Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Leaning Towers

Somewhere around mid May I got a last minute rare opportunity to visit a remote area in the southern Purcells, the Leaning Tower group. The area is part of the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Provincial Park which was founded in 1974 to protect a huge area between Invermere, Kimberley and Kootenay Lake. Since it is a Provincial Park, there is no motorized access and it took us more or less 2 days with very heavy packs to establish base camp below the south face of Hall Peak, the highest mountain in the area.
This project was part of a Patagonia sponsored film/photo shoot with Steve House, Vince Anderson (athletes and models), Christian Pondella (photographer) and Bjarne Salen (camera). Big time helpers behind the scenes were Simon Meis and Brodie Smith who made it all happen.
We got blessed by great weather and stable snow conditions, which allowed us to get awesome footage and eventually accumulated in the possible first full ski descent of Hall Peak without the aid of a rope.
selfish me getting first tracks on Hall Peak
(Steve House Picture)
The biggest eye opener for me though were the endless opportunities for high quality granite rock climbing perspectives. Everywhere you look there are cracks, corners and other features that slice through the steep, mainly unclimbed walls. A perfect alternative to the already crowded Bugaboos 100km north, specially for climbers seeking out new lines.

Thanks to all the team members for their team effort which made this such a special and unforgettable trip for me. I sure hope to get a chance to return to this wonderful corner of BC in the near future.
mind blowing ski objectives, hard to choose what to tackle next
and then the rock, clean, featured and plentiful
northern lights from camp 
the silhouette of Sharks Finn and Hall Peak
Block Tower and Wall Tower to the right, the just beg to be climbed.
Unbelievable, the entire south side of Sharks Finn Tower is unclimbed, what a pity. The right hand , slightly higher  mountain is Hall Peak, which hosts a few moderate routes on the right side and we skied off the back side. 
Here are more high resolution pictures in case you want to visit the place in the future, it might help you with scoping out some new lines, will it be climbing or skiing.


ferg said...

Hi Gery,

this sounds like an interesting opportunity that fell into your lap. The Towers area is awesome and feels very remote indeed. I'm not entirely certain what you mean by "without aid of a rope" (summer ascent?), but 6 Kimberley folks and 2 from Revelstoke have skied off the summit, at least.


gery unterasinger said...

Hi Chris,
Thank you for your comment. "Without aid of a rope" I mean that we skied off the summit without rappelling or down climbing. Other ski descents we knew of or found on the Internet rappelled of the summit rock band and the lower rock band that gets you back under the south face. I am very well aware that others might have done this already, since it is not that hard if you get the right conditions, we just did not find information on it. Thanks for letting me know and lets hope the area stays as it is, lots more great adventures to be had.

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