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UnGhost Camp 2012
19th Mar 2012Posted in: Blog 1
UnGhost Camp 2012

Hmm, where do I start????

I guess this picture sort of says it all….we had a good time…ok…a really good time!  So this is the 3rd year running the “ghost” camp, and the second year, sadly, that we did not run it IN the ghost!  Conditions were minimal in there this year and a recent snow storm had me very happy that I had pre booked the Pat Boswell cabin again as a back up plan.  What started out as a bit of a bummer, ended as a blessing in disguise, as the routes we were able to do were some fabulous opportunities that even the ghost would struggle with providing!

So, day one, the crew started in Haffner to get our tools swinging and scratching and the kinks out of our leading techniques.  I was surprised as I was putting up the ropes to look down and see the whole crew dressed up in an array of crazy garb…and leaving the BEST outfit…the fairy wings…for me!  A lightness followed us around all day…as well as some odd looks, head tilts and lots of smiles and laughs.  A playful day in Haffner saw Anne Hughes out of the gates crushing the mixed routes left right and center and Pipes, Kate, Amy and Lauren on a mission to perfect their leading skills and get a ton of mileage in.

First to arrive, last to leave…that’s the way we roll…

That evening John joined us and gave a wonderful tool sharpening clinic…which Kate lucked out on by having her tools be used as demos…she is a smart cookie that one…

Day 2 is normally a 1:3 ratio day designed for people to lead mulitpitch routes with the coaching of a guide.  We however were blessed with two special people this day.  One, Jenna, who jumped on the opportunity to fill (sadly) Kate’s last minute free spot, and Will…Gadd, who is currently going through the ACMG guiding process and offered us up a practicum day!! The original plan to go into the Ghost was kiboshed with poor driving conditions, so we headed towards the amazing Weeping Wall.

This area is known traditionally as a safe place in high avi hazard, but as we drove there, we realized that alot of snow had fallen over night!  John headed to the rarely formed Mixed Master with Annie and Piper, a cool traditional WI5, 5.8 route beside the weeping wall.

Meanwhile Will and I got after the left side Weeping Wall with Kate, Amy, Jenna and Lauren.  Will and I led the first pitch and then coached Lauren and Kate as they led it.

No problem for these girls, but all the fresh snow made the ice a little harder to read.  Will said that he first climbed the Weeping Wall almost 30 years ago…what an amazing opportunity for us all to spend the day on there with him. The next pitch got a bit steeper and the as the day warmed up conditions a bit sketchier.  Jack Tackle was also on the wall that day and all 3 parties started to get hit with numerous wet heavy sloughs.  Despite the apparent lack of a steep slope above this wall, the hazard of getting hit with these sloughs while leading was enough to have us turn around just shy of finishing the route.  This was a bummer, but the right call.  I was hit by one when leading and witnessed Jack almost get pulled off by one to the right.  I think when Jack says “it isn’t the most comfortable I have been in the mountains”, you know that we are pushing things:) Will and I arranged for a speedy descent and soon John was also heading down from his climb.  A great day, and lots of learning…followed by some stair/tool training at the Pat Boswell. Thanks again Will and Jenna for joining us this day.

Ok…daylight savings time really sucks…when you are already getting up at 4:45 and then you lose an hour on top of it.  This was a bit of a harsh reality, but in losing an hour of sleep, we gained an hour of daylight, and so, everyone made the most of their long days!

The next day groups headed in all directions.  John climbed Redman’s with Annie and Piper, another super cool traditional multipitch mixed climb, 5.10WI4+, and half of Whiteman’s.  Merrie-Beth climbed Whiteman’s with Sonja and Cheryl, an incredible looking structure of a climb, that gets graded anywhere between a 4+ to a 6 depending on the year.

Erica and Lauren climbed the ultra classic Louise Falls, with Lauren leading the lions share and doing a great job of it!  And myself, Kate and Amy, did a speed ascent of Carlsberg WI5, some shopping and coffee, and then Amy led all of Grotto falls!

Lots of smiles in the cabin that night, with stories to share all around.  Another fabulous meal of Sonja’s, some great visitors, and a weeee bit of wine consumption:)

The final morning, despite having to pack up the cabin, everyone was up and at em and ready to take on their final challenge.  Amy, Kate and John started a bit earlier and ran up Guinness to Guinness Stout!,

Pipes led most of Louise Falls with Annie and I in tow,

and Lauren and Merrie Beth enjoyed a lap on Snowline.

Everyone met up at the end of the day at the Drake for some final beers, dinner and farewells.

Now as I sit and write this…I reflect on a great season.  It isn’t over yet, but this was the last of the Women ice camps for 2012, and with that a combination of fullfillment, reward and sadness resonates.  I obviously love running and working these…and when asked why Women’s camps…my answer often varies.  I believe that the answer this time though, is simple…..Fairy Wings….

Thanks again Outdoor Research for your amazing support…the Transfer jackets look and feel great, and these women will definitely put them to the test!!

One Response

  1. Annie Hughes says:

    I loved my experience at Sarah’s Ghost Camp! This blog post sums it up well. I’ll be back and if I am lucky it will be with this same group of crazy, strong women!!

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