Trip Report: Along the David Thompson Highway

Continuing my exploration of the Rockies, I’ve added the David Thompson Highway to my list of new places I’m falling in love with.

The Canadian Rockies are a fascinating range, and the more time I spend in its various corners, the more I start seeing differences among its many peaks and valleys. These differences are often subtle, and hard to qualify, but they add to the overall ‘feeling’ of a place, and that’s what makes it unique.

TR_NBTB_01Margo Talbot leading the final, third, pitch of Nothing But The Breast WI4+

The David Thompson Highway heads east from Saskatchewan River Crossing but up until this year I haven’t had the occasion to turn onto its surface. The character of the range changes as you drive east, the mountains giving way to the prairie, mellowing out their junction with the flats. The peaks somehow appear wilder and more rugged, the sky bigger and wider. It’s a totally different ‘feeling’ than that of the Bow Valley, or the Icefields Parkway, at once similar and unique in its own special way.

At this time, I’ve only done three routes in this area, but there are at least a dozen others. The gentle slopes and towering buttresses offer everything from undulating WI2 to steep, unrelenting WI5+. There is something for everyone here, and each time I’ve visited, I’ve wondered why I haven’t come out this way earlier.

TR_Kitty_Hawk_01Kendra Stritch leading the first pitch of Kitty Hawk WI5

I highly recommend driving out this way and checking out any of the routes. This truly is a spectacular area, with a unique landscape and a magical atmosphere.

As there are so many routes here, I won’t talk about them in detail, but rather just use a few pictures from the climbs I’ve done to give you an idea of what this place is like.

TR_Kitty_Hawk_04Kendra on the vertical, somewhat overhanging in places, crux pitch of Kitty Hawk. Margo Talbot below on belay.

TR_Kitty_Hawk_05The views are spectacular in David Thompson country. Kendra on Kitty Hawk.

TR_Forgotten_Land_02There’s mixed climbing, too. John Freeman on the second pitch of Forgotten Land M6+ WI5 (trad)

TR_Forgotten_Land_04The third pitch of Forgotten Land is an awesome half-ice half-rock chimney.

TR_Forgotten_Land_05Kris Irwin on the final bit of ice on Forgotten Land.


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