Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rockies Alpine 2006

Mt. Temple, North Face attempt

Mt. Assiniboine, North West Ridge

Mt. Columbia, North Ridge

One of the first clear views of Mt. King Edward and Mt. Columbia.

X-glacier base...

Some rock "samples" for geologists...

... with all pics taken in a small 10x10m area!

Drinking fresh water at the toe of the glacier (Janez Ales Collection, Photo Raphael Slawinski).

Mt. Bryce in the evening light...

... and after sunset.

Looking for the mother of all traverse ledges :)

Looking back at about two thirds of the ledge and the void bellow.

Start of the climb with Athabasca River, Mt Alberta, and the Twins in the background.

A birthcanal passage trough the glacier/bergshrund.

At the end of the snow/ice section.

North branch of the Tranch with
Kitchener, Smow Dome, and Adromeda in the background.

A shark fin in the glacier...

The first rock pitch.

Leaning out to catch some sunrays on the belay.

Yet another traverse in the upper part.

The exit pitch.

View past the summit towards Alberta and the Twins.

Rocky dwarfs guarding the summit.

Mt. Bryce from the summit.

Glacier melt carving the ice.

Endless rubble, for the scale notice Raph
walking in the top half of the picture.

Start of alpine medows.

A sad Miki, or is it Mini?

Mt. Columbia and the Columbia Glacier.

Some big bluberries...

I stopped eating them when I could eat them no more.

The handy bridge (hurry up, it will not be there forever).

(in the making)

Raph showed up in Canmore at 8am and we started off by navigating past every car garage from Canmore to Lake Louise in order to repair a flat. 100km of a logging road is not a place to get stuck with three wheels only. A garage in Golden fixed it and we left Golden at 11am. A very nice valley (with a lot of clearcuts - i would gladly pay for the chopper if necessary or walk in from the Wooley side if I could errase the clear cuts... but that is an ongoing thought every where I go in BC.

Walk up the valley on a "constant gradient" bench was easy due to being relatively well flagged...

"Approach" from the col was a long traverse from the Columbia-King Edward col. It is a place where a wrong step gets you airborne :( One does not get to climb 2000 vertical meters, which is the relief on this side of the mountain, but the traverse adds to the complexity...

Mt. Edith Cavel, North Face

Yes, we (Ken Glover) were early at the base of East summit line...

Main summit line following the right hand buttress.
Angel glacier in the middle ground.

Fantastic gully with a waterfall
on the scramble approach around the Angel glacier.

Ken on the last of the approach.

Start of roped climbing on the buttress (Ken Glover Photo).

It was my block.

Ken's block... following (Ken Glover Photo)

Summit snowfield (Ken Glover Photo).

View to the dry SW.

Sunset landscape.

Mr. Glover looking cool :)

After a summer in the Bugs I wanted some "local" climbing. Ken and I were thinking about Geike, but he did not have enough time to do that. I had a whole 5 day weekend if I wanted but options for partners were slim so late in the game (friday night). He had Saturday to burn, so we decided at 9 pm to pack up and drive to Edith Cavel. It was clear that I will not be able to participate with driving to the climb due to some lack of sleep on the All along the Watchtower, so Ken was the driving hero. When in the parking lot we geared up and went to the base of the East summit north face line. Were there about 45 min too early for the light, so we had to wait a bit to find a start. When we had the visi we actually spoted a huge rock fall that wiped out about 50m (width wise) of snow below and to the left of the climb. Quite happily we scrambled around the Angel glacier to the start of the main summit north face line. We scrambled to the half way point on the rock buttress where we roped up for handfull of rock pitches up to 5.7. Ken had a good belay spot, so it was up to me to start leading. Realising we have two different size packs and the small one was not geared for carrying crampons and ice axe I suggested we climb the thing in two blocks: the rock one and the snow/ice one. Ken was cool and he kicked back into belaying mode while I was testing rock climbing ability of my Freney XT's. They were great, excellent edging ability :), they even style on the slabs on the initial approach scramble around the Angel glacier. my rock leads were quickly over and Ken took over. 4-5cm of styrofoam on top of ice was the alpine scenarion description :) Summit was a warm afair with great views. All along the upper part of the climb we could see Robson, and Geike, for a future refference :)

As far as grades go, Alpine Select calls it IV, 5.7. It should be mentioned that the line is 800m with total elevation gain 1500m from the lake. Bugs guidebook calls it TD. All that combined gives a better idea of what to expect.

I was in the parking lot for this climb ten years ago or so when the upper slopes were sparkling white, lots of it. My partner was keen to "have a look". I refused. Only now I know how right I was. We had excellent snow/ice conditions and dry rock, absolutely NO avi danger.

Astroid Alley, Mt. Andromeda

(I will redo this one when the weather gets bad...)

Did the Asteroid Alley to the top of ice pitches the other day (in late Spring) and it sports a superb 60m iced up chimney pitch - if you have done Balrog with its last "birth canal" pitch and you like mixed climbing you will...
(the rest got lost in cut and paste fog :(