Mt. Louis

This prominent peak near Banff has been attracting climbers since legendary Mountain Guide Conrad Kain led the first ascent during an “afternoon picnic” in the early days of Rockies climbing. It’s stunning appearance and long climbing routes make it a much sought after objective. As a significant bonus it has what is perhaps the best quality limestone of any big peak in the Canadian Rockies! 

Mount Louis near Banff Alberta

Elevation: 2862m / 9390ft

Location: Banff National Park.  15 minutes from Canmore.

Difficulty: Long days on routes ranging from 5.7 to 5.10 with tons of pitches!

Logistics: Climbed as a long day trip from the Canmore/Banff area.  Up to 2 guests can join the guide for ascents of Mt. Louis but 1 person is recommended unless you each have significant experience.

Prerequisites: Previous multipitch rock climbing and rappelling experience.  Good endurance.  Ideally some limestone scrambling experience.

Climbing Mount Louis near Banff
The Perren Crack on the Kain Route up Mount Louis


Kain Route (III, 5.7):  After a 2 or 3 hour hike to the base, much of the mountain is climbed via difficult scrambling with some moderate rock climbing pitches scattered throughout.  Once we reach the upper section of the route there is more sustained & challenging climbing up a beautiful rib of water sculpted limestone.  The very last pitch up the Perren Crack is the hardest and best of the route! A number of rappels off the backside gain the trail back to the road. This climb is a good next step after completing a couple of II routes such as Eisenhower Tower or some long multipitch rock climbs.  10-14 hours round trip.  Group size up to 2.

Gmoser Route (III, 5.8/9): A steeper and more sustained route that has about 15 pitches of excellent rock climbing. Most of the pitches are in the 5.4 to 5.6 range but the crux corner pitch offers tricky 5.8/9 climbing (“old school” grades, feels more like 5.10a to me!) on superb rock. High on the mountain it joins with the Kain Route and climbs the best pitches of that route to the summit. A highly recommended route for those with good rock climbing skills who want to enjoy a big day in the mountains. 11-14 hours round trip.  Group size up to 2.

Homage to The Spider (III, 5.10a): This steeper line up Mt. Louis has long been a test piece for Rockies alpine rock climbers!  Although it doesn’t have an many pitches as the other routes, the sustained 5.9/10a climbing up steep features makes for a very challenging day out!  It has some of the best climbing in the area! Must be very competent at the grade since there is lots of climbing and we will be wearing packs throughout.  12-15 hours round trip.  Group size of 1 only.  

Rock climbing on Gmoser Route, Mt Louis

Gear List

All technical equipment is provided free of charge except for boots. However, if you have any of your own climbing gear, feel free to use it! Rental and purchase information for boots, clothing, and camping gear can be found here. If you are unable to locate any of these items or have any questions, feel free to contact us at any time for assistance.

  • Small Pack (about 30 litres) – available for loan
  • Hiking boots or approach shoes. 
  • Harness – available for loan
  • Helmet – available for loan
  • Rock shoes
  • Sweater/Fleece
  • Rain Jacket
  • Rain/Wind Pants
  • Light Gloves
  • Toque
  • Sunglasses
  • Headlamp
  • Sunscreen
  • Water Bottles (2 litres)
  • Lunch
  • Hiking pole