Route Review - Gobi65. New Route on Mt McGillvary. | Mountain Moxie

Route Review - Gobi65. New Route on Mt McGillvary.

Created: 06/01/2015 - 13:04

In May 2015 Bradon Pullan, Maarten van Haeren and I put up a new climbing route up the NNE buttress of Mount McGillvary in Alberta, Canada. This our story of the first ascent and route description.

Gobi65 265M 5.10a or 5.8A0 Alt Finish - 5.7 (no fixed anchor at top) FA Ian Greant, Brandon Pullan, Maarten van Haeren. May 2015

Gobi65 is a new multipitch mixed route of six pitches that has fixed anchors, some fixed pro but still requires a rack to safely protect it.

The descent is via rappel on fixed stations, but requires two 60M ropes to descend as some of the pitches are longer then 35 meters. This route ascends the centre line of Gobi Buttress on the NNE side of Mount McGillivray.

The route climbs an aesthetic buttress on above-average quality limestone with some worthwhile gear climbing. It is easily visible either from looking above the official Heart Creek parking area or when driving east from Canmore it the prominent skyline buttress just as you round the corner at Lac des Arcs but before the Lac des Arcs overpass.

Climbing is mostly 5.6-5.7 with short cruxes. Rock quality is generally good with some loose sections. Compared to many of the classics in the area I would say the rock is over higher than average quality.

I chose this line because of it's striking position above Lac des Arcs and the presumably good views it would have over the Bow Valley. My hopes were that it would be similar in character to the classic route Mother's Day Buttress located on Cascade Mountain outside Banff, but with slightly harder climbing and a much easier descent. Feel like I got lucky in that is almost exactly how the route turned out. I had scouted out the approach previously but Brandon, Maarten and I did the route ground up in a single day push that was mostly filled with remarks of "wow, this better climbing than I expected!", "can you believe there isn't already a pile of routes on this?".

Why the name?  It's a bit of an inside joke amongst my friends and somewhat of a long story but the short version is it's a dish in a local Indian restaraunt and the route is named in honour of a friend and their battle with Lyme Disease

Route Details

The Approach

Park at the Heart Creek parking lot just off Highway #1 just west of the Lac des Arcs overpass. Head West from parking lot of large obvious drainage and head up the drainage following some flagging. Watch for flag and cairn marking trail exiting left side of drainage as it starts to narrow. You should be on a solid, well established trail. Proceed up steep hill watching for flagging when you reach cliff band. Ascend through cliff band and follow trail as it winds around, across a short scree slope and then overlooks canyon. Descend steep but easy ground to left to drainage as it enters the canyon. Cross drainage, bushwhack a bit to gain ridge and follow ridge to base of buttress. Total elevation. 500M. About 90 minutes.

Gear Required

Single rack to #4 including a set of micro cams. 12 draws at least 8 extendable. Depending on your experience level and comfort on Canadian Rockies Limestone you find a much smaller rack to be sufficient. Most cruxes are bolted and I suspect many would be comfortable with a set of small nuts, a couple microcams and a .4-2 in BD Camalot sizing. Double ropes required for rappel.


Reverse route on rappel until you return to the treed ledge where the route ascended from climbers right on easier ground. The rappel climb skips this awkward lower angle terrain but proceeding directly down the steeper face in two raps to ground. Consult Topo Image for details



About Author

Ian Greant's picture
Ian Greant
Ian Greant is the founder of Mountain Moxie, a project that combines both his love of Mountain Sports, Photography and his experience in Online Publishing. He is an avid climber that primarily specializes in multipitch rock and ice routes. He has established a few routes in the Canadian Rockies and is active with local climbing organizations.

See also

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