Saturday, May 26, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Another winter is over, and it's time to move again.  Even through all of these moves, I have managed to accumulate more stuff than I really need.  Usually I put it in storage for the summer, only to completely forget about it in the fall and realize how much I really didn't need it.  So, it is my mission this year to try and get rid of all this excess in my life.

The big question remains- How do I do this???  Trust me, it's not easy.  That dress I bought 4 years ago that I've worn once seems impossible to let go of.  WTF is wrong with me??  I've got 10 other dresses in the closet that I would wear before I wore that one.  So, I turned to my friends for ideas and inspiration and here are a few things they came up with:

Have a garage sale.
Take it to a consignment shop.
Toss it and see if you miss it.
Keep only what you would take with you on a trip.
Live in a country for a little while where people have nothing, not even clean water.
Ask yourself: Would you buy this if you were at a store right now?  If no, let it go.
For clothes: Have you worn it in the last 3 months?  If no, let it go.

Well, wish me luck with this cleansing and please send me any more tips you may have that worked for you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Barrier Bluffs, Kananaskis Country

The day starts with a european breakfast on my patio- espresso, a slice of toast from the bakery down the street, and a good book.  It's already 20 degrees and it's sunny.  What girl couldn't resist a day climbing in the mountains in these conditions?  So, I head to the polling stations in Canmore to put in my Alberta Provincial Election vote, and I'm on my way to the Bluffs!  Barrier Bluffs in Kananaskis Country is an early season favourite for climbers in the Bow Valley.  It's south facing, there are large rocks to lounge on at the base of the climbs, and the grades are moderate so you can work the bolts without scaring yourself. 
As usual there was a bit of snow on the approach, but there is usually only a few patches left in late April.


I slowly made my way up some 5.10 slippery, slabby climbs and enjoyed the sun and warm breeze.  What a great intro to the 2012 summer rock season.  I'll be out there this summer and I hope I see you out there too!

  ***A note on hanging out below the climbs at Barrier Bluffs***

Wear your helmet and do not hang out on the large boulders that you probably have already lounged on!  There were rocks the size of my head that landed 2ft away from me as I was getting stuff from my pack.  I was glad I kept my helmet on even when I wasn't climbing.  It really doesn't take much.  Remember this if you ever go- there is rock above you that you can't see.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The David Thompson Corridor: Rock Climbing, Via Ferrata, Kite Boarding, Free Camping

The David Thompson Corridor is other wordly.  Compared to the Bow Valley with it's endless restrictions and structured trails and campgrounds, the DT Corridor is a free spirited dirtbag's dream.  You can can camp along the shores of Lake Abraham at one of many free campsites, and choose from several adventurous activities such as climbing and kite boarding.  I had originally planned on climbing the Silverhorn route on Athabasca, but rain, wind, and warm temperatures kept us lower down in the valleys.  After an alpine start but no climb, we went back to bed and work up feeling groggy.  We hiked up the short but steep approach trail (45 mins) to the climbing on Mt. Stelfox, where you can find several easy-moderate traditional 4-5 pitch routes on good rock.  Or, if you are feeling groggy you can always opt for the Via Ferrata on Stelfox.  It is about 200 m of good, fun, easy climbing.  It would be a good way to introduce someone to the logistics of multi-pitch climbing.  

Ian at the first belay on Mt. Stelfox's Via Ferrata, with Lake Abraham below.

Later that day, we headed down to the Lake (Abraham) to watch Mike kite surf in the chilly glacial water.  What a spot to hang out for the afternoon!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Job = Bugaboo Adventures!

I have wanted this job for several years, and now it's finally mine!  I am the Alpine Club of Canada's newest employee, and caretaker of the FAMOUS Conrad Kain Hut in the Bugaboos.  This is truly a world class climbing destination, with granite spires coming out of the glacier's wazoo.  

