Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Something Old, Something New

It certainly didn't get any warmer over the week since Chad and I were last in Canmore... in fact it got a little colder.  At times it was a little too cold.  Consider our first day where we figured the high to be around -25C.  I'm still feeling some lingering frost-nip from leading that day.  Despite a somewhat favorable avalanche forecast the recent fatalities and natural releases coupled with the phrase "unsurvivable avalanches" kept us playing it pretty close to the vest.  Dodging avalanches is becoming a theme in my trips to the Canadian Rockies this year.  Despite, Donn, Chad, Rob and myself rallied for some good climbing.  Though I felt the low-hanging fruit was all taken, I managed to climb new routes on three of our five climbing days.

It's already late February and because of a busy March I won't be getting in the traditional early Spring ice climbing trip.  Though I'm sure I'll still get another 5-10 days of ice this season I can already feel the motivations subtly shifting from ice to alpine and even rock.  I can't say I finished any of the projects I started the season with.  However, I feel like I made some progress and given an opportunity am much closer to realizing those dream routes.

Who knows maybe my the Spring will shape up favorably and I can still make a couple forays on the big rigs?

Chad climbing "Moonlight"

Donn leading up "Snowline"

Donn on the first pitch of "Weeping Wall Right"

Rob following second pitch of "Weeping Wall Center"

Chad enjoying a perfect day on the second pitch of "WWR"

Chad cruising "Shagadellic"

Just trying not to lose my "Mojo" on this pumpfest

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Wrong Side of Zero

And we ain't talking Celsius!  

Chad and myself enjoyed a chilly uber-bowl weekend ice climbing up in Canmore this past few-days.  We were joined by Marcus and Jeff for a couple days.  Scary avy conditions kept us away from the big rigs.  For the most part we stayed in the canyons clipping bolts and enjoying some of the best mixed climbing Canada has to offer.  Add to that watching an epic failure by Ben Raper Rothlisberger  and I'd say it was a pretty good weekend.

Pretty busy day at Bear Spirit our first day.  The curtain is starting to fill out, but there are still a lot of moderate mixed lines to tune up on.  Day 2 saw Marcus and Jeff at Louise Falls with single digit temps and heavy snowfall while Chad and I scrapped around at Haffner.  Chad crushed his first M lead which included a runout on overhanging ice.  The temps plummeted even further on our third day, -8F.  We got a late start and went for some low hanging fruit at Grotto Canyon.  The climbs are short, 12m, but surprisingly fun.  With the ice in current condition there was a big of a run out from the last bolt to the first screw... but that just added to the routes.  The middle route featured a double steinpull followed by a big reach to a free-hanging ice feature.

Chad running up Pitch 1 of Carlsberg.

Pitch 2 of Carlsberg.

The surprisingly fun mixed climbing in Grotto Canyon.