Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Close call on Wilson

The seldom formed route "Dancing with Chaos" on the impressive south walls of Mt. Wilson.
Unfortunately the incredible upper pillar never touches down, but would make a good contender for a perfect mixed start.
In my opinion, a good, bolted multi pitch mixed route should involve some challenging ice which never or very rarely touches down.
Some of my favorite examples are "Nightmare on Wolf Street", "The Real Big Drip", "Cryophobia" and of course the mighty "Rocket Man". 
Chris had to turn away as he could see disaster unfolding.
It doesn't matter how many guides patches you wear, the mountains are unforgiving if approached carelessly.
Below I try to describe a close call that happened on the climb, just as a reminder of the importance of  proper equipment.  
A seemingly excited Steve Holeczi showing off his brand new "idiot straps".  Things are all good  up to this point, the stoke meter maxed out.
Shortly thereafter the moment of horror. Steve dropped the all so important ice tool and guess what happened...well before the tool had a chance to fly into the abyss, it caught on the new straps and everything was fine. One could only imagine how things could have unfold if he did not have those straps. I'd say good Karma, Steve. 

Shortly thereafter, still mentally recovering from this near miss, Steve was able to continue the climb as if nothing ever happened. His mind at ease now, knowing that his tools are secured to his harness in case of another mishap.

An hour later Steve is happily following the second pitch, the memories of the close call already erased by the mind blowing climb.
I certainly did not forget the trauma earlier on the route and learned my lesson for the future.
I truly hope we can all avoid future near misses with sharing this particular incidence with the public.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

powder pleasure close to home

One must not always drive to Rogers Pass to get some powder turns in. A couple of days ago I took advantage of the Parent-Teacher interviews and brought Luka out for a Papa-Son quick hit on Mt. Norquay. The ski area is closed during the week and the Great American Chair has not opened for the season yet, so it's always a treat to get on it before the masses shred it to an eternal mogul slope.

untouched slopes high above Banff

gotta get the first yard sale  of the season out of the way
Luka could not resist the temptation of treading the top station Teahouse as a terrain park...

...which resulted in the second garage sale of the season.
I guess I should have brought the helmet.

the virgin Lone Pine run with the closed ski area below

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

tumbling towards Winter

After our arrival from Europe we had a mixed bag of weather, kinda typical for late fall here. There was still some rock climbing to had on the rare sunny days, but overall it was more pleasant to choose activities where one could wear gloves.  I certainly did not get out as much as usual, due to a combination of a bathroom reno, a lack of motivation,
a good week of  rock scaling work and the much needed recovery time afterwards.
Nevertheless, whenever I did get out playing- a combination of rock climbing, dry tooling, mixed climbing, slack lining, pond hockey and ski touring- I certainly had a lot of fun and I did not want to miss it.

"Premonition" on the Wild West Wall, South Ghost

spindrift shower on pitch 3 of "Nightmare of Monsieur Hulot"

Looking back after another great adventure on the Stanley Headwall
Nightmare of MH connects the skinny pillar in the center with the upper right curtain.

Sunset over the front range seen from Gap Lake

Tim McAlister demonstrates the art of a way too short of a scalers lunch break.
Eating, napping and dreaming about the next big trundle at the same time.

Ian Welsted in his element...sometimes scaling feels like full on alpine climbing.
The suffer factor is high, the rock loose and the outcome uncertain.
Once a year Jeff Relph and I master the ability to choose routes which are way over our head,
and somehow manage to pull them off.

The local Canmore dry tooling area of the future. SE facing,
30-50m high and desperately overhanging and an approach less than an hour.