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.