The East End of Mount Rundle is also commonly referred to as EEOR. This relatively easy scramble offers great views of the Bow Valley corridor and views further south along the canal. On clear days you can even make out Mount Assiniboine in the distance. Ha Ling Peak (Chinaman's peak) being 183 meters shorter does not offer this opportunity. The secondary benefit over neighboring Ha Link Peak, are the crowds. While many people do ascend this peak, it is substantially less. If you have a choice of spring training to get the legs moving between the two summits, our vote would go to EEOR.
With views overlooking both Canmore and Banff, the mountain that extends for 12 km received its name in 1858 during the Palliser Expedition. The name Rundle came from the Reverend Robert Rundle who visited Banff several times in the 1840's. Reverend Rundle was one of the many Catholic Roman missionaries dispatched to the West during the 1840's. It was after him that John Palliser named the giant rock after.
Predominantly composed of limestone, Mount Rundle is made up of outcrops of these limestones from the Rundle Group. For those who are interested in geology, the Rundle Group is a stratigraphic unit of rock with rock layers and layering dating to the Mississippian of that was in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. These outcrops on the north side of Mount Rundle were first noticed by R.J.W. Douglas in 1952. It received its name from Mount Rundle and at its thickest it reaches 230m in width at Tunnel Mountain. The Rundle Group thins out towards the east and becomes completely eroded and absent in east central Alberta.
Mount Rundle is one of the most distinctive peaks in the Banff area. It is also the most photographed and painted with its unique attribute of the mountain's reflection in Vermillion lakes. It is the most breathtaking at sunset or sunrise and brings many photographers waiting to capture the perfect moment when the sun's evening or dawn's colours paint the mountainside in shades of pink, red, orange and purple.
For those wanting to reach the highest point of Mount Rundle, it happens to be the 3rd summit when going from north to south. You are unable to reach it from the east end of Mount Rundle with any ease. The approach would be from the west end, steep hiking and short scrambling bits are required. Stay tuned for that trip report.
East End of Mount Rundle (EEOR) Trip Log
If you parked at the top of the hill, look back up the road a few meters until you see the power lines on the west side of the road. The last power line pole on the right, just before the trees disappear and it all turns into rock is where the trailhead is. If you parked in the Goat Creek parking lot, walk back uphill and follow the same trail.
The trail does not waste any time before it starts gaining elevation. A narrow hiking trail takes you up through the trees and the ground beneath you alternates between soil and rock. The goal is to stay on the higher ground. There will be one part that is visible on the GPS print out at the bottom of this trip report, in reality the trail appears to want to go straight, resist the urge and hang a right. This appears as the one right turn near the start of the trail on the GPS overlay.
On my way down, there appeared to be hiking bypasses for the majority of the rock and slab portions. They are not difficult to overcome and are a bit more exciting than taking the bypass. As you gain elevation there will be a narrower part that requires you to hike along and then conduct an easy, couple meter scramble. It does offer a fair bit of a view as well.
As you scramble up and over the little ledge, you are presented with a good outlook of what the rest of the route entails ... Hiking mostly. There will be a trail that is easily spotted and takes you onward.
The next obstacle is similar to the previous one. A narrowing part that requires a little hands on and a small scramble up the ledge.
As you continue your ascent, there is a popular view point on your right hand side that you can check out. This essentially puts you on top of a near vertical face that reaches down to the road below. On my ascent, the fog was so thick that it appeared the rock jutted out on a cloud with just a big marshmallow only a few feet below the lip. I went back on the descent to compare and to actually take a usable panorama and the drop was tremendous. Great view though.
From the viewpoint you have two choices. The fun and exciting way ... and the not so fun way. Depending on your comfort level with heights, you might be stuck with the not as exciting route. The easier route entails traversing underneath the cliff face until you find a weak spot you can simply walk up. The path is rather narrow at times so care should be taken. If you are ascending this way, keep note of where you came up as from the top, there are a few exits that look similar and simply lead to a drop.
The second choice is a bit more exciting, follow the highpoint to the feature dead ahead. You can scramble up and along until you come up near the first high point. Below you get the stunning view of the funnel like shape that empties below. There is a fair bit of loose rock littering the route as well.
Once you reach the first high point, it does appear to be the summit, but if you look towards the west, there sits the true summit. This high point does offer a large resting area as well. Depending on how much snow is present, you might have to descend around it. I looked from the backside later on and the snow bank looked to be about 2-3 meters deep on this day. The ascent to the true summit is a short scramble along some loose rock.
The true summit of the East End of Mount Rundle has a cairn and a log you can sign as well, hidden away in an old ammo canister. The views are great in all directions with Mount Rundle dominating the view to the west. You can wander further west but the route soon turns increasingly difficult.
As you make your descent, you have once again two choices. You can either down climb the more exposed scrambling portion, or walk off down through the cliff face. If you came up that way, the descent is the same as the ascent. If you did not, there is a bit of searching to find the correct spot. I decided to descend the easier way, I went down a few gullies I thought looked doable, but about half way down they turned into drop offs with plenty of loose scree below my feet. The true gully is fairly large and looks like a long ramp leading down. Once the easier spot was found, there were not complications and it was a mere walk back down.
GPS Plotted Route
On both of the maps, you can see the parking area in relation to where I parked. I started logging as soon as I stepped out of the Jeep, so where the blue starts is where I parked. The other option is the Goat Creek parking area. Near the summit, the GPS log splits into two, the trail on the right is the ascent, and the trail on the left is the descent route.
The route up the East End of Mount Rundle is a rather steady ascent with only one very short level portion around the 1.2km mark. The loss in elevation from the first to the true summit was about 35 meters. This could have been less if conditions presented no snow and you could walk over instead of having to go around.
Click here to download the GPS route in GPX format. You may have to right click and select "Save Link As" if your browser does not download it automatically. Be sure to save it as a .gpx file.
What were your experiences scrambling East End of Mount Rundle (EEOR)?
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