Trophy Wall, Goat’s Eye and Three Sisters
The Trophy Wall is one of Canada’s most impressive and famous ice climbing areas. It’s found high on the north face of Mount Rundle above the Bow River, Banff golf course and Trans Canada Hwy. There are a number of climbs on it, the classics being Terminator WI6, Replicant WI6 and Sea of Vapours WI6. The wall is soaked in climbing history, from the first ascents to the free-solos to the bolt wars that saw an established route stripped of hardware.
There’s a lot of drama in the world of climbing and the Trophy Wall has long been at the centre of it, but its also given rise to legendary ascents and epic days above Banff. Next time you’re driving between Canmore and Banff, be sure to look for the Trophy Wall. There aren’t any ice climbs formed yet this year, but there are some tall smears that might fill in later in the ice season.
Every peak along the Bow Valley has so many stories to tell. Farther west is Eagle Mountain at Sunshine, where the Goat’s Eye chairlift carries skiers to the tops of runs like Stampede, Raptor, Sunshine Coast and Freefall.
The lift was opened in the mid-1990s to great success. An article hangs on the wall in Trappers pub in Sunshine Village from The Calgary Sun in 1995 titled “An Eye to the Future.” It details the history of Sunshine and how glorious the new Goat’s Eye lift was going to be. It noted that Goat’s Eye was approved in 1978, but it was put on hold during the early 1980’s economic crash in Alberta.
The article quotes owner Ralph Scurfield, whose family has owned the hill since 1981, as saying, “Goat’s Eye will change the way people ski Sunshine. I honestly believe people will be getting off at mid-station, skiing Goat’s Eye all day and going home.”
Scurfield wasn’t wrong, countless skiers have spent full days on the sun-baked slopes of Eagle Mountain. Sunshine was closed last week due to the cold snap, but the weeks leading up to it saw some great powder skiing off all Sunshine lifts. I’ve been putting my mid-week pass to work in afternoons and still find fresh snow. We’re lucky to have such great ski hills close by.
I don’t fully understand how private companies, like ski hills, are allowed to function within our National Parks, but I know that there are a lot of locals who disagree with it. Even more Bow Valley residents object the proposed expansion of the Three Sisters development. There’s a lot to know, but no matter what anyone says, the development will 100 per cent reduce the already pleasured wildlife corridor.
I suggest that you do some research and stay informed, as this could have a huge impact on the Bow Valley. There’s a public hearing on March 9. Visit canmore.ca to register as a presenter and let town council know your thoughts by writing them a letter.