There’s a little-known oasis of rock and forest only a short drive from the buzzing metropolis of Calgary. The name gives a hint as to its mysterious allure. This is The Ghost.

Ghostly morning mist
Ghostly morning mist

I’ve travelled to many places and experienced many landscapes but perhaps my favourite is the front-ranges of the Canadian Rockies. Gun-metal grey cliffs rise above green valley floors, piercing the sky with their unforgiving jagged towers. This is an abrupt landscape. In other places the flat grasslands of the prairie slowly give way to rolling foothills. Those foothills gradually become bigger and steeper, eventually revealing rocks and cliffs. Before you know it, you’re in the mountains. Here in the Ghost it’s different. Imagine peacefully strolling along a calm, flat field of verdant green when suddenly you run up against a massive vertical cliff.

Dave working his way up a crack
Dave working his way up a crack on Bonanza

I came to the Ghost to climb with James Madden, a guide with climbing company Yamnuska. James did an excellent job of guiding me and Dave, a climber from Edmonton, up some of the area’s classic climbs. Over three days we climbed Bonanza, Nut Cracker Suite 2, and Consolation. My favourite was the final climb with a very airy traverse. Imagine tip-toeing across a narrow ledge with nothing but a thousand feet of air below you. Exhilarating!

Sunrise
Sunrise

I loved exploring this remote bit of nature. It’s so close to Calgary that you can see downtown’s skyscrapers popping up from the flat prairie, yet so few people know about it and even fewer visit. If you’re looking for some striking scenery (and great climbing too), I highly recommend it!

Early morning sun-rays bring rock to life
Early morning sun-rays bring rock to life

Read about another trip with Yamnuska – Alpine Climbing in the Bugaboos.

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