Take a look at the ACC's website where you can find more information on the hut:

I have been falling asleep with the Bugaboos guidebook in my hands, dreaming of all the epic adventures to come.  This seems like the perfect opportunity to advance my climbing, while still having time to write the last few pages of my thesis.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Summers Gone, Time to Daydream

The summer season here in the Rockies has quickly come to an end, and everyone is talking about when they are leaving to go down south to climb.  Come October, everyone will have their cars packed to the brim with their climbing and camping gear, and making the journey down to Red Rocks, J-Tree, or Yosemite.  For me, I'm starting off with a Thanksgiving family visit to the Squamish/Whistler area, and then my only plan is to start driving south, and see where the climbing gods take me.  Of course, I've already bought the Red Rocks climbing guide, and have been drooling over the pages for months now, but I'm still leaving the pages of my planner clean.

Dreaming of the days when the burden of the thesis will be lifted... and the days are filled with hot, sweaty climbing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Nhiahi Ridge Traverse

Had one of the raddest days out in the mountains in a while, with some friends from the Rocky Mountain section Alpine Club. I met up with Linda (our fearless leader), Crystal, and Clifton at the Bagel Co. at 7 am, and then we drove down in 2 cars to Elbow Falls parking lot (more of a pull-out), where we dropped off one car for the shuttle, and then drove the 10 km or so to the campground at the end of Hwy 66 (Bragg Creek), which just opened for the year on May 15th. The Nihahi Ridge trail is marked from the end of the campground, and it is a really nice easy trail for about 4 km to just below the South Summit. We continued past the South Summit, along the knife-edge (in some places) ridge for another 10 km or so! There is some easy, exposed scrambling along the ridge, but there are also some sections of pretty easy strolling. There was a bit of snow along the ridge, but not enough to change the nature of the hike really. We were having a pretty stellar day, until the thunderstorms which had been brewing around us for a few hours finally reached us on the ridge! It got pretty nasty, with 50+km/hr winds, groupel, and heavy rain- for 3 hours. Needless to say, we were pretty happy to find a little exit gully near the end of the ridge that would take us out of the wind. As it turns out, the gully we chose had a bit of slippery down climbing and snow walking, but we eventually got into treeline and funny enough that's when the sun came out! No matter which gully you descend, it is a very easy bushwack for a few km until you hit a trail that takes you to the car. We arrived at the cars around 6:30 pm (yeah, we took it pretty slow), and it got back to Canmore around 8:30 pm. Just an all around fabulous day, with a little bit of everything. If you haven't done much scrambling, this is a really good day trip!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Skaha Spring Climbing

Holy moly Skaha was amazing! I just got back last night from my first trip down to Skaha Bluffs, just outside of Penticton, BC. We were super excited about the weather and climbing as soon as we hit the Revelstoke valley, where the trees, flowers, and plants were busting out madly in crazy shades of green. When we left Canmore it was very grey... and snowing! This was the first time in 3 years I had been west of Revelstoke, and it was awesome to see the different (and very beautiful) landscapes of western Canada. It was my first time ever going down Highway 97 through the Okanogan, and I really couldn't believe how different it was from where I live in Canmore, only a few hours away. It's lush, colourful, and everything feels miniature and quaint. The lakes are stunning with the hills protecting them from too much development on either side.

Diamondback Crag, & the super ultra classic 10 a gear corner climb.

Okay, okay, the climbing: WICKED! We camped with our huge posse from COE (staff training trip) at Braebury Greens. This little campground is a gem, with all the sites right along the lake. Around 7am each day it gets too hot to stay in your tent, so we would relax with our coffee and cereal on the shore for an hour before even thinking about preparing for the day. The climbing experience is so great here because everyone feels like they are on vacation (and they are!).

The first crag we went to was Diamond Back wall. With the new parking lots, its only a 10 minute hike away, and has routes from 5.9 to 5.12. It's super scenic, and has an ultra classic 5.10 crack climb that we all made sure we did that day. The bottom has a cool little roof, and the top half is made up of a series of lay-back moves that feel incredible. We had 2 more amazing days of climbing mostly at Red Tail area, and then headed back to Canmore a bit early so Ian could do his ACMG TopRope Climbing Course. Thankfully the car got back okay, after the axel busted right through the rim of the tire as we were driving up to the crag one day!