So silent ….

I can’t believe it’s been over two years since I posted anything on this blog.

All the ice I climbed

Twas a good season of ice climbing. I think I got 27 days on ice this winter. I got stronger. I led a pitch on almost every ascent and I started leading WI4, although that’s a work in progress. I love this sport so much. I’ll miss it over the hot sticky months of the summer …

In chronological order (first to latest)

  1. The Joker WI3, Ghost
  2. Heart Creek Ice WI3, Bow Valley
  3. Grotto Falls WI3, Bow Valley
  4. This House of Sky WI3-4 & The Good, The Bad and The Ugly WI4, Ghost
  5. Chantilly Falls WI3, Evan Thomas Creek
  6. Moonlight WI4, Evan Thomas Creek
  7. The Professor Falls WI4, Banff
  8. Tokumm Pole WI5 (tr), Marble Canyon
  9. Coire Dubh Integrale WI3 M7, Bow Valley
  10. Cascade Falls WI3, Banff
  11. Step Right Up WI3, Banff
  12. The Professor Falls WI4, Banff
  13. Junkyards, Canmore
  14. Guinness Gully WI4, Field
  15. Cobra Verde WI3, Kananaskis Lakes
  16. Haffner Creek
  17. Moonlight WI4, Evan Thomas Creek
  18. Louise Falls WI5, Lake Lousie
  19. Aromatherapy WI4, Upper Evan Thomas Creek
  20. Junkyards, Canmore
  21. Weeping Wall WI4, Icefields Parkway
  22. Guinness Gully WI4, Guinness Stout WI4+, Field
  23. Louise Falls WI5, Lake Lousie
  24. Grotto Falls WI3 (solo), Bow Valley
  25. Grotto Falls WI3
  26. Shades of Beauty WI4, Icefields Parkway
I just realized I need to climb much steeper ice. More WI5’s next year!

Pigeon Mountain Recon

A couple of friends topped out on Crystal Tear (beyond Grotto Canyon) a few weeks ago and snapped the picture below of Pigeon Mountain and what looked like ice in a gully. Emails were exchanged and plans were made so on March 18 2012 we decided to go have a look. We had also found a promising post on a local ice climbing forum so we really thought we were onto some new ice route.

We found the gully we were looking for very easily off highway 1. We hopped the fence and started up the gully. Our passage up the gully was blocked by a 10m step so we had to go around by climbing into the trees on the left which had little snow but hard frozen ground. Definitely some no fall zones as we travelled high along the gully. We continued in the trees and eventually picked up some orange flagging that was leading us higher and eventually back down into the gully. At this point the gully walls were getting very steep and we thought the ice was just around the corner. That thought was just about the only reason to continue in snow that was hip deep at times. Luckily we had a climber friend from Oklahoma visiting and we convinced him that’s how we always approach ice here in Canada and that for good luck the visitor had to break trail!

Eventually we came to a steep snow ramp and I remember thinking “hmm that sure would look like ice from a kilometre away.” But there was no stopping the Okie as he continued to break trail until eventually we came to a headwall having not touched a single square inch of ice. At this point we decided that maybe we came for the ice but we might as well stay for the canyoneering so we decided to walk off left at the headwall and then rap back into the gully and exit out the entire length of the gully with a series of raps. One of those days when you realize it’s not what you do in the mountains but who you do it with because it was still pretty fun despite the rather epic failure to find ice.


This is one of the best climbing related quotes I’ve ever read.

In the world of sports, climbing occupies a lonely place. Without witnesses, participants play in a desolate arena fraught with perils both real and imagined. Dark weather, a lack of protection, a route’s reputation, a recent failure, a “bad” feeling – collectively, such elements push the weak mind to surrender. – Andrew Querner

24 days and counting

I’ve had a total of 24 days on ice this season. I’ve led some things I never through I would. I’ve been involved in things I never thought I would be involved in and had some great times with some great friends. I’ve been scared, hungry, cold, in pain, elated and I’m not done. I’m going for 30!

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