By the numbers:
- pitches: 7
- car elevation: 1296m
- base: +168m = 1465m
- top: +283m = 1748m
- car-to-car: 8h06 (start 11:12)
- approach: 1h09
- lunch: 0h27
- climbing: 4h07
- descent: 1h54
- average time to lead pitch: 25min
- average time to follow pitch: 13min
After failing to find Rundlehorn on Monday (argh!), I asked Justin for suggestions of climbs that he had done. One of his suggestions was Beautiful Century, a 7-pitch sport climb within my desired grade range. There was a bit of sandbagging with respect to the approach time. We're pretty spoiled with respect to approach times in Ontario; 1 hour-plus approaches seem to be standard in Alberta.
The approach to the area starts near the Francis Cooke Regional Class 3 Landfill. The obvious way is through the landfill, but there's an enclosing perimeter fence and you can see the actual path outside the fence. Fortunately, the landfill staff let us out the padlocked gate with wishes for a good hike. Saved us some backtracking.
Unlike for Rundlehorn, finding the base of the climb was only mildly challenging. (I'm pretty sure I got to within 200m of the base of Rundlehorn, but never figured out in which direction to take those 200m). After decreasing backpack weight by eating lunch, we started climbing at 1:15pm.
- probably have too much stuff in backpack.
- got to the first anchors and felt like I forgot how to climb: the first pitch is definitely sandbagged at 5.8 (slab, not quite enough hands) and then I had to remember how to set up the anchor.
- turns out that it was only the midpoint anchors for rappeling; you could go on to the real first anchors, but that makes a long pitch, especially with challenging terrain lower down. I'd recommend splitting into two pitches if it's been a while since climbing that kind of route.
- pitch 2 crux described as a no-hands mantle after a traverse. Justin found it out of character with the rest of the route (i.e. harder). It was, but I didn't find it that bad.
- except for pitch 4, the difficulty was homogeneous. I found the 5.8 pitches to be harder than the 5.9 pitches in general. The line wanders, but Justin points out that all lines in the Rockies wander if they're not just 5.3 scrambles.
- excellent Yamnuska views; route stayed in the shade for us. Didn't see any ticks.
I knew that sunset was late (yay May), so our combined 40 minutes per pitch was going to be OK. Been faster on easier terrain. Bolted anchors make things a lot faster. They're great. Descent walk is reasonable although I found it long. Could rappel, but would rather walk than rappel. Got to the car, back to Canmore, and failed to find reasonable quick-supper choices; even A&W was closed. Got food from supermarket.