September 17, 2011

Climbing Tall Storey, Echo Canyon

Audrey H on the 6th pitch of Tall Storey in Echo Canyon.
The day before I left for France, Audrey H and I climbed Tall Storey (7 pitches, 5.11c) in Echo Canyon. This is one of the best multi-pitch sport routes that I've done in the Bow Valley and is perfect for hot summer days. Of course, we climbed it on a cold and snowy fall day and froze. But it was still really fun and the first two pitches are excellent. A big thanks to Audrey for humoring me on this cold day!
Pitch 1
Hiking out in the only sun we felt all day.

September 14, 2011

Climbing Ha Ling and EEOR

Jim F climbing the NE Face on Ha Ling above Canmore.
This post is a little dated but oh well. On the last weekend of August, Jim F joined me from Colorado with the main goal of climbing cool rock routes. I'd just climbed Homage to the Spider on Louis and the Greenwood Jones on Temple during the two previous days, and was looking forward to classic routes with short approaches. We decided on the two walls standing above Canmore - Ha Ling and the East End of Rundle. We climbed Generosity on EEOR and I was surprised to find it even more enjoyable than I remembered. I don't know if rock quality can improve over time or if it's just my poor memory, but Generosity is a really fun climb with 13 pitches up to 5.9.
Both routes require little more than a single rack to a #3 Camalot and a bunch of slings, and I didn't use a single nut on either climb.
Of course, as we were getting ready to climb Generosity in the parking lot, a red pick-up pulled in next to us and three dudes jumped out - harnesses already on.
"Where are you guys going?" they asked.
"EEOR," I said.
"What Route?"
"Us too!" they said and tore off up the trail.
Jim and I considered changing our plans but didn't. We sauntered up to the base and the trio was nowhere in sight. I thought that maybe they'd gotten lost on the approach, until they almost smoked me with rocks on the first real pitch of climbing. That's what you get for climbing under people in Rockies! I joined them at the belay and chatted as I belayed Jim up. Their leader was doing some interesting route finding above us and wasn't setting any speed records, and I told the two guys at the belay that I was going to keep climbing when Jim arrived.
"You mean you're going to try and pass us?" they asked.
"Well, I'm just going to keep climbing," I said.
"You're going to pass us?" they asked again, trying to decipher the cryptic code.
"Well, I'm just going to keep climbing," I said again.
Silence over took us until Jim arrived at the belay. Their leader had not progressed much up to this point, and Jim put me on belay and I started up. Passing the leader was not terribly difficult because he had gotten so far off route that we were hardly on the same pitch. I arrived at the belay first and brought Jim up. The other leader arrived shortly thereafter and was grateful that we would now be doing the route finding. "Climb slowly," he said to Jim as I was on the next pitch.
Just goes to show that passing on a route is not always a bad thing for anyone!
Higher up on EEOR.
Good views in to K Country!

September 05, 2011

Climbing Homage to the Spider Mt. Louis

Rachel L on the last climbing pitch of Homage to the Spider on Mt. Louis.
The day after climbing The Greenwood Jones on Mt. Temple, Rachel L and I braved the long walk to Mt. Louis in search of the classic Tim Auger Route - Homage to the Spider. Funny how it goes. Earlier in the week, I struggled to find partners. But then, like a rogue wave overtaking a small craft, I was flooded with climbing plans. Blame the tides I guess.
We left the car at a civilized hour and made the march to the base. The scramble to the route was a little involved, and we showed up later than expected. What else is new. At that point, I was feeling the pressure of an already tired man with a few big days of guiding coming up, and so Rachel and I said that we'd just climb a few pitches and bail. But of course, the climbing was great and we went to the chains. We even stumbled across two spiders on the climb and wondered if the name wasn't something of a play?
Of note, on the 3rd pitch we continued up the main corner / chimney system and it worked fine. The info we found on summitpost talked about climbing the main face on the left of the corner. It just seemed natural to stay with the crack. All belays had atleast 1 bolt.
Low on the route.
Pitch 4
Pitch 5
Pitch 6
The medieval alleyway after the technical climbing
Scrambling to the top

September 04, 2011

Climbing the Greenwood Jones on Mt. Temple

Starting the last pitch of the Greenwood Jones on the North Face of Mt. Temple. Simon Parsons photo.

Well after a few weeks of frenetic ramblings in the Canadian Rockies, I now find myself haggard, jet-lagged and back in Chamonix. The Rockies were beautiful for most of August, and I did manage to squeeze in some plaisir climbing in between work.

Simon Parsons and I hooked up for the Greenwood Jones on Mt. Temple a few weeks back. The route is a classic north face rock adventure with a sprinkling of snow walking to keep things honest. The rock was often quite loose but the cool positions more than made up for this - or so I kept telling myself.

All in all, it was a super fun day in the hills. We brought 10 cams up to a #4 Camalot, some nuts and a smattering of pins. We didn't place any nuts or pins and I'd probably leave the big cam behind next time.

Making the long left hand traverse high on the route.

Simon heading up from the traverse.

The second-to-last pitch on the headwall.

Simon following the final pitch on the Greenwood Jones.

Topping out.

Transitioning on to the glacier with Victoria and Lefroy in the background.

A beautiful walk in the sky.

The Canadian Rockies at it's finest.