Mt Rundle 280M WI 4
ATES 2 to top of 3rd tier/ 4th bolted station and
ATES 3 beyond
First climbed in 1974, Professor Falls can be easily seen from Highway 1 and is approached from the Banff town site by either a bike ride or an hour and half walk. It consists of several tiers of short steep pillars and curtains and culminates in a crux WI4 pitch at the very end. A total of 8 steps. The stepped nature allows many parties to climb the route at the same time relatively safely and on busy days, the route sees multiple ascents. It can also be used to approach the Trophy wall and Sacre Bleu. All the stations have bolted anchors and the route can be rappelled or a walk off in the trees on climbers left with a short rappel is possible too.
109 people completed the survey
56% climbed it 1-5 times
16% climbed it 6-10 times
28% climbed it over 10 times
84% have seen avalanche debris on route
21% have witnessed an avalanche in the area
Time of Year and Day
February- April saw the greatest number of ascents and debris, then December to January and lastly October to November
64%, of avalanches witnessed occurred between 12:00-18:00pm
36% between 6:00am-12:00pm
Avalanche Start Zones
55% of the people surveyed believe the avalanche started well above the climb
12% believe it started from the feeder gully before the last pitch
15% believe it started from above the last pitch18% no idea
Avalanche Run-out distance observed
68 people witnessed debris between the last and the second last pitch
51 people witnessed debris between some of the middle pitches
28 people witnessed debris at the base of the first pitch and lower
There were 70 responses to describe the runout distance and amounts, ranging from no debris to very large amounts at all lengths of the climb and all the way down the approach path and to the river. Almost burying the entire first pitch, as well as leaving little to be climbed for the last pitch.
Depths described as 30 ft, 7m and mind-boggling amounts.
Reported Avalanches and Incidents:
- Critically buried between the second last pitch and the last pitch but was dug out by partner’s helmet.
- We just approached the final pitch, when a size 3 avalanche released from the bowl above the large cliff above the climb. More or less by chance, we could hide on the side of the gully while the flowing part passed us, piling up meters of snow right next to us.
- After pulling over the second last pitch I noticed very heavy winds. Walking up to the last pitch I also noticed significant sloughing. While setting up we heard a large crack from the trees above on climbers right. A few seconds later some very large chunks of snow came flying down. We took cover on climber’s right rock wall probably size 1-1.5.
- 5 maybe close to a 1 came down on me and two others on the last pitch. Loud crack followed by minor flow of snow on the pitch itself and a few large blocks launching off the cliff climbers right
- Finished the route early, Wind transport on ridgetop all day. When driving back to Canmore witnessed a large slide. Powder cloud went over the river.
- I remember reading an account (from parks?) of a spring avalanche during a rain event that ran almost down to the river. Apparently multiple parties were on the route (why?) but all somehow escaped unharmed.
- Remember a story from a coworker who climbed it once and found a fresh pile of debris with a rope sticking out. I think he did his best to search the debris but couldn’t fully free the rope. He never heard any reports of missing people so assumed it was all good…
- It was a warm end of season climb. We were a bit caught off guard there was that much snow still above. The slide never got to us a the start of the last pitch but the cornice failure gave us cause to abandon the climb and rap out .
- I have seen debris piled up at the base of the last pitch many times. I once found a nice new rope cut and sticking out of the debris at the base of the last pitch, so I dug it out and had a nice 40 m chunk. Someone has a close call.
Several people noted witnessing large avalanches from the highway, and other areas flow over Professors and all the way to the river