ACC 25 and Under Rock week with Sonnie Trotter
14th Jul 2011Posted in: Blog 1
ACC 25 and Under Rock week with Sonnie Trotter

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend 4 days climbing with 4 highly motivated and talented climbers…and working with Sonnie Trotter!

The ACC 25 and Under course was Sonnie’s idea starting a few years back.  He wanted to create a course that took younger climbers who wanted to pursue climbing beyond the gym, outdoors and give them the skills necessary to go out on their own.  Having both lived a bunch of years out of our trucks, Sonnie and I understand where this passion can take you, and how strong of a pull it can have!  These days I have become all soft living out of my condo in Canmore…but Sonnie still is living the dream in his new cargo van…a vast jump from what he used to drive! We wanted to give these new climbers all the skills necessary to become independent!

We met the group on Monday night…Serena, Claire, Ben and Eric.  They were keen, fit and from all parts of Alberta and…Australia???

Day one, we headed to Grassi…covered all the basics of sport climbing, belaying a leader, cleaning sport routes and of course leading and some falling!

Despite the great moderate leading opportunities at the Golf Course wall we stayed at the Gardeners wall and were pretty happy to be where we were when the sheep released a ton of rock fall on the climbers on the other side.  Golf Course climbers…BEWARE…major sheep hazard above those routes!!

Next day we headed out to Lake Louise.  As we climbed near many other parties, I overheard one group talk about the “Path”…the hardest route in Lake Louise, above Wicked Gravity.  Too bad for them they didn’t recognize the star of the cover of the guidebook in their midst…who was the first to send that route! Sonnie and I taught gear placements and the group proceeded to do a bunch of mock leads and some other fun top ropes.  Pretty impressed with how quickly everyone picked up placing gear!!   Always a busy day at the Back of the Lake, but always worth the views and the amazing rock…even if it does come with some highly annoying bear bells:)

Day 3 we thought we would take advantage of the splitter weather and do some multipitching.  Gooseberry and Tonka was what we opted for on Tunnel Mountain in Banff and the proximity of the two routes made for a fun and social day overlooking the Bow River.

Most of the group had never been more then a pitch above the ground, so Sonnie and I were super impressed with how well everyone did!  7 pitches of fun climbing in the sun had us all wising for some type of lagoon or ice cream truck at the top of the climb.  No such luck but the Banff Safeway did the trick!

Despite some tired bodies our 4th day we still wanted to “up” the learning.  We headed to Heart Creek and went over rappelling and multipitch theory and efficiency.  Sonnie fixed a rope and one of us watched while ascending the rope as everyone participated in leading their own teams of two up a 2 pitch climb and then back down again!  pretty cool way to finish the week!

Thanks Claire, Serena Ben and Eric for a great week!! Sonnie and I were so impressed with everyones motivation, willingness to push themselves and learn and all the natural talent that you all obviously have.  We hope to see you all in the mountains again soon.

Thanks Sonnie for all your work on this camp…for the great idea in creating it and seeing it through with the same passion you show towards your own climbing.  Always an inspiration:)


One Response

  1. Ben Rennie says:

    Hey Sarah!
    Nice write-up! Just wanted to say thanks again for an AWESOME week! 🙂

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