Frank Slide, Alberta

Frank Slide is a mecca for accessible bouldering and is slowly gaining widespread popularity.  It receives little attention though the area has thus far 2200 boulder problems!  Frank Slide offers boulders for almost all ability levels from V3 to V12.


How did this jumble of boulders get here from a historical geological perspective? The Frank slide occurred at 4:10 a.m. on April 29th, 1903.  The slide was caused by the unstable geological make-up of Turtle Mountain.  The roar of the slide when it occurred could be heard from Cochrane, over 200 kilometres away! During the slide, scientists estimate that the rocks were moving at rates of 120km/hr.


The block of rock that fell from the top of Turtle Mountain was 1 km wide, 500m high and 150m thick.  Tragically, more than 90 people were killed by the slide.  Many of these people were never able to be recovered due to the depth of the rubble.  Approximately 500 people living close by in the townsite of Frank were untouched by the rockslide.


“New Frank” or Frank townsite as we know it today is not the townsite of “Old Frank” which was deemed an unsafe location and buildings were either removed or dismantled in 1911.  New Frank is located on the other side of the highway in a more safe location from future possible slides coming off Turtle Mountain.


The Grassy Mountain Coal Project, which was to be an open-pit coal mine project, and extremely close to this area, was thankfully cancelled because it was deemed to have “significant adverse environmental effects”. Kudos to all those environmentalists that stood up and made their voice heard in order to get this project shut down!