Mount Babel
3101m (10174ft.)

Located between upper Consolation Lake Valley and Moraine Lake. Banff Park, Alberta
Latitude 51; 18; 20 Longitude 116; 09; 40, Topo map 82N/08

Panorama viewpoint: Moraine Lake Road; Castle Junction. Can be seen from Highway 1

Named in 1899. The small mountain named the "Tower of Babel" lies immediately to the north of this peak. Official name.

First ascended in 1910 by A.R. Hart, E.O. Wheeler, L.C. Wilson, H.H. WorsfoldJournal reference CAJ 3-73.

Photo: Looking south to Mount Babel from the Moraine Lake Road
More photos

Other Information
Photo: Looking south to theTower of Babel (left) and Mount Babel from the Moraine Lake Road

The dramatic east face of Mount Babel rises vertically some 1000 metres above the Consolation Valley near Moraine Lake. The mountain was the scene of one of the most dramatic rescues in the history of the National Park Warden Service.

The extremely steep east cliffs of Mount Babel were the site of a climbing accident and dramatic rescue in August, 1966. Charlie Locke and Brian Greenwood had bivouacked on a small ledge below an overhang, about 75 metres from the top. The next morning Charlie spent an hour placing pitons into the overhanging wall while standing on a stirrup suspended from above. Suddenly the highest piton pulled out and Charlie fell backwards into space. He dropped 15 metres until the last piton and Greenwood’s belay stopped him. However he had broken his wrist and after a painful struggle regained the ledge where the two climbers were now stranded.

Walter Perren organized and supervised their rescue the following morning. It was the first time a helicopter was used in a Canadian Rockies rescue. It also made use of a block and tackle system that had been devised by Perren for just such an eventuality. The system involved a cable on which warden Bill Vroom was lowered to the climbers below. Three times Vroom descended over the edge and was then pulled over to the ledge by a rope thrown by Greenwood. First Locke and then Greenwood were pulled to the top of the cliff while on Vroom’s back. It is one of the classic stories of mountain rescue in the Canadian Rockies and likely Walter Perren's finest hour in the warden service. He was honoured in 1968 when Sapta, peak number 5 in the adjacent Valley of the Ten Peaks, was renamed in his honour.

The story is dramatically told in "Switchbacks" by Sid Marty.

See Mount Perren (Siffleur area) and Mount Perren (Valley of the Ten Peaks)

Climbing Routes
East Face IV 5.10 A1
An impressive rock route. Maybe it cannot be called a classic (having only been climbed twice) but it certainly offers an exciting day's climbing. An amazing effort for the time when it was first climbed. The majority of the route is now free, with a few points of aid that keep the grade reasonably sensible (5.10). The climbing and the rock are both very reminiscent of the longer limestone rock routes on Yamnuska and Chinaman's Peak. The route follows a line of cracks and chimneys to a ramp line that ascends right to left across the face. Above the ramp the right-hand of two prominent chimneys is followed to the summit. The second ascent was completed in a day but the party ended up spending a night out on the descent because of a wrong turn! If you don't get lost then this route can be a one day affair car-to-car. Dougherty, Selected Alpine Climbs page 111
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