Monday, September 21, 2009

First snows...

Just a quick hit to celebrate the changing of the seasons, and that it was ushered in with new snow across BC. I was working in the Whistler Alpine region, and awoke to 5cm of new snow yesterday morning, and after talking to Dale up at the lodge, there was a fresh dusting there as well. Deep powder days are not far off now, and our season is almost fully booked!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Space Buttress (and beyond...)

So I finally had some time to head to the mountains for some climbing of my own. I love being a mountain guide, but it is always great to hit the hills with your amigos and have a little less responsibility on your shoulders. But then again, when you head to the mountains with your friends you tend to step up your game a bit.

For me, I knew where I wanted to go. For years now I have been staring at the improbable looking geometry of the Space Buttress of Mt. Gimli in the Valhalla Mountains. Whether it is from the north at my winter home at Valhalla Mountain Touring, from ascents of the super popular South Ridge of Mt. Gimli, or across the valley from Kokanee glacier park, this buttress has been calling its siren song to me for years.

This year a new guidebook came out for the West Kootenays, and that is always a good motivator for getting after it. The description in the book says that the Space Buttress on Mt. Gimli is one of the hardest technical alpine rock climbs in Canada. Now I don't know about that, especially with what some of the Canadian alpinist crankers have been sending, but it does provide for 1000 feet of slightly overhanging rock climbing, with a few points of aid waiting to be freed. I recruited Jeremy Blumel, the merry prankster, granite crankster for a go at this is the video of our trip.

We spent 1 day checking out the route to see if it would go free to the half way point, 1 day trying to send the first crux with out adding any bolts, and then went back up to add a variation and send to the summit. What a line...thanks Dave Lussier et al, for your pioneering efforts in this backwoods mecca of BC.

After a few days of getting scared in the 'pine, Jer and I shifted gears big time, and decided to hit the quartzite climbing mecca of the Back of the Lake at Lake Louise in Alberta. The most scenic, compact cragging I have done in a long time, it was super inspiring to climb their for a few days, and Jer and I set our sights on the two trad classics of the region, Scared Peaches (12a) and Where Heathens Rage (12c). So fun, here are a few shots of Jer going for the send on Heathens...Thanks for the shots Fiona!

Jer definitely NOT on kitty litter in the alpine

The classic Heathens Whipper

Team orange on the Space Buttress