Friday, February 13, 2015

El Ninjo

It has been a strange and rather unusual Winter so far. We are again in the middle of a so called Pineapple express, which means that the jet stream pumps warm and moist air from the general direction of Hawai over the warm south Pacific towards our mountain ranges. The third one so far this Season and also the longest lasting. 
Here in my little heli ski world bubble of the Adamants things turned out to be pretty good, we were able to stay out of the lower elevation wet snow for the most part and the weather was just good enough to hang out in the alpine lately. The guiding though has been particularly exhausting due to the flat light and extremely fast changing weather conditions.
Unicorn in the Adamant group,
with the clouds lingering around the peaks since a few weeks now.
Another big part of my Winter job is ice climbing. Canmore is a great hub for this activity and I already guided 3 weeks of mostly excellent ice. In the Rockies the warm temperatures were rather beneficial to the ice quality and the comfort factor. So far me and my guests never had to deal with the infamous screaming barfies, an otherwise constant companion in Winter outings in ice.
Pilsner Pillar
For the first time I took my guest up to the very top, another 5 pitches of nice ice to had.
Vito and Motz, friends of mine from Austria, came over for an ice climbing trip and sampled a lot of the harder multi pitch climbs. On one of their later outings in the Ghost Motz got hit by a large chunk of ice on his head and had to be airlifted by Kananskis Country Public Safety. I would like to thank them big time for their quick and professional response. We are so lucky to have those guys staged in Canmore with the rescue helicopter right there, there are few places in North America who have this luxury and potentially life saving service available for back country mishaps.
Motz Wurzer negotiating thin ice with one tool after dropping the other one on the last rock move  on the crux pitch of  Cryophobia...don't wanna blow the on sight because of a little mishap.
Vito Messini puts his tools away and enjoys the perfect limestone bare handed.
This is rather rare for January and another nice side effect of El Ninjo.
BTW there is a hanger missing on this pitch.
Traditional Ale, a climb I put up a decade ago with Marc Piche at minus 25C.
Motz enjoys it at plus 5.

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