Regular Posts Tagged ‘ACC Calgary’
ACC Advanced Alpine
23rd Jun 2011Posted in: Blog 0

Once again, our June monsoon seemed to come during a weekend.  June 11 and 12, I had scheduled 2 separate Advanced Alpine Rock days for the Calgary ACC Section.  The focus was on route finding, rope management, and transitions where participants led and could get direct feedback and coaching from myself and Kirsten Knechtel (full IFMGA mountain guide). The goal was the East Ridge of Lady Macdonald.

Saturday….rained.  We still persevered because you just never know and the morning didn’t seem too bad.  After numerous creek crossings and a couple hours approaching we began the ascent.  The rain came in heavier as soon as we roped up it seemed, and sadly after a couple pitches we had to make the call to turn around.  Things were getting a little too slick and the chance of rock fall increased.  This group was amazing though and was still smiling as we bailed from the route and retraced our steps back to the car.

The next morning, the skies still looked a bit ominous, but the forecast seemed slightly improved.  We headed in again with a new group of alpinists and this time despite getting a few good doses of heavy rain and hail, managed to complete the route!  14.5 hours car to car…definitely didn’t break any speed records, but everyone led the whole way up and hopefully learned a few new ways to deal with ridge climbing and safely managing hard to protect sections.

This is a great alpine rock objective right in Canmore…can’t beat the drive really!  I did a write up for the route on Many of the bolts have had their hangers removed which is a real shame in my opinion.

For more pictures check out:

Thanks for the great day out everyone!

ACC Rock rescue and Alpine Rock Efficiency
24th May 2011Posted in: Blog 0

Well it is spring….I think…although the forecast this week looks more like monsoon season. Maybe I should be practicing my ark building skills:)

What spring means though, is time to start thinking about summer objectives.  Even though some of those objectives aren’t in shape yet, there is lots you can do in the “off” season to get yourself ready. The past couple weekends I worked some courses for the ACC Calgary section.  The first was a women’s self rescue day at Yam bluffs.

We were blessed with stellar weather and spent the day learning some of the basics of self rescue.  Obviously there is a ton to learn when it comes to rescue systems but trying to tackle them all in one day is futile, because you will only be memorizing systems instead of truly learning why you are doing something.  We focused on escaping belays, ascending ropes, prevention, multipitch efficiency, lowering on a reverso, rappel methods and what to do if you dropped your ATC and ended with a knot passing challenge.

I was really impressed with the group. Everyone came with a lot of skills already and could have been bummed about spending a gorgeous day practicing skills. Instead everyone embraced the information overload and took in as much as they could with smiles on their faces! These are the girls to go climbing with this summer…they’ll get you out of any fix!

This past weekend, I worked an Alpine Rock Efficiency course at Rundle Rock.

We’ve probably all been there…scrambling up something, unroped, and found ourselves in one of those situations where we really wished we had a rope on.  The opposite of that is getting on a Red Rocks classic and being behind 5 of the slowest parties in the world….every person being clipped to 5 different points of their anchor and ropes strewn everywhere.  Sometimes people hesitate to get the rope out because they only know one way to use it…a very time consuming, long pitching 3 point anchor way!  This course focused on those challenging zones in the risk equation…the times when probability of falling is low, but consequence is high, which we find frequently in the alpine.

Efficiency in the mountains means safety.  Learning how to think ahead, manage excess rope, speed up transitions and add terrain and your body to your anchors were just some of the things we covered.

The challenge for me on these courses is the fine line between allowing people to learn without stepping on their toes, balanced with knowing when to step in so that no one gets in over their head!  Even though this can be stressful to do in “real” terrain, it is an essential part of people’s learning that is often not covered or allowed in other courses. Once again great energy from everyone this weekend and I’m looking forward to another one of these courses next weekend and an advanced alpine weekend in a couple weeks where we will actually get out and climb an objective!

If you are interested in any of these courses, please visit the ACC Calgary section website.

And if you are bored of finding animals two by two in the next week, go find yourself a place to hang your rope and practice some skills to make yourself a smarter climber this summer!

ACC Next Step Ice and Mixed
4th Feb 2011Posted in: Blog 0

Spent a brisk but super fun weekend with the ACC Calgary crew in Haffner.  Day one was a women’s ice and mixed advanced movement day and the Sunday was co-ed.  Both days gave us some pretty chilly conditions but some excellent steep ice and fun mixed climbing.  So impressed with everyones tenacity, getting in 6-8 laps on different steep lines.  Saturday was the usual busy day in Haffner but Sunday we found ourselves almost alone!  With all the avalanche control going on around us from the Park s helicopters I had a strange feeling the road might be closed when we got out, but it wasn’t…thankfully! Strong and fun crew both days and even the Program director of the ACC, Toby Harper came out on Sunday and showed us his “off the desk” skills!

ACC Calgary Women’s Refresher
3rd Jan 2011Posted in: Blog Comments Off on ACC Calgary Women’s Refresher

6 very motivated and strong women joined me for a day of cragging on December 18th for the ACC Calgary section Woman’s Intro and Refresher.  We decided to go to Wedge Smears because it hosts climbs for all ability levels and can be a good escape from the crowds on a busy Saturday.  As luck would have it we had the place to ourselves!  I was so impressed with everyone…despite the -25 temps, everyone truly made the most of the day, climbing lots, pushing themselves on challenging lines and always offering a belay with a smile!  Thanks for a great day and looking forward to seeing most of you in January!