Regular Posts Tagged ‘Guinness Gully’
Women’s Veteran Camp 2011
7th Mar 2011Posted in: Blog 2

It’s that time of year again!  Time for the Ghost Veteran’s camp…something I look forward to all year long…time to see old friends, explore and share cool areas of my back yard with psyched and motivated women, and watch people push themselves whether choosing to lead or second challenging climbs.  We have been having quite the winter this year though, and sadly we had to make the call a week prior to the start of the camp that the Ghost was “out”.  Maybe…maybe…maybe we could get ourselves in there, but staying warm, dry, sane…and getting ourselves back OUT, was entirely unlikely:)  Considering we live in the mecca of ice climbing though, the plan to stay local did not affect spirits, and the idea of daily showers and beds also went over pretty easily with everyone. Friends new and old, came from all parts of America…from Colorado, to the Eastern States and Ottawa, Red Deer and BC.  The gathering is in large part to Cheryl Wallace…who always knows how to rally the troops and believes in getting great groups out climbing together in great places!  Thanks Cheryl for all your support!

Cheryl leading on Riverview

We started the camp in -30 temps…and headed into Haffner.  Jen Olson, full ACMG mountain guide, myself and 9 highly motivated and burly women hiked in and enjoyed some sunny steep ice and mixed lines.  Despite the chilly temps, we all climbed a ton, and pretty much had the place to ourselves!

The following morning, Chris Irwin joined us and we broke into groups of 4 and headed to some different climbs to work on leading.  Jen, Sonja, Caro, and Karen went to Gibraltar wall for some sun, Kris, Pipes, Colleen and Jodi, to Grotto for some leading and mixed and Kate, Cheryl, LeeAnne and myself to Riverview.  Once in the sun, the day felt a little more welcoming and we had a great day swapping leads on the Golden classic.

LeeAnne cruising a steeper line

The following days were spent out of our new base, the Louise Hostel.  The third day we were down to 1:2 ratios and groups headed out to the weeping wall, Golden and Panther Falls to seek any opportunity to soak up sun and classic climbs. More great leads were had by Caroline, Karen, Jodi and Piper.

Jodi leading confidently on Snivelling Gully

Kate heading up Right hand Weeping Wall

Leading on ice is a serious “next step”for any ice climber.  There is a million mini decisions that go into leading a pitch of ice…from deciding where to swing your tool, if you should move on your placement, if your foot is secure, when to place a screw, and reading the ice.  All these may seem straight forward as you second a stretch of ice, but once on lead, your reward and consequence becomes very clear with every step you take. It is amazing and also a little stressful letting go of the leading reigns and watching new leaders take on this challenge. This is a big component of this camp though and I was really pleased that everyone who wanted to do some leading had a chance to do so.

Caroline on the last pitch of Guiness

The next day had groups going out to Guinness, Louise, Masseys and Murchisons.  Another cold day on the ice but manageable, and other then the Murchison team everyone was able to get back to the hostel at a decent time to get some much needed R andR!

Karen on top of Guinness

By the fifth and final morning, everyone was feeling pretty tired!!  5 days of climbing is one thing, but 5 days of really cold temps is another very tiring factor!  We headed out to our final climbs of the trip, Louise, Tokkumn and Carlsberg.  The Carlsberg team (Cheryl, Kate and Myself) were turned around by the Yoho blow….a vicous wind that ripped through Field disabling our ability to even see the road and actually contributed to us getting fully stuck on the railroad tracks!  Yikes…once we got ourselves out of that situation we joined the crew at Tokkumn and made the most of the crazy weather day by getting a lap in on the magnificent WI5  pillar in Marble Canyon.

The group minus Merrie-Beth:(

The group met up in Canmore for some drinks and a well deserved dinner at the Drake.  What a crew…always smiling and always up for the challenges!  Thanks Jen, Kris and Merrie Beth for your hard work guiding, and major THANKS to Sonja, our incredible camp manager for keeping us full, fed and happy every day and every meal!!  Thanks as well to Outdoor Research for supporting these women courses by giving every participant with new Frostline jackets!!  These sure came in handy this week! And thanks to Cheryl, Kate, Colleen, LeeAnne, Jodi, Piper, Karen and Caroline for coming out for this fun week and making the most of what mother nature gave us!  Hope to see you all back next year…for the elusive “ghost”:)