Thursday, May 14, 2009

Kalymnian Vacation Continued

So lots of times my posts are about some things that are a bit more adventurous, but this place is hedonism at its finest. Pure fun, no stress (except which 5 star route to climb, what beach to swim at, and where to go out for dinner) and very low on the adventure scale. But that is okay, I will be home in Squamish in 2 weeks, and I can have plenty of adventure with mulit pitch trad routes on the chief and then summer alpine rock season will be in full swing. For now, I will continue to clip bolts, and take big safe whippers.

Here are a few more photos to keep you jealous or stoked, you choose.

However, we did come across one guy who has truly inspired me here. This place is very international, with climbers from every country in Europe and North America. A dozen languages are probably tossed around at the cliff every day. But one group of Spanish climbers has a member of their team who is pretty rad. You see he has one leg, the other is missing from the hip. He huffs it up to the cliffs every day on crutches, and then procedes to throw himself on routes up to mid 5.12. It is truly a unique style, and has to be seen to be appreciated. He climbs 'a muerte' which is espanol for 'to the death' a popular spanish climbing phrase to try as hard as you can. He truly tries until failure and takes some big whips, yelling 'puta puta puta!!!!' when he falls. You can look that one up for yourself.

The 1 legged Spainaird showing us how its done on an 11d.

Anyhow, some shots to keep you psyched...

Jasmin on our mode of transporton the rest days.

Checking out the ruins of an ancient castle on the island.

Sunset over the climbing sectors.

Our friend Clee, cruising a 12b Amphora at the Odyssey Sector

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Kalymnos = Paradise Found

Okay, a quick interlude about where and what I am up to now, in the midst of my remaining ski posts from the winter.

Jasmin and I have wrapped up our safe and successful ski seasons, and have decided to treat our selves with a month of 'hard earned' vacation. Now, a lot of you may think that my work days are vacations, and that yes, I do ski powder and climb mountains for most of my work days. However, ski guiding takes its toll on the body and soul, and I do need to check out from my responsibilities of keeping everyone safe in the mountains from time to time. Sometimes I go on 'holidays' for some alpine climbing, or long trad routes, but this time, we needed a hassle free, life is easy kind of trip. Maybe I am getting old, or maybe I have more money to waste now, but regardless we decided to venture to the Greek Island of Kalymnos for some amazing limestone sport climbing.

After spending a few days catching up with my family in New York City, we kept on flying all the way to the small island off the coast of Turkey. Our host, the proprietor of Lambrinos Studios in the town of Massouri, picked us up and took us to our room. The sun was lazily hanging on to the horizon, and I stepped outside on our top floor balcony to take in the view.

The Mediterranean to the left and the Grande Grotta to the right. Life is good!

We have since spent the last 3 days getting acquainted with the rock and the cuisine. Lots of tufas, stalactites, feta cheese and clean air whippers on the steep terrain. Here are few photos to get you started...

Our Canadian Friend Haima, 'warming up' on some steep tufas.

Jas onsights 'Cyclops', F6c

Haima works out the move son 'Ivi' F7b.

Yours truly works on 'Zawinul Syndicate' F7c+. After onsighting the crux, I pumped out on meter 30 with another 10m to go!

Jas enjoys some post climbing watermelon, while I work on my beer with a name that rhymes with fun.

Wether you like it or not, I will keep you updated sporadically on my vacation. For now, I think I have to go have a swim in the sea...

Wapta Traverse, Part 3

I know, I am such a slacker, but the last 6 weeks have been incredibly busy and all over the place for me. After finishing the wapta, I still had a week of work at VMT, then Rogers Pass and finally Kokanee Glacier. Somewhere in there I also managed a 1 day lap on the Garibaldi Neve Traverse. Now I am sitting on my patio, overlooking the Mediterranean sea and incredible limestone cliffs on the Greek Isle of Kalymnos. A month here will let me catch up on things like my blog on rest days, and get in shape for the rest of the climbing season! Although I can't complain about being out of shape, as 2 weeks into the season I have already onsighted a ton of 5.12s and am getting close to a 13a. More about Greece later. For now, let me finish up with the rest of my ski season.

To be brief but to close off my Wapta traverse, our next day was spent as a day trip from the Bow Hut tagging the summits of St. Nicholas and Mt. Gordan. Nice mellow skis up glaciers the enitre time to get to the summit of Mt. Gordan, and the weather was starting to agree with us. Although it was a 'balmy' -24C that morning, the winds were calm and we managed to even spend a few minutes on the summit, getting an absolutely crystal clear, 360 degree view of the heart of the Canadian Rockies...
Mt Gordan with views towards Mt. Balfour

We skied down the variable conditions to the flats below St. Nic and then 3 of the 4 of us went for the boot pack up to its summit. About an hour round trip, with the use of ice axes, had us moving along and standing on the knife edge summit. It was truly a spectacular spot and we had a blast skiing back down to the warmth of the Bow Hut.

Heading to the summit of St. Nic

Descending from St. Nic

Looking back at Mt. Gordan with a party on the traverse

Skiing home under St. Nic

The next day we packed our bags and headed over the traverse to the Balfour hut, which is situated of course at the base of Mt. Balfour. We got a decent look at our objective, but the clouds and winds started to pick up. After getting to the hut early in the afternoon, we then spent the remainder of our day practicing crevasse rescue right outside the door.

The next morning we awoke to zero visibility, 70km/h winds and 10-15cm of new snow. Needless to say the avalanche danger had increased and we were going to be attempting the crux of the traverse. I decided to have us wait out the weather for a few hours, holding out for an improvement, but alas, it wasn't in the cards for us. Instead we headed back toward the Bow hut, as that is the only other way back to the road. It still involved a few hours of white out navigation with the GPS, and some folks getting knocked over by the severe winds.

Once back in the hut, we warmed up with some tea, and decided to head out that night and have a hot shower and greasy food.

Overall, the trip was a blast, and considering the oppresive arctic conditions, we managed to get a lot done. Everyone had fun, and most importantly, everyone came home with no frostbite and all their fingers and toes intact!