.
Pitch 2/6- 40m-5.6/ Move back right past several pitons and a bolt to a short right
facing corner before a longer left facing corner that originates below. Continue
climbing the steep wall to the left of the corner to a bolt and then traverse right again
across the top of the longer corner to a belay ledge with bolt belay on the edge of the
Pitch 3/7-8-45m-5.6/ You can easily combine these pitches accepting a little rope
drag. Move up to a ledge 7 meters above to a piton and then start moving left on a
broken corner/ramp and past a bolted station on the left. Now comes a fun move on
the route. Move up and right slightly to an obvious break in the band of overhangs
immediately above and climb through to a ledge system. Move left and continue
climbing to gain a large ledge with a bolt belay 5 meters higher than the band.
Pitch 4/9-45m-5.6/ Move up above the belay and then traverse right across a slab
(bolt) to a short corner. Continue up and right onto the edge of the buttress
(exposed) and then go up its right side to a ledge at the base of the long, upper
corner system (bolt belay).
Pitch 5/10-45m-5.5/ You are now below the most aesthetic part of the route, a corner
reminiscent of the Joy (Mount Indefatigable) or Escargot (Mount Norquay) routes,
albeit short lived. Climb the corner for approximately 20 meters and then start
moving left on easier ground utilizing cracks, etc to continue to ascend. You should
find one piton out on this wall. Rejoin the corner as you continue to ascend, then
move out left again on a small ramp and climb an awkward runnel to a bolt belay.
Pitch 6/11-45m-5.5/ Move back right over a bulge and climb a short wall to the left.
Continue up a loose corner/gully past a piton, step left and finish up a groove to a
Pitch 7/12- 35m-5.4/ Scramble up a groove angling left (I found no piton here, but did
not feel I needed it either) into the final corner. There is a bolt belay just below
topping out, but you can continue to scramble up and do a sitting belay on top.
Just scramble on down the trail that leads left on the south side of Ha Ling and
follow the road back around to your vehicle. Tennis shoes are more than adequate
for this descent.
CLICK TO ENLARGE PHOTOS
1. Ha Ling from Canmore
2. At the base of the Climb
3. First 2 Scramble Pitches
4. Pitches 3-4 which can be Combined
5.-11. The climb pretty much in order.