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!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The New Pad

Well, I'm finally moved into my new place in Canmore. It's been a tough move, but I managed to purge quite alot of personal belongings! Now, I just need to get them out of the garage...

This new place is beautiful. The house is hidden behind huge trees, and the backyard is equipped with a fire pit & slack line. The living is set up to practice yoga in, and we have a wood stove to keep us warm in the winter.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We are movie stars.

A week of backcountry skiing at the ACC's Asulkan Cabin in Rogers Pass, BC. Three bluebird days, three deep powder days, and a super fun group of friends. Enjoy the video.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Pumpkin Traverse, Lake Louise

In January I dragged a bunch of my friends out on a ski touring/winter camping, just for fun weekend. We decided to do the Pumpkin Traverse, which starts at Lake Louise ski hill, goes over Lipalian Mtn, Purple Peak, and then Unity Peak, over to Boulder Pass (which is also used to get to Skoki Lodge), and then a long flat ski out for 20 km or so back to your car. We had so much fun diddling around in the mountains, and it just so happens that my friend Ewen was trying out his new helmet cam that weekend, so I have a video to show you!

That's me with the bright gold backpack, and blue snow suit. Very stylish, I know.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Climbing at Black Band, Banff

The weather has been pretty fine here in Canmore the past couple weeks, and so some friends came down to Canmore for a weekend of rock climbing. Saturday we went to Wasootch Slabs for some wonderful, sunny, 10 plus degree climbing. Since Saturday was so nice, we were all pumped for early season climbing and decided to head back out for another day! Sunday we found ourselves at Black Band in Banff. The approach is only 10 minutes of easy strolling, before a short 100m scree slope to get to the base of the climbs. Once you hit the river, you look up at the huge face and there is a big black band running across it, and all the climbs are below the band.
TL, Emily, and Barry ready for day 2 action. Notice the toques- later we had snow but I didn't get any pictures of it since I was unfortunately on the wall!

TL with the castle (Banff Springs Hotel), river, mountains and rock.

TL in the late afternoon sun, taking down an anchor.

I am super stoked for the climbing season, and considering it's only March and we've already been out a few days, it should be even better than last year. Living in Canmore for the season will certainly help in getting in more climbs. It's about a half an hour walk from my place to Cougar Creek climbing area, so it's my new goal to incorporate a climb or two into my morning run (which means Ian has to come with me, and we have to run with our gear!), but it still should be awesome. Let the climbing season begin!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Running the Skyline Trail

This video is from a while back, but my little sister who did this with me is as far away as she possibly could be and I miss her! So, I thought I would share this video with you. We ran the Skyline Trail in Jasper National Park (yes, I know we're crazy), which starts at Maligne Lake (which is a great paddle by the way!). Sweet footage shot by our personal videographer... the one and only Ewen Clark!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kaua'i, Hawai'i

A week in paradise. Bringing in 2010 with sunshine, surfing, and smiles.

My trip began with the usual lost luggage and stress, but the moment we arrived at our ocean view casa- all worries and stresses were long gone. We spent our days lazily strolling along different beaches, snorkeling, hiking the Na Pali coast and Phea Trail in the Waiamea Canyon, etc. The beaches were something only dreams are made of, and the fish were more colourful than the ones in Finding Nemo.

The Na Pali Coast trail, 22 miles roundtrip with no road access. This picture is looking down at Hanakapai'ai' Beach which has wicked tides that kill many tourists each year.

After a glorious day sailing along the coast with dolphins and whales swimming along side us, we went for a hike up on the top of Waiamea Canyon, on the Phea Trail. The earth was so red here, and it is incredibly different than the lush, jungle like North Shore we were at before. Both equally and indescribably beautiful.

Waiamea Canyon.

We finished the trip off with some surfing in Hanalei Bay. The days were long and each one more incredible than the next.

Ian & his papa heading out for another session.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh, how I'm taken away...

Many adventures behind! So, I'll try and put the winter so far in a nutshell (or a few paragraphs).

Winter began with huge amounts of snow falling in November. Ewen Clarke, good friend of mine made a video of our trip to Jumbo Pass hut over the Remembrance Day weekend:

Jumbo Pass - November 2009 from Ewen Clark on Vimeo.

After this crazy start to the ski season, I mellowed things out with some much needed girl time. I lead a group of 7 amazing women into the Alpine Club of Canada's Elk Lakes Cabin for the weekend. Emily Laycock helped me with this one, and did an awesome job c0-leading her first ACC trip! We found some awesome snow in a nice N facing alpine bowl to the S of the hut on Mt. Foch. Ridiculous amounts of cheese, drink, and chocolate PLUS all that skiing made for an all around wicked weekend.

The lot of ladies outside the humungous ACC Elk Lakes cabin (above).

In December my sister Julie came out to visit me in Canmore to try out ski touring for the first time. She is an awesome xc skier, so when she strapped on some downhill skis for the first time it looked pretty good! We spend a day skiing at Sunshine, where Julie found the green and blue runs "too flat and slow", so we mostly skied on the blacks and double blacks in the trees! Then we skied up Observation with another friend of mine, Brace Lee, who is a true ski bum if you have ever met one! We had a great day up there, even though we started off in -30C temperatures. The next few days Ian joined Julie & I for a few days at the Pass. The first night we stayed at Wheeler Hut, and then spent two nights at the Asulkan Hut.
Above, a picture of the three of us (well, our shadows) skinning up the triangle moraine on a spectacular December afternoon.

Above, Julie & I happy as ever on top of Triangle Moraine in the Asulkan Valley (Asulkan Hut behind us to the left).

Okay, more tomorrow- my banana bread just came out of the oven!