I finally made it to Skaha/Penticton and was able to escape the bad weather in the Bow Valley. Almost 3 weeks of continues cold temperatures and significant snowfall way below treeline was enough for me to make a move. It was the first time in 8 years that I climbed there without the kids, which actually felt quite strange. Probably half of the climbing population of Alberta was there too and the campground got very busy over the weekend. Banbury Green is such a nice set up, right by Skaha Lake but very quiet, despite it's close proximity to the highway and Penticton. Although officially closed, the owners let you camp there for 7$ a night, which is a bargain in my opinion and should not be abused by opportunists.
Derek Galloway joined me for the trip and although he did not climb for 7 months (his personal record), he started the season with a 12d, 13a and a 13b (all 2nd go!) and the impressive Pressure Test, a 35m 13c. Pressure Test is an all natural route through the most intimidating face of Skaha, in between Air Test and Breakfast of the Champions, which are both enduro routes in the 13a range,Jay Audernat hooked up with us for the weekend too, it's been exactly a year that I saw him last. During this time he has not lost his passion for hard climbing and he was cranking as usual. For all the girls watching this blog and set and eye on him, dream on, he is taken!
Here you can see great looking Jay on a great looking route just left of the classic Wings of Desire, a 13a/b named Power Toy-maybe a reference to his heavily tattooed body from his wild teenage years.
My usual early season shape (aka no endurance and no finger strenght) did not allow me to follow in their footsteps, but I found plenty of easier lines close by to keep me entertained. Just hanging out with those guys and realizing what's possible if one's motivated... that is very inspirational. Now I'm back in Canmore, the weather is good again and I still have some time off. Hopefully I can take advantage of this break and get myself in decent shape for things to come.