Cookoo's Next and Andrew Langsford

Posted on March 06, 2011

Had a fine day on the Cookoo’s nest yesterday with Jeff Relph and Paddy Jerome.  The Cookoo’s Nest is a traditionally protected four pitch mixed route in the Kicking Horse Canyon just 10 minutes from my home.  It doesn’t always completely form so I think the winter often goes by without it seeing any ascents.   Pitch one is a thin WI3 warm up pitch, and Pitch two is more of the same with a little M4 traverse to the first cave.  The M6+ crux is then right off the belay on pitch 3, which involves a series of lock offs and knee bars, to gain a one-foot wide, by six inches thick dribble of ice that leads to the next cave.  A really cool pitch!  Green, red and gold camelots in a good crack make for excellent protection.  The fourth pitch involves more overhanging M6- crack climbing out of the cave with excellent rock pro and stemming to gain a dagger and a steep pillar, that despite it’s WI5+ rating, felt like really fun WI4 due to the soft sun baked ice and mushroom like features that adorned it.  Thanks guys!

Golden Classics!

Jeff on pitch 4

Jeff gaining the ice on pitch 4.  


Last night was of a very different flavor.  An amazing group of people from far and wide made the trip to Andrew Langsford’s wake, here in Golden.   It was so good to see Tree (Andrew’s partner in life), getting so much love and support.  Andrew was a good friend and local mountain guide, who just lost a two-year battle with cancer at only 36 years old.   He was an incredibly talented climber, skier, surfer, as well as one of the funniest people I’d ever met.   Tree is also a super talented rock climber and both have inspired me over the years, and I’m stoked to have tied in with both of them on many occasions.   So with heavy hearts, the cocktails and tears flowed as we reminisced about how Andrew had touched our lives.  Love you always bro. 

Here are some pics of a Andrew and I making a one day ascent of the Grand Central Couloir on Mt. Kitchener:

Andrew in the upper reaches of the 1000 meter Grand Central Couloir

The Blanchard / Doyle ice strip wasn't in so we took the original Jones / Quinn variation.

You might have noticed he's following with one tool.  I had dropped one a pitch or two earlier - the only time I've ever done that outside of cragging situation!  Fortunately the upper few pitches are low enough angle that it didn't matter.  


Below is a shot of Tree cranking Venom at the Back of the Lake


Sport mixed climbing with Ines

Posted on February 20, 2011

My good friend Ines Papert from Germany was in Canada this past week to give slideshows in Vancouver and Calgary, and we got out for great day on the mixed routes behind the classic waterfall "Ice Nine".   I had recently climbed it which was nice, although it didn't quite provide that deep athletic pump that a good steep mixed route delivers.  My previous partners just hadn't been into it.  Anyways, climbing there was a last minute descision that day as it was way too cold for our North facing objectives, but it was sure fun to crank in the sun on the super steep "Slaughterhouse" and "Bacon".  Both are amazing routes and can't belive I hadn't climbed them before.  The camera angle from the belay on Slauterhouse is particularly god and all the photos below are on it.  On Bacon, you climb around a roof quickly off the belay and can't be seen by the belayer / photographer for most of the climb.  Slaughterhouse felt hard for the grade at M8+, especially with the ice curtain broken and an extra 5 feet of horiizontal climbing, but Ines still pulled off the on-sight, and displayed why she has won so many competions.  Truly inspiring! I was happy to have made it too the last bolt before falling off on my onsight attempt.  Holy flash-pump!  Neither of us sent Bacon but I got it down to one hang on the second go.  Looking forward to going back and redpointing both of them in a day!  

The next day we were psyched for some trad mixed at the Stanley Headwall, but after skiing in for two hours, the conditons seemed to cold and we weren't feeling inspired for anything else.  We knew it was a gamble going in there with the artic air mass, but inverted tempertures (warmer at higher elevations than at valley bottoms) did not pan out as predicted.  Oh well, the rest was much need! 




Some winter highlights

Posted on January 04, 2011

A few pics from some winter highlights:

Me on the upper Weeping Pillar.  Great Ice, great positions, great day with Ian Welstead.  (Photo: Ian Welstead)


Me on the fith pitch of a new route on the Stanley Headwall.  A heavy workload in December prevented it from being finished, but January looks prommissing.  I can hardly wait! (Photo: Tony Richardson) 


Zoe, my daughter. Born 10 pounds 1 ounce, November 20th, 2010