Friday, November 25, 2011

The "unwanted" point of no return-part two

Compared to part one, we had a bit of a bigger goal this time. My partner Jeff Relph and myself had never climbed Virtual Reality and we knew she's formed. Lisi and her friend Felix, both from Austria, joined us for the drive and climbed the mixed version of "but my daddy is a psycho". A brutal drive with lot's of new snow brought us to the trailhead. More snow and strong winds accompanied us for the approach, but nevertheless we started out climbing in these marginal conditions, thinking we can bail anytime.
Above you can see us on the approach with the fat 'Murchinson Fall' in the center and "Virtual Reality" to his right. When we reached the base of the fragile top pillar the winds increased to hurricane force, and the gusts were almost constant. Neither Jeff or myself had a big desire to make a mandatory sideways rappel past the overhanging mushrooms below us. Our "return" was cut off by a bad anchor, off fall line rappelling in gale forced winds with the high likelihood of stuck ropes and/or getting 'shroomed'. Therefore the only way out was past this hollow pillar with bad sticks and even worse pro. Frozen wood fingers and flying ice crystals which barely allowed us to open our eyes, a lead I'm not looking forward repeating. From the top we had to crawl in paralyzing winds over to the top anchor of Murchinson, which provided a still exciting, but much safer rappel.
On the way out the weather did improve a bit, and for the first time we could see the mountains on the other side. The drive home turned out to be another adventure with a maximum of 50km/h.
I know that in my 18th Winter in the Canadian Rockies I still haven't seen it all, but before this me fool assumed that at least wind wise I've had the worst already. Maybe that is why after all those years we still have the urge to go out there with our sore bodies, in the hopes of experiencing the unexpected.

1 comment:

maikaljj said...

Mind-boggling job mates, I take pleasure in longing your articles.
unlimited satellite internet