Rundle Mountain - Banff
WC - Big Water Course Gully
Scramble: Class 1 Steep Hiking
Altitude: 2,949m (9,673 ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,570m (5,150 ft)
Ascent Time: 3 1/2 5 Hours
Best Season to Scramble: Mid-May to October
This scramble along with Cascade Mtn are the two
"Classics" of Banff National Park. It has lots of elevation gain and it seems to
get steeper with every step. You earn your elevation on this mountain right to the all
fours scrambling at the very end.
Head west out of Calgary on the TransCanada highway # 1 to
Banff 132km (82.5 miles).
Take the first exit into Banff, follow this road all the way through
the main street of Banff (Banff Ave.) to the bridge across the Bow River. Cross the
bridge, turn left and follow the road around for .8km (.5 miles). Go straight through the
first intersection and take a left at the second intersection onto Bow Falls Avenue. This
intersection also has a sign on the left saying "Banff Springs Golf Course/ Bow
Falls". Drive .5km to the Bow Falls parking lot.
From the parking lot head down the road across the bridge and
walk to the end of the first golf hole which is on your right. At the end go right and
around the end of the first golf hole and backtrack along the first hole about halfway.
There should be a sign showing the Spray River/Rundle trail heading left up an old road.
Continue up this old road for a few minutes and the Rundle Trailhead sign will be on your
left. From here you enter the forest and begin a steady uphill grind for a couple of
hours. After an hour to hour and a half you will see a trail heading up left. Do not take
this turn but continue on straight ahead. This trail is for climbing to the secondary
summit not the main summit. The main summit trail continues to the big water course gully
as in the picture above. This is the official end of trail. Do not attempt to go up this
gully. The correct way is across the gully, up through the trees and onto the ridge. This
will place you heading up the open ridge with the big watercourse gully on your left. Look
back a few times to get the right point to drop down to the end of trail gully on your way
back. Coming back down the ridge and going too far will cause you to miss the end of trail
point and lead you into impassable cliff bands below. Follow your nose up the ridge, the
last section before the summit curves to the right and is really loose scree. Persevere
you are almost there. Return the same way you came.