August 25, 2010

Climbing Mount Sir Donald, Eisenhower Tower and a Wintery Day on Mt Victoria

Tim and Tom descending the Illecillewaet Glacier to Perley Rock, Rogers Pass.
Well the prep work is done and the only thing left to do is wait for the weather to turn absolute crap for the start of the ACMG Alpine Exam. The forecast is not overly nice for the next week and it should add that little bit of hate to what is already a challenging affair.
Spent the last few days climbing a classic troika in The Selkirks and The Rockies. Climbed the 50 Classics - Northwest Ridge of Sir Donald - which was super fun. Instead of descending the route, we traversed over to the ridge on Terminal Peak and dropped down to Perley Rocks. This was a straightforward descent and is probably significantly faster than other options. The last part of the traverse was a bit loose and exposed and would be a bad place to slip. A few days later, I met up with newly weds Ian and Christina for a hot lap on Eisenhower Tower. The exam foreshadowing was quite excellent on this day as it snowed and rained on us for most of the climb. Conditions were no different the following morning when Josh, Carlyle and myself tangoed with Winter on Mt. Victoria. Prepping for this exam has been a surprisingly fun process. Since I'd barely climbed any of the Rockies Classics, everything was a first. This kept things fresh and made the back-to-back 3 am starts much less painful. But don't get me wrong, it wasn't so much fun that I hope to repeat the process next year.

Timmy and Tommy hiking up to Mt. Sir Donald under a smokey morning sky.

Climbing low down on the Northwest Ridge of Sir Donald. The striking ridge in the background is Uto Peak.

Timmy climbing Mt. Sir Donald.

Tommy strolling the ridge. It's really just an exposed sidewalk.

Getting higher.

Nearing the top.

Tommy on the summit of Sir D.

We found this gear on the descent. If this yellow Camalot happens to be yours, thank you for the gift.

The Newlyweds.

Ian, Christina and Eisenhower Tower.

Christina climbing with the Dragonsback in the background.

The apple and the orange about to get slammed!


Christina was so relieved to make it to the summit alive that she forgot which one of us was her husband.

Josh and Carlyle o the Fuhrmann Ledges approach to Mt. Victoria.

Climbing the upper part of the Death Trap with Mt. Victoria in the shadow of Mt. Victoria.

Nearing Abbot Pass.

Union Break at the Abbot Pass Refugio.

Hiking down to Lake Ohara.

August 19, 2010

Climbing Rogers Pass, Mt Aberdeen and Athabasca Silverhorn

A smokey and beautiful morning on Mt. Athabasca's Silverhorn Route. Strong winds carried a mix of Forest Fire and Marijuana Smoke from British Columbia.

Got out for good mix of work and alpine scrambling over the past week. Ross B - fresh off a Euro hot lap -and I spent a couple of days between Rogers Pass and The Lake Louise Area. This was my first time climbing at The Pass, and the Quartzite was a nice change from the steady diet of Limestone. Plus, I got to learn a few secrets about life in the Chamonix Valley. For example, did you know that the Chamonix Valley is actually home to over one million smoking hot Swedish Girls? Now I know you're thinking No Way! There can't possibly be more than half a million in such a tight valley. But apparently this is truth and I would have a hard time believing the fact if it didn't come from the venerable Ross B.

Midnight at Rogers Pass

South Side of The Pass

The most stylish man in the game. Rossta taking over his section of the Rogers - Swiss Traverse.

Chillin in the Swiss Peaks with the summit of Rogers in the background.

Here's a useful piece of advice for the Rogers - Swiss Peaks Traverse: if you have a choice between the north or south side of the ridge, take the latter.

Above the bergschrund on Mt. Aberdeen.

Rapping the bergschrund.

The ice tongue on Mt. Aberdeen.

Daniele came all the way from Italy to climb the Silverhorn on Mt. Athabasca. This was a guided ascent for Canadian Rockies Alpine Guides.

Nearing the top of the Silverhorn. Conditions on the glacier could not be much better.

Looking down at the North Glacier.

August 12, 2010

Climbing on Mt Temple East Ridge, Buller and Generosity

An atmospheric day on Mt. Buller in K Country.

In preparation for the ACMG Alpine Exam, I've been spending a lot of time scrambling around in the Canadian Rockies this summer. After being something of a granite snob for many years, I think I'm finally coming around to appreciate the joys of loose limestone.

Here are some shots from a few days of scrambling on the East Ridge of Mt. Temple, Mt. Buller, and EEOR's Generosity.

Cool light on the approach to Mt. Temple.

Nothing quite like wet quartzite...

Climbing below the Big Step on Temple.

Looking over at Mt. Fay, the 3/4 Couloir and some of Quadra.

Jesse D on a steep, awkward step low down on the ridge.

Somewhere along the lower East Ridge.

Getting higher and wetter.

Cool effects on the way down. We ended up bailing from a few hundred meters above the Big Step because of driving snow, rain and thunderheads. Anyone who knows the route will probably shudder at the thought of rapping and down climbing from this point (5 people in guide mode). But we found a cool bypass to the lower ridge that enabled us to rap and walk in to a big east facing bowl.

Jebby and Jesse D waiting out the weather.

Rough weather. Good light.

After Mt. Temple, we cruised up to Mt. Buller in K-Country for a day of ridge scrambling. The entire valley was blanketed in a cold, wet fog.

Mt. Nestor

Heading up the ridge on Buller.

I almost fell off the ridge numerous times while trying to climb and take photos.

Not a bad view of Spray Lakes once the clouds broke.

Looking down at Jebby and the Bow Valley from Pitch 6 of Generosity. This is a really good 13 pitch, 5.9 on the East End of Rundle.

It's sometimes easy to forget that the Bow Valley is actually part of Alberta.