Climb the Grand Sentinel



8.6 miles

Elevation Gain

3612.2 ft

Route Type


Added by Tam McTavish

The grand Sentinel Spire is one of the most impressive formations of rock in the Rockies. Towering just over 100m, this thin needle looks impossibly daunting from Sentinel Pass on Mt. Temple. But if you venture away from the crowds this incredible feature has two phenomenal rock routes

The Grand Sentinel has two routs on it. While it is hard to access it is a modern classic with bolted anchors, and Cardia Arete is a Sport climbing route. While I could offer my take on this classic,  Chris Perry' Banff Rock is a far better resource than I.

To access the climb park at Moraine Lake lot near lake Louise. In recent years it has become basically impossible to get a spot past 8 30am, so arrive early to beat the crowds (and the heat).

From the parking lot follow the signs up the trail to Larch Valley, and Sentinel pass. The trail winds up through wide switchbacks to a junction. Again follow the trail uphill towards Sentinel pass. This takes you through the spectacular meadows, and larch groves of Larch Valley. Breaking into the alpine you pass under Mt Temple, and up it's flanks along the steep trail that gains the col. 

From here you get your first look at the spire. It's a real beauty. 

You descend along the main trail to Paradise Valley for about 60m before taking a high route along the scree to just above the spire. 

The spire has two routes on it. The main route, a trad 5.8 of marvellous quality. A single rack with doubles of 1.5 to 2.5 inches is recommended. You'll also want the blue cam on your left side if you lead the third pitch. I would consult Chris Perry's book for all the more detailed Beta.

Cardiac Arete is a 5.10d sport climb on the eastern side of the spire. It's a phenomenally high quality route with the bolts pretty closely spaced. It's another climb well worth attempting.   

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