Monday, August 4, 2008

The Adamants - Part 2

Well, I gave you all the quick intro just 2 weeks ago, and now I am back.

But I am so loaded with killer photos and great stories that I will break this up into a few posts.

We landed at the head of the Austerity Glacier in the heart of the Adamant Spires, a remote group of peaks about 100 miles north of Rogers Pass, British Columbia. My trusty partner Craig McGee guides in the winter for Canadian Mountain Holidays in this area so he was chock full of lines for us to try. We built our snow camp, racked up and tried to sleep, giddy as two kids on christmas (in my case Hannukah) morning, ready to try the 2,000' formation known as the Turret.

Digging camp at the base of the Turret

Racking up in the AM

The formation had never been climbed in a day or free climbed so of course that was our goal. We walked 5 minutes to the base and picked what looked like the best line. Info on the route was virtually non-existent and the two pictures of where the route went had 2 different lines drawn in! A few hours later and about 1,000 feet of climbing brought us to the base of the headwall. We had battled a bit of loose rock and tricky route finding to this point, and now the vertical headwall took on the character of an onion skin. Peeling, hollow giant flakes were the name of the game, as we cautiously tread up another pitch or two.
Craig tackles the headwall of the Turret with Mt. Sir Sanford in the background.

About 400 feet from the top, the scary climbing got the better of us. I came up to a 7 piece anchor that Craig had made, and he still didn't feel good about it. The next pitch was a 100 foot traverse across perched blocks that was looking to weigh in at 5.11 r/x. We had enough and bailed.

We then turned our sights to trying the first one day and free ascent of the Blackfriar, another 2,000 foot wall close to camp. We did about 6 pitches of amazing Black Canyon of the Gunnison style free climbing until the skies opened up on us. I was on an intricate and run out 5.10 pitch when waterfalls starting pouring down the route. Not having a solid piece of gear in to bail on I kept climbing in the rain until I could make the anchor. Of course the anchor was guarded by 10 feet of ice climbing- this is the mountains after all! A minor epic saw us off the cliff soaked to the bone and hustling back to camp for dry clothes and warm tea.
Me bailing off the Blackfriar in a storm.

Back in camp we were feeling the mountain beat down. Adamants 2, Craig and Evan 0. But I have been in the mountains enough to know that humility and failure are a big part of the game and that is what keeps you coming back to try again. So we dried our gear out for a day, and rested up camp, to get ready to try the Blackfriar again...

1 comment:

Seth said...

I still get a kick out of the fact that you now drink beer. Cheers mate!