Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bourgeau left

After being beat early morning yesterday by another party, I was beat again by a party today, who was there later than expected. I was hoping that nobody would be in the lower part anymore at 1 p.m., but those guys where still dicking around on the first pitch. Since I was way too keen today to touch some ice, I took my chances anyways. I had to take a little risk on the first pitch, where I decided to follow the second guy of the party on his heels, just to take the least possible chance to get hit by ice. It's a fine line of beeing very close behind him to minimize the impact of his dislodged icechunks-which by the way turned out to be huge-and being too close and ripped off the ice in case the shaky climber falls. Just before he arrived on the first anchor, I passed them, and by the time they finished reracking, I was already at the midway ledge. Now I did not have to worry about hitting them with ice anymore. They were really nice guys by the way and also from Canmore. I had myself a blast on the route and I'm slowly gaining confidence during soloing. This was the second time already I soloed this climb, it's a proud line and I can do it easily in 4h roundtrip from my doorsteps.The picture above was taken a couple of days ago from a beautiful "full moon sunset" on Lady Mac.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Uniform Queen

After 5 days of sitting still at my First Aid refresher it was time to push my pulse above 60 again. Thankfully I got a hold of Marc Hammer, who was keen to join me for an adventure up on the Stanley Headwall. During soloing Nemesis last Sunday, I saw a lot of potential for some new lines, and more importantly, it appeared that the very rare Uniform Queen was formed. As we pulled into the parking lot in the morning, Raphael and Eamonn beat us by minutes with the same goal in mind. Although a bit disappointed, we decided to walk up anyways, and maybe try one of the other potential new routes close by. After a bit of a confusion at the base, the two Canadiens could not resist trying this new line between Suffer Machine and Uniform Queen, therefore in a sudden the Queen was ours. Since Hammer has not had a chance to touch any ice yet this season, he offered me to lead all the pitches, which was a nice tread for me. Since I was only out once before and not quite broken in yet,I had quite a challenge on the first 3 pitches. They were all quite serious and runout, specially the 2nd pitch, with only one piece of protection in 40m. The 4th pitch was an almost vertical candle with good ice and awesome positions. Overall, a challenging climb in a wild place, which had to be celebrated with way too many beers in the Drake.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Finally I got out today, just in time before I have to sit for 5 days at my First Aid refreshing course. Since the weather sucked lately (at least for ice climbing) I did not make any plans with anybody, so I found myself driving alone towards Banff. The weather was nice and we had a cold night, so I was hoping to get a chance to climb a long time goal of mine. After climbing Nemesis at least 6 times already (honestly I lost count) and guiding the climb twice, I declared it as my favorite ice route. Now it was time to solo it, and I wanted to do it early in the season, to get virgin ice if possible. Well, everything worked out fine, I was the first one on the route this year, and it turned out to be the big challenge I was looking for. Now I can endure the next 5 days a little easier.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lady Mac

I know, I should be ice climbing by now, but I just don't feel like it. It's way too warm here (+11C at noon) and I strangely don't mind. I'm sure there is some ice to have with some driving and hiking. I only have a few days before my time is up and I don't have the big motivation to get in shape for something, I don't have time doing in the next 2 months anyways. So I spent the day with the family and later in the afternoon I took a hike up to Lady Mc Donald. On the way up I realized, that I have not been on the summit of my "hausberg" in many years, which is odd, considering I can leave my house without driving and make the top of this land mark mountain in under 2 hours. Half way down I got beat by the early darkness, thankfully the lights of Canmore brightened the path.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

last day/last smoke?

Yesterday I finished my fall work at the lodge with a bonfire. Not because Matt and I are so romantic, more so because we had to get rid of some "burnable shit". After all we had a good off-season and a lot of fun, so let's hope the winter is arriving soon up there, the snowline in the Vowell is at a scary 2000m still. I also smoked my "last" cigarette tonight, see how long it last's this time!