Friday, November 29, 2013

Banff Day 6 - Kitty Hawk

Our biggest climb of the trip. Snow conditions made for a frustrating hike in, it appears we are the first on the climb this season. First pitch was a couple short WI2 steps that we free soloed, second was an impossibly thin, delaminating, WI3/4 death lead (no one died), third was the best ice we encountered all week (WI5). I belayed both leads so not many photos this time.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Banff Day 5 - Carlsberg

After an accidental detour to Pilsner Pillar, we climbed Carlsberg Column (WI5): one WI4 step below the main pitch, and some wandering WI3 above. Looking at the climbs from across the valley later we agreed that we should have gone for Pilsner.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Banff Day 4 - Bourgeau

Climbed the left-hand route (WI5 - actually WI4 for us, as we skipped the last pitch). Ryan got his WI4 lead, I got my WI3 lead, Rafael didn't take his WI5 lead, as the ice was so rotten it would have been basically a free solo.
For those of you who have been on one of our Assiniboine trips the first photo might look familiar, this climb is just across the valley from that trailhead.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Banff Day 3 - Devil's Gap

At last, the Ghost River; we climbed Sunshine (WI3) and Aquarius (WI4). The highlight of the day was checking out the Recital Hall above Aquarius with its two WI6 routes, Fearful Symmetry and Rainbow Serpent.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Banff Day 2 - Moonlight

Moonlight (WI4, 2 pitches), was belaying and then left the camera in the pocket of my down coat and so didn't get any on-route photos, we did climb it, really.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Banff Day 1 - Haffner Creek

For a "warm-up" day we went to a smaller single pitch area. I need to work on my one-arm pull ups.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Winter Training - Rap Wall and Big Four

With winter climbing trips to Banff fast approaching, we've been rather desperate to hone up our ice and mixed skills, which has led us to two often visited but rarely reported (it seems) locations: The Rap Wall, a drytooling area near Snoqualmie Pass, and the Big Four ice caves, which are basically the Baker seracs in miniature.

Rap Wall

Ryan leading Riza (M7+) 

Michael top roping Riza 

Some other much more skilled drytoolers than us projecting Guru (M9)

Big Four Ice Caves

Myself top roping an AI6 

Ryan dislodging ice chunks while top roping the AI6