Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge

Banff + Yoho, Alberta

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Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge


  • Approaching up Cougar Canyon.- Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge
  • Looking up the route. This is a good chance to pick out the way to go and the various bands that present themselves.- Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge
  • The turn off. The trail is far from obvious, but it is just before the big sandy cliffs, so backtrack about 100 meters and you should find the trail with some care. - Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge
  •  There is a lot of loose rock here. Triple check your placements, always in direction of pull. If you're new to limestone, use protection and be cautious.- Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge
  • Scree bashing to gain the ridge.- Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge
  • The first technical section.- Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge
  • A good view going up the ridge.- Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge
  • Balancing on the ridge.- Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge
  • Climbing on the ridge mostly involves awkward steps, which is much more challenging than climbing. - Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge
  • Looking toward Grotto Peak.- Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge
  • The view down toward Canmore.- Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge
  • The most technical of the ridge sections.- Mount Lady MacDonald: East Southeast Ridge
Overview + Weather
Close to town. Fast alpine climb. Beautiful ridge.
Very loose rock.
Banff + Yoho, AL
Trad climbing, Non-technical rock
Pets allowed: 
Site characteristics: Drinking water: 
Unfrozen water
Recommended Equipment:
Helmets, Harness / rope / anchors, Trad rack
Class / Rating: 
5.4 (V Diff 4d)
Highest point: 
2,606.00 m (8,549.87 ft)
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade II
Number of pitches: 
Year round: 
Parking Pass: 
Permit required: 
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Primary aspect: 
East facing
Total Distance: 
7.30 km (4.54 mi)
Total elevation gain: 
1,200.00 m (3,937.01 ft)
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,406.00 m (4,612.86 ft)
Typically multi-day: 
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

Lady Macdonald's southeast ridge is a route that has grown in popularity in recent years thanks to it's proximity to Canmore, alpine feel, and wonderful views. The Rockies Central Guidebook has the best images and descriptions of this specific climb. For trad climbers looking to get more into the alpine, this is a excellent place to test skills. The comparatively easy technical grade and simplistic route finding make it very straightforward. But there is plenty of loose rock and tricky ridge movement to keep you on your toes. 

This route starts in the Cougar Creek parking lot. This is the same lot used for Cougar Creek and Lady Mac. Proceed up the creek, moving about 30 to 40 minutes up the trail past the closer sport crags. Just past Cosmology Crag, but before Canadian Forks Crag, is a small cairn that veers steeply up the hill to the left. From here the climb is a grind up steep and unconsolidated goat paths. The popularity of the route has been improving the trail. Eventually you will reach a first band. Take the solid rock up the face here and gain a slight ridge. This leads you back to a big scree bash heading upward and upward.

Eventually you'll reach the first technical climbing pitch. While steep, the climbing is juggy protects better than the rest of the pitches. From here the route is a pretty easy progression onto the ridge and along some beautiful and narrow ridge climbing. The ridge gives way at a small gendarme, forcing a descent to the east of the ridge and taking a slab pitch up it's back on the ridge. Easy walking takes you to the final section of fifth class climbing, and you top out just beyond the main path to the false summit of Lady Mac.

For images and a detailed technical description of this route, refer to the Rockies Central Guide by David P. Jones.

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(7 within a 30 mile radius)

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