Regular Posts Tagged ‘Louise Falls’
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”:)

Women’s Next Step 2011
16th Feb 2011Posted in: Blog 1

What a crew…4 days with 6 amazing women, and 2 fabulous guides.  Thanks Jen and Kris for your great guiding energy, thanks Sonja for your incredible camp manager skills, keeping us fed, full and happy, and thanks Claire, Mary Ann, Deb, Andrea and Clarissa for all your positive energy, and motivation towards 4 days of climbing! A very special thanks to Outdoor Research, for recognizing the significance of Women specific courses and giving every woman a new Rumor hoody!!  The best all round climbing layer for both summer and winter climbing.  Thanks so much for this support OR!!!

The week started with a movement day in Haffner creek.  Having the place nearly to ourselves was such a blessing and allowed everyone to get on lots of steep ice and some fun mixed climbing.  Trying to remind ourselves that we had 3 more days of climbing, we pried ourselves away from our tools and headed towards Mosquito Creek Hostel which we called home for the next 3 nights.  Nestled along the icefields parkway, this great hostel, with a very hard working custodian, welcomed us with a warm fire, a sauna and tons of snow!  We feasted on home cooked curry and nachos and headed to bed with dreams of tool swinging for the next day.

The following morning, Jen Olson, my friend and fellow guide arrived and we all headed to Balfour Wall for more climbing and leading skills.  Jen taught the group some ice screw placing tips and some advanced foot work and pillar climbing techniques. The day brought snow and more snow, but this did not affect this group one little bit!  Both Claire and Andrea even finished the day off with some ice leads!!

The following morning, we awoke to yet more snow and very snowy roads!!  Kris Irwin joined us and the entire group headed to the famous Weeping Wall.  Jen forged her way up the right hand weeping wall with Claire and Sonja, while Kris and I shared the left hand side with Deb, Clarissa, Andrea and Mary Ann.  New snow and dense ice made the lines an extra challenge and everyone returned from the day excited and pretty tired!!

The final morning we decided to spread out and head to a few different climbs.  Jen went with Deb and Mary Ann to Lousie Falls, Kris took Sonja and Andrea to SARS and 570 where Sonja lead the final pitch of 570…nice work!! And I joined Claire squared to 2 o clock falls where Claire led us up all 3 pitches!

We regathered for a beer and burger at the Post in Louise Falls and shared our days with each other, the laughs, the challenges and when we will all do it again!

Thanks again for a fun week…a lot of laughs, inspiring, memorable, and a highlight for sure…

For more pics go to my facebook albums

Ken and Tim Louise Falls
8th Feb 2011Posted in: Blog 0

Original Plan: Murchison

Reality: Snow storm in forecast from both directions

Back up Plan: Louise Falls/Tokkumn/Johnston trifecta

Reality: Louise Falls and excitement for climbing the other 2 on Thursday:)

We were the first to Louise falls, and after a quick approach and two pitches headed up towards the pillar.  Earlier this year I had approached the pillar from the left side and walked behind it to climb the right side of the right pillar.  This time however, I got to the left side of 2 pillars and could not get behind them anymore to get to the area of least resistance.  Instead we found ourselves a nice hole between this “new, but very dry” pillar and the old now extremely huge right hand pillar and squeeeezed ourselves out to gain the left side of the old pillar.  Untraveled terrain made the climb a little harder then in the past but super fun.    We worked together with 2 Portland climbers who shared the stance behind the pillar with us so that we wouldn’t knock any ice on them.  Made for a nice social day!  The bit of time waiting allowed us to watch a mini pillar grow in one of my foot steps.  From a small drip to a free standing pillar…pretty cool!

A great butt slide down from the base of Louise Falls had us hightailing it to the car to resume our trifecta plan.  Upon arriving at Marble Canyon however, we found Tokkumn with already 2 lines on it and 4 people in the hole. That’s okay…we’ll be back on Thursday for our turn!

Banff Life Days
4th Feb 2011Posted in: Blog 0

I love working with Banff Life.  It is an inspiring and beneficial program for the community and I always feel honored to be a part of it.  This past weekend I got to teach a two day ice intro followed by a multipitch climb on Louise Falls. Two days of cragging at the Junkyards and Haffner had everyone going home dragging their arms but dreaming of one stick swings.  I was amazed with the tenacity of some of these new climbers and the hardiness, as Jenna stuck with the day after popping a tool on her face.  Ouch.

Yesterday Kris, Christine, Caz, Claire and I had the pleasure and challenge of climbing Louise Falls.  This is one of my favorite crews to get out with.  Last year we had climbed Guinness, Professors and Moonlight and we knew that Louise would be a bit of a challenge for a first multipitch this year, but we also felt confident that we could do it! A social day had 12 of us waiting behind the pillar staring out at the Chateau and the large snow designs at the base of the route. The pillar challenged some of the group, but this is when climbing gives us more then just a physical push.  In the moment, suspended 200 feet above the ground, creeping around the edge of a huge standing pillar, balanced on the metal edges of the tips of ones crampons and ice picks…the only focus can be on the moment…and the belief that you yourself can do it.  Way to go Claire, Caz and Christine!  Thanks for a great day out:)

Louise Falls with Andrea
7th Jan 2011Posted in: Blog 0

Andrea and I had a fabulous day on Louise falls.  The original plan was to do Professors, but due to High Avalanche hazard we opted for a safer classic!

As luck would have it, we ran into the ACMG Assistant Alpine Ice Training, and had a social day with some fellow peers, under the tutelage of Barry Blanchard.  The pillar was in fine shape and one could still walk behind it.  Steep ice made for a fun pitch, and the boys were impressed with Andreas performance on only her THIRD day ice climbing!!  This girls got some talent!  Thanks Andrea for a great day, looking forward to the Next Step camp and sharing the rope with you again:)