Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Rockies Rock - Summer 2006

After a stint with an injured "bouldering" elbow and consequently trying to "cure" it with no climbing and a lot of work - typing, which got me into "typing elbow", I finally sorted my arms enough, so I could go rock climbing again. An easy afternoon at Grassi on Tuesday evening and Sea of Dreams, guides rock on Saturday.

After a hike up to the top of the East End of Rundle on Saturday morning, Grassi Lakes provided an excellent afternoon climbing. A couple overhanging fivetens proved to do just the right physio job for me.
Sunday was spent on Necromancer - Yam. Some good corners and a stunning crux roof pitch... that was the good news. I was kicking my bum for not bringing my camera :( The bad news was the last pitch of stacked rocks with a belay right under them - what else is new. Matt actually said a word of "thank you for not dropping those rocks on me". A good day out with a warm sun greeting us on top.

Some more Grassi Lakes for a lunch break on Friday. Saturday - it is raining here :( so I am banking in some hours :) Sunday, Grassi again, with the first steep climb after the elbow problem. Monday had a good time on Forbidden Fruit on Yam with Eric.

A weekend of rain - west coast express comes east :( Saturday some sport at Heart Creek, and Sunday at Grassi. Some more rain for this weekend.

Pics up to here are still to be developed - the good speedy old plastic way... so I added some pics of me on Yamnuska by my roommate Ken Glover using his Olympus Stylus Verve 4MP...

Upper corners on Kahl Wall (Ken Glover photo).

If you start late, you have to be lucky with the storms :)
It did not hit us
(Ken Glover photo).

... and again, if you start late, you might just finish in time for the sunset.
Notice my frozen body language :(
Ken Glover photo)

Sunny skies for Saturday and Sunday saw Ken and I chasing Yam rock afternoon shadows after a prompt "crack of the noon" start :( His broken ribs dictated an easier route to warm up. We did Kahl Wall, which I have never done before. Bringers of the Dawn looked inviting... On the last pitch on Kahl the overhanging corner threads left and not right as the new topo suggests. Thanks to Andy for a great new Yam guidebook!

Starting in the shadow makes for cold belays :( Ken Glover photo).

Yes, I did dislocate my left hip that day from too much Yoga :( Ken Glover photo).

Notice my right arm, while my left is fiddling with gear - also notice my biggest piece #4.5
on the left side of my harness, it was NOT big enough for the undercling...
(Ken Glover photo).

Leading towards my hip dislocation coordinates (Ken Glover photo).

Sunday we went to the Bowl which had a fine crux pitch - one of the best trad pitches on Yam I have done in the 5.10 range. There are still stones waiting to get pulled out at the crux move, which already resulted in a broken leg in the past. Protecting it is straightforward if you get there "well composed", but the undercling is definitely calling for something bigger than "...doubles in a 2-4 inch range..." (which the otherwise excellent new guidebook suggests) and it would help to know that you have a good last piece while placing the piece for protecting the crux move. Falling there with no protection on the undercling would result in a very unpleasant swinging fall into the corner from some distance :( Topos in the new book are very much improved from the Bow Valley Rock, it especially helps that they include all neighbouring routes in an area. The bolt for the last moves on the third pitch is marked to be placed to the left of the Bowl Direct right facing corner pitch. It is, however, placed on the face to the right of this corner.

Saturday was a physio climbing day. The approach was a bus ride up to Lake O'Hara :) On the way I pointed out to Ken what a "pile of shit" this wall to the left was. The bus stoped 3 minutes later, which ment that I was climbing that pile of shit - Grassi Ridge on Wywaxi Peak. It was a good introduction to the O'Hara lake area. The blocks were really solid :) but there were many of them.

Sunday's plan was to go to Mt. Louis, but food poisoning or a tummy bug prevented Ken from doing anything the next day. I went fishing for a partner up at Grassi Lake . As luck would have it, I stumbuled to White Imperialist area and a brit Nick was keen on knowing if I had any soccer news. He was happy to hear that England beat Equador 1:0 and I was happy to hear when he offered me a belay. Fun climbing with a mix bag of Albertans from all over the map. After one climb I realised that I have met Nick and Ken briefly on La'Tabernac the previous ice season :)

Nick says that this was not the crux pitch, the book thinks otherwise.
I missed the end of the next climbing pitch and got lured over right by some slings in a smaller version of the alley that the book talks about.
Keep on track of the main corner you start that pitch...

Nick Sharpe finishing the third pitch with the approach slope
in the ground-ground :)

Belay with a view of a perfect glider flying country,
unfortunately with no landing in site.

The famous Diamond, climbers' best friend :)

The weather forecast was not looking good for the next weekend, so I decided to stay put and log in some hours on Saturday. On Sunday I teamed up with Nick to do the Spider route on Mt. Louis. Beautiful approach trail, excellent two long corner pitches of limestone wide/steaming, and some good views in excellent positions on the upper pitches. I missed the exit from a corner a bit, lured into that by some slings to the right of the actual route while climbing complete vertical chos. Nick thought it was the hardest pitch of the day. Assuming we were in the right place Nick led out right again and got stopped by the right edge of the smaller replica of the Diamond flake. Nothing looked promising to me, straight up detached flakes on an overhanging wall, to the right unprotectable arete line of the big flake or a step around it into an equally unprotectable OW/chimney. I opted for the arete carefully avoiding the loose glue on holds - they fell of with some romp after I passed them, still no gear, with a swing onto the ledge fall potential - not fun at all. Another ten meters went by before I could place some pro. Don't want to do this very often... we were at "bridge to the ledges" part now and realised our mistake. The rest of the climbing was ridge walking with an occasional low fifth move. Raps were excellent, but there are more of them than the book says. Only the last one is a must 60m, the rest all go in 30m.