9/6/13 – Sonnie Trotter has redpointed a five-pitch 5.14a, Castles in the Sky, on Castle Mountain, the prominent tower of dolomitic limestone about 20 miles west of Banff, Alberta. Trotter, who said he’d been dreaming about this route for a decade, put about 10 days of work into the project this summer. The route, which is reached after a multi-hour approach, climbs a dramatic arête on one of the lower buttresses of Castle, a peak best known to climbers for the classic route up Eisenhower Tower on its east end.
Trotter said the route goes in five or six pitches, with two long 5.10 pitches leading to the crux. This wild pitch can be done as a single 55-meter lead at 5.14a, or it can be broken into two leads at 5.12+ and 5.13+, with a hanging belay in the middle. Two easier 30-meter pitches (5.12– and 5.11–) gain the top.
In 2011, Trotter and Tommy Caldwell put up The Shining (5.13c, 15 pitches) on Mt. Louis, also in the Banff area. Click here to watch a short film about the first ascent of that route.
Date of ascent: September 2, 2013
Source: Sonnie Trotter