The original Ghost camp ran 4 years ago now. It was a gamble…get a bunch of women to sign up for a winter camping and ice climbing experience in Canada?? But…we had amazing weather for the most part and great climbing conditions. The following two years, did not respond as well. Despite the burning interest in the camp, we had to be Canmore based…due to cold temps or lack of ice quality.
This year…I am PROUD to say that it happened again! We made it into the Ghost…camped, climbed and survived! Yeah! Of course this sort of experience is not for the light hearted. It takes a certain “woman”..and “man” (Kris and John) to decide to winter camp while also trying to climb ice every day. That is just the crew we had…and the Ghost did not disappoint!
Day one, we did the usual Haffner cragfest. Ice and mixed climbs were charged upon and few pieces of rock or ice was left untouched. That night we enjoyed one more night of warm sleeps in the Pat Boswell Cabin with an amazing meal by Sonja.
The next morning, we packed early, gathered the forces of our 4wd vehicles and caravaned out to the Ghost. The drive in was fairly straight forward thankfully and we were also fortunate enough to all get to our climbs as the first party! Wow! Lilla, Gab and Sonja braved and broke trail into the Candlestick Maker, which sounded quite challenging! John, Cat and Jessica climbed Wicked Wanda, Maija, Amy and Kris too on Fang and Fist and Annie, LeeAnne and I were blessed with the SCorcerer to ourselves.
We all reconvened post climbs and set to task of setting up base camp. HUGE thanks to ACC REd Deer for letting us use the incredible Canvas walltent. So great to cook and hang out in there, and when we woke up to snow the next morning it was a REAL treat to have! Quickly enough, we looked like quite the little town of tents. Thanks to MEC for renting us the 4 season tents that held up wonderfully through the snowy weather.
The next day, we awoke to snow covered tents and fairly cold and windy weather. We warmed up to coffee, and a warm egg breakfast from our amazing camp manager Sonja. Pretty awesome to wake up to coffee and breakfast while camping! Soon, everyone was off to their climbing objectives. Valley of the Birds, Beuwolf and Wicked Wanda all were climbed this third day.
That night we didn’t have to build camp, so we could enjoy a more civilized camping evening. Another great meal, some wine, some hard liquor of various types and a warm Melan to take turns on our laps. Pretty good life!
The final morning we got up and took down our tents. Had another yummy breakfast and were up and at em getting some more climbing done. Fang and Fist, Beuwolf, Anorexia Nervosa and Wicked Wanda all saw ascents the last day. We met back up and took down the Walltent and Sonjas fabulous carrot cake was quickly consumed by bandits…
Reflecting on this trip, I really can’t imagine a better outcome. So many things need to go “right” for this camp to run.
1) Need motivated, talented and hearty participants….check
2) Conditions need to permit access to the ghost, not too much new snow, not too much warming, not too much cooling…check
3) Willing guides and camp manager to work hard, set up camp, cook, prepare meals, guide hard routes, and camp with good attitudes…check
4) The climbs need to be in shape….check
5) The weather needs to stay amicable during the time we are in there, so we don’t get hypothermia or have to dig ourselves out of collapsed tents….check
I’m psyched! Thanks SONJA….first and foremost for being the best camp manager ever…thanks John, Kris, Lilla, and Marco for guiding such cool routes and keeping everyone safe and happy…and Thanks to Annie, LeeAnne, Cat, Jessica, Maija, Amy and Gab for signing up, being open to the experience, and getting so much done in a such a short time!
Special thanks to OR for the cool Whirlwind hoodies! Thanks to MEC for renting us the tents…and ACC Red Deer for the Waltent!
I hope to have another amazing ghost experience this summer with the Ghost rock camp!