The first Mountain to greet you when heading West into the Rockies is officially named “Mount John Laurie” , more generally known by the native name “Mount Yamnuska”. The unique looking rock formation is hard to miss as it is remarkably straight and vertical. It’s name is cool sounding and derives from its Stoney name “Lyamnathka”, meaning “Wall of Stone” or and also “Flat Faced Mountain”.
The Geology of this vertical face of limestone is an amazing geological story. The photo below show the sheer cliffs with the McConnell thrust fault separating the upper and much older Eldon limestone (500 million years) from the younger sandstone Belly River formation (80 million years old). Normally and in simple terms, layers of sedimentary rock are laid down one atop the other so layers near the top should be younger than those beneath. This is not the case of “The Yam”, as the McConnell thrust fault put older rock on top of younger rocks.
For more info check out Bow Valley Geology Walks of Mt Yamnuska
A great scramble – for more info check out Hike Alberta – Mount Yamnuska
Learn more with the book “The Yam 50 years of climbing on Yamnuska”
If you look closely you will identify Mount Yamnuska in the Movies, “Legends of the Fall” which was shot in the Morley area, Kevin Costner’s “Open Range” and the naked cliff jumping scene from “Brokeback Mountain”.