Recent favorites

Tags: Posted on October 14, 2012

The last couple months have been one of the best high pressures I can remember in years.  On stat I heard was it's been the warmest summer in Calgary since 1881!  It was so nice in fact that it was impossibe for me to sit at a desk and share the photos, stories, or get much else done, as the mountains were calling.... 

 I'm lucky and grateful to live in such an amazing part of the world.  The Canadian Rockies are at my doorstep and the Bugaboos and Selkirks are a short drive away.   These three ranges never cease to blow my mind!  A few more reasons why I love being a canadian alpinist are (in no specific order):

-I can always find talented and inspiring people to climb with on world class objectives

-There is so much variety in the mountain sports I'm most interested in: sport, trad, ice and alpine climbing + unbelievable deep powder skiing on piste, off piste, ski mountaineering...  All in a relatively small area
-The development of the sport climbing scene in the Bow Valley is going off and provides the perfect training grounds to get strong, have fun, and prepare for harder objectives in mountains
-There is an abundance of multi-pitch adventure routes of all levels, in all disciplines of climbing
-The Rockies provide the world's most consistent, extensive, easily accessible ice and mixed scene - bar none!  
- First ascents -- Although the most obvious lines have mostly been done, some only once, there are still a lifetime's worth of first ascents to do, very much the opposite of Europe or the U.S.A..  I can share that because oddly enough, a little friendly international competition to get to them first would make them even more exciting!

-Getting to the incredible stone and scenery of Baffin Island only requires a handful of airports, no passport, and one day of travel

Here's a few pics from some of the climbing highlights from the last two months, starting with the Bugaboos:

Josh on the crux splitter of Hell or Highwater, Snowpatch Spire


Chris and Simon working on yet another sick new project


Josh leading the first pitch of Chris' other freshly completed new line: The East Columbia Indirect (mid 5.12), located just right of Hobo's Haven on the east end of the East face of Snowpatch.  Easily the highest quality route I've done in a long time!

Me leading the overhanging thin hands to fingers second pitch - photo: Joshua Lavigne 


Josh leading the third pitch


Looking down at Simon and Chris climbing the route behind us.  Simon is seen here leading the second pitch.


And looking down at Chris on the third pitch.

Here's a line of the East Columbia Indirect as seen from the Crecent Glacier.  The fourth pitch finishes up the last pitch of the Power of Lard.  Although 4 pitches is a short route by Bugaboo standards, I'm not sure of another route that has four pitches of this quality, sustained at 5.11+ with a few 5.12 cruxes.  Soooo good!  Start directly or scramble around via the the start of Sunshine Crack.


The Applebee gang


Lydia leading Sheldon's Corner, Easpost Spire


Josh on a new route .12b on Eastpost Spire


And then there's the Rockies. 

Magda enjoying a really fun and new 12-pitch, 5.12- route on Ha Ling Peak above Canmore, called a Particular Manner of Expression.  Cudos to Jeph Relph and a variety of partners for putting this one up.


Colin Haley on the Greenwood / Jones route on the North Face of Mt. Temple.

This classic really exceded my expectations and I'd highly recomend it.  Better than the other routes I've climbed on Temples nordwand. Colin pulling a small overhang near the top of the rock.

Colin on the walking the line to the summit

A raven joined us on top.  Here he's sitting right at the very peak, just a little bit higher than we made it! 


On thanksgiving weekend, October 6-8, Raphael Slawinski and I climbed this line on Howse Peak - a combo of the NE buttress and some mixed variations  It wasn't the line we set out to do but as the Stones said "you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime you just might find, you get what you need".  We got what we needed, a great adventure up an iconic peak!

Raphael looking for the way about a third of the way up

Our first bivi about halfway up

The first pitch of day two was more sideways than up, as we deked out of the mixed gully system and back onto the ridge. 


Good rock climbing on the buttress

Raph following a little traverse between gully systems

Back into more mixed gully action, Chephren Lake below

Raphael sorting out the rope cluster in the sun

Fun couloir climbing in the M-16 gully

Still a bit of a cornice left from the revious winter.  Fortunately it was easily passed

Raph taking in the view from the summit!   

Our second bivi sight.  After descending 1000m of the summit of Howse on our second day, it got dark as we arrived here.  The following morning, we ascended 600m to the misty Epaulette / White Pyramid col above the tent, and then descended down to the river Icefield Parkway beyond.  About 5.5 hours from the bivi to the road.  All said and done, it was a very satisfying and rewarding adventure!


The following weekend, I couldn't help myself but go back to sport climbing. 

Alpine climbing means a lot ot me, but it's pretty hard to beat the overhanging streaky rock at our local crags such as Bataan seen here.  It's just so much fun I don't think I'll ever be full.  Jen onsighting a .12a in the upper photo and Jonny cranking below on a chilly mid october day.