Updated: Jul 10, 2019
Just finished the Batoche route today.
Open to the public.
The preferred approach is to warm up on the four-pitch 5.6 Minihappi route.
Back To Batoche begins 150 meters directly above the last pitch of this climb.
The other option is to bypass this route and head directly to the base.
Pitch 1/ 5.2 30 meters - 1 Bolt 1 Piton - Pick any of the ledges at the base where the rock begins to get steep.
Pitch 2 / 5.3 30 Meters - 1 bolt Walk up and left to the visible chimney clip bolt crank the move.
Pitch 3 / 5.6 30 Meters - 4 bolts 2 pitons Climb over up and right over broken terrain for 10 meters. head up a steep wall on exciting rock
Pitch 4 / 5.6 23 Meters - 2 Bolts 1 Piton Climb to the steepest part directly above the belay.
Descent: Rap Route is the ice climbing descent. 30 meter walk north. you can see the station from the top of the route.
I like the rock on this route. Water and avalanches have polished it for millions of years. I am certainly am not the first person to climb this route. The Army Cadets extensively used t. You will see the remnants of a few climbing eras some going back to the turn of the century with the Swiss guides.
The hike up to the base of Batoche takes about 25 minutes and is well marked out.
The route itself is pretty easy to find. Located about 5 minutes from downtown Banff by car or better yet you can take the Roam Bus from anywhere in town. You can catch it at the train station or the high school downtown hub. The hike up to the base of Batoche takes about 25 minutes and is well marked out. From the parking lot follow the well marked out trail at the north end of the emergency airstrip. Enter the trees just after the PC avalanche warning sign.
If you are going to climb Minihappi first, then you will start on the other side of the creek on the first wall of rock. Walk to the middle of that slab, and you can see the bolts above you. The climbing here is pretty straightforward and well recommended. If it is rope work that you are working on, then you can get a bunch of pitches in by combining both routes. If you are in a hurry, you can mix any of the pitches and do it in two 50 meter lengths.
Once you leave Minihappi and head another 150 meters up staying on the same side water. Warning: you do expose yourself to the cliffs above. Rockfall is not likely but is possible so you may want to give this route a miss under extreme weather events. Like a hard rain.
The Batoche climb follows some pretty low end terrain for the first 60 meters. Mind you it is steep enough in places that you are glad you have the rope on. The last couple pitches go at easy 5.6. The rock is really quite interesting. There is a collection of older era protection from former generations. My favorite is the old bed frame angle iron bolt hangers. Most have been crushed by rock at some point.
What I like about this route is the way the Bow Valley opens up and you have great views of the surrounding valley.
Where and what is a Batoche
You can think of Batoche the way Muslims think of mecca, and Jews believe in Israel. For many Metis, it is the only homeland that they have left.
The Metis people were driven from their homeland in the Red River valley in what is now Winnipeg. 1776 was the year that the country of Canada negotiated a settlement with the people of the Red River.
With a promise of title to the land that they had settled for generations, they welcomed the new countries militia force. Things changed rapidly. The force consisted of the best collection or raciest, violent, Orangeman. The Red River overnight went from being the safest place in North America to something that represented wartime Iraq.
Beatings, tar and feather, rape, and murder became commonplace overnight. A large portion of the population were driven off their homeland. Many headed into the interior of the Northwest Territories. The land what is now central Saskatchewan became the new settlement of these displaced persons. (sounds a lot like a modern day refugee story) These plains were well known to the Metis from a century of being the meat suppliers of the fur trade.
To make a long story short. Once the Metis were displaced and John A MacDonald ( Prime Minister at the time) quickly moved settlers in on his newly built railroad. The Metis saw the writing on the wall and went south to retrieve their political/spiritual leader. Louis Riel began the bargaining process of acquiring land title once again.
MacDonald was having a hard time justifying the cost of his pet project the transcontinental railroad. So it was that he shuffled in an armed force of professional soldiers and volunteer militia.
The rest is history. Once again, the Metis were forced off their homeland. This time many moved into what now is the Edmonton, Red Deer, Red Earth, Rainbow Lake, and the Peace River areas of Alberta.
"Back to Batoche" is a gathering of the Metis people at Batoche/Duck Lake. Each year they gather for cultural and political get-togethers. For those Metis like myself who live outside of what is a more traditional Metis community, it is one of those places you can take your kids so that they can reconnect with their culture. The gathering lasts about a week. Music, food, dancing, and inspirational speeches take place for the whole week.