Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bye-bye Skiing, Hello Climbing

Spring has been filled with the last few glorious days of skiing, as well as the first glorious days of the climbing season. Skiing and climbing in the same season- what a luxury! I could definitely get used to that sort of mixture in my daily life.

To finish off the ski season, Ian & I drove down to Canmore and stayed at the ACC clubhouse- a highly recommended, super cheap accommodation for anyone who loves mountain culture. Our first day there it was Ian's interview day at Sunshine Village for a spot on the prestigious Ski Patrol. So while he was in his interview, I skied by myself all day! Apparently this sort of thing is useful for improving your technique. The place was empty- I only managed to get on a chair with 3 other people that day!

The next couple days we spent with Dan up at Bow Hut. We skied up Mt. Collie (3,143m) on a gorgeous spring day. Unfortunately there was a humungous cornice on the summit, so we made it to within about 100m of the summit.

Dan looking up at Collie Shoulder. The summit is just on the left outside the photo.
Mt. Ayesha's famous wind-scoop.
Mt. Gordon.
Me, smiling and ready for the final descent back to the hut.

Okay, so here's where the climbing season begins! And as you can tell from this photo... maybe we were a little too excited to get out climbing!
Carsten cleaning a route at Barrier Mountatin, K-Country, in a snowstorm.

A few weeks later, Ian & I climbed Mother's Day Buttress. This photo is from pitch 6, with Lake Minewanka in the background.

Since Ian is working & living at COE (Custom Outdoor Experience) for the summer, we have been climbing in Nordegg quite a bit. Carsten came up from Canmore for a few days and we climbed Mt. Abraham via the Shoulder Route (5.8 IV).

Above is the last couple pitches before the long scree walk to the summit.
Ian & Carsten taking a look at the the route, just after we got caught in a pretty exciting thunder storm. Thats Lake Abraham behind them.
The happy summit party picture :)
On the descent, there was a beautiful rainbow to add to the scenery.
Carsten on the descent of Mt. Abraham.

My next little adventure was with the Alpine Club to climb Ha-Ling's NE face in Canmore, AB.
Ha-Ling's famous face, before the sun had touched it that day.
After this route, I became obsessed with dihedrals! OMG this pitch was wonderful. All I wanted to do was climb dihedrals.
The happy summit party picture! Susan, Luc & Kyler doing the happy dance!

I couldn't quite bring myself to go back to Edmonton right away, so I went to stay with Ian for a few more days in Nordegg. I tagged along on a crevasse rescue course that was going on, and actually it worked out really well since I hadn't practiced a rescue since September!

Mike trying to find a crevasse to fall into on the Boundary Glacier.
Ausi & team ascending the Boundary-A2 Col.
Descending the Athabasca Glacier after coming over the Boundary-A2 Col.

Summer is definitely in full swing now, and so I went out to Jasper for 8 days for a climbing leadership course put on by Rescue Dynamics & The Alpine Club.

The day before the course started, Carsten, Dan, Emily, Ian & I went to clip some bolts at Lost Boys.
Day 1 of the course we went over anchor building & gear placements. This is a 4-point equalette anchor- the strongest, most secure anchor you can build. You can also build a 2 or 3 point equalette if you have bolts/pitons, or 3 solid pieces of pro. Use a 5 or 6 meter prussik with clove hitches on the pieces of pro, and over-hand limiting knots below these.

The whole gang at a rappel station on Goats & The Machine in Hidden Valley. We did four 30 meter rappels, 5 people in 1.25 hours. Efficiency is key!
Rocky Mountain Sheep on the approach to Pedrix.
Ernst giving Dan a hand belay on one of the short-rope sections.
Summit carin of Roche a Pedix.
Hidden Valley and all it's glory, with Roche Miette towering in the background.
Dan belaying Ernst on the final pitch of the Layback Route in Ogre Canyon.
Day 7 and we're back at Hidden Valley. Dan cranking the roof on the 2nd pitch of Tick Paralysis.
Cyril rapping down beside us, putting in some new rap anchors.
Up on top of Cyril's Slab Emporium, with Roche Miette in front of me.
Roche Miette brewing up a storm.

That's it for now. This week Ian, Dan, Carsten & I are going up to Castle for a few days to climb, so stay tuned for those picture and more (New Mexico, Banff Highline Trail, Wiwaxy Peak)! Also, please let me know what you think of my pictures! I am really trying to improve my photography skills, so any help I can get I always appreciate it. Climb on baby!

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