Wasootch Slabs offers rock climbing opportunities in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Wasootch Slabs are located a relatively short distance south of the TransCanada Highway on Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40) in Kananaskis Country, west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. There is good parking at the end of the short road at well-signed Wasootch Creek along Kananaskis Trail (Hwy 40).
The bolted and anchored sport climbing opportunities on the south-west facing slabs are numerous across a broad range of skill levels. This excellent recreational and training location is a good place to transition from the indoor climbing wall to climbing rock.
Available climbs are well documented in the book ‘Sport Climbs in the Canadian Rockies’, compiled by John Martin and Jon James and published by Rocky Mountain Books.
On this cool and breezy afternoon, rock climbing exercises are being practiced on the Wasootch climbing walls in preparation for later season missions. The climbing opportunities are laid out linearly along a short hike up the dry creek bed. Lunch is good accompanied by a magnificent view of Mount Lorette and the always distinctive and colorful Mary Barclay's Mountain.
After lunch, top-roping begins the day's climbing exercise. The objective today is to practice single rope techniques (SRT) required as an alternative to using a mechanical ascender for climbing up a rope.
Following the rappel into Forget-Me-Not Pothole, or any vertical cave, there are likely no usable rock walls to climb out, so it is necessary to climb back up the rope used for descent.
Normally, this is done with mechanical ascenders but it can also be done with prusiks which are short, properly knotted loops of rope. These friction loops are tied around the climbing rope in a way that they can alternatively be slid up the climbing rope and then tightened to grab the rope for vertical lift.
One prusik is for the leg lift, and the other is attached to the climbing harness. When downward pressure is placed on a prusik the friction knot tightens onto the climbing rope. The two prusiks are used alternately one step at a time to haul yourself back up the climbing rope by sliding the prusik up the rope for the next lift. The practiced process is cumbersome, secure, safe and hard work. The SRT technique is using rope to climb rope.
Photos taken without helmets are at the climb base while testing with very little to no exposure but there is still no excuse for it. Rock helmets are absolutely mandatory for safety anywhere near a rock face. Stuff falls from the wall.