Over 100 years ago the north face of Turtle Mountain detached and slid, covering the valley floor below with thousands of limestone boulders. Thankfully many of these boulders are large enough to bear climbable problems.
Because the rock is so fresh, geologically speaking, Frank Slide is a pretty unique bouldering area. The rock is incredibly clean, with nary a hint of lichen or moss. Textured faces and crimpy edges abound, and there are very few erosion features.
Despite the jumbled look of Frank Slide, many of the landings are pretty reasonable, though you will want pads and spotters. Established problems are scattered throughout the slide and development is ongoing. There are many more problems than are currently documented.
Frank Slide is a provincial historic site, managed by the government of Alberta. There are no current access issues for bouldering. Please respect the area and other people you encounter to ensure that this remains the case.
The information in Bouldering in the Canadian Rockies is a bit dated, but it will still get you to many of the problems. The updated mini guides are excellent though (and free), and have all the info you need for the areas they cover.
Conditions are typically good between spring and early fall.
Frank Slide is located in Crowsnest Pass, just east of the small town of Frank. Highway 3 (Crowsnest Hwy) runs right through the slide, so you can't miss it. The slide covers a large area, so where you park will depend on where you want to boulder. Pullouts exist right off Highway 3 or along 152 Street, which parallels Hwy 3 to the southwest and is accessed from 150 St in town.
Pick a direction and go. There are boulders everywhere and not much in the way of trails. It is best to arrive with a good sense of exploration if you aren't with someone who has been there before.
There is a small full service campground right beside the highway on the east side of Bellevue. Take the turnoff for Bellevue East Access and turn right. You can't miss it. For $10.00 a night you will enjoy flush toilets and the sweet sounds of semi's thundering down the road.
There are grocery stores and restaurants west of Frank Slide in the town of Blairmore.
Early in the morning on April 29, 1903, 30 million cubic meters of limestone crashed down from Turtle Mountain and covered the valley floor below, tragically killing 76 people. The boulders at Frank Slide are the result of this rock slide.
You can learn more about the history of Frank Slide in the Interpretive Centre, which overlooks the slide.
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