Sunday, February 3, 2013

Guinness, Bourgeau L. & Coire Dubh with Kenji!

To finish off 2012, I was joined by Kenji from Japan for a few days of classic ice climbing!  He had climbed lots of ice in Japan, so we were able to do some great routes.  He was very impressed with the quality of the climbing the Canadian Rockies and by the end of the trip was even talking about trying to move here!

We started out by climbing Guinness Gully & Guinness Stout which was a great way to get know each other and climb some fun ice!  Kenji had no problems with the climbing so I knew we would want to find something harder for the next day.

Kenji approaching Guinness Stout

Up early, we hiked in to Bourgeau Left Hand by headlamp and were soon launching up the first 70 meter pitch of sustained WI4.  The ice was in great shape and was really enjoyable.  The upper tier of ice is the WI5 crux and was soaking wet on the normal line.  Fortunately it is wide enough this year that there was a good dry line on the left which we climbed in two pitches.  The final pitch starts off with several body lengths of very steep ice and we both got a good pump as we picked our way up it.  We had only planned on doing the two days of climbing, but Kenji was keen for more so we decided to do another climb a couple days later. 

 Looking up at the steep upper pitches of Bourgeau Left.

Kenji nearing the top of the second pitch on Bourgeau Left Hand.

For our final route we chose the excellent mixed route of Coire Dubh Integral just East of Canmore.  The lower ice section is relatively easy, but the climb has about 8 excellent pitches of mixed climbing up nice rock features.  Kenji had never done a mixed climb before, but by this point I wasn't at all surprised that he was able to pick it up quickly and cruise up pitch after pitch of climbing!  As usual it was really windy on the top so we hiked down the backside into the canyons of Jura Creek instead of walking down the ridge.

 Coming up through the challenging chimney on the 1st mixed pitch.

 Cruising up a nice corner higher on the route.

Kenji & I on top of the route, trying not to get blown over by the wind!

I had a great few days with Kenji and hope to be able to climb with him again in the future.  Perhaps he will even find a way to move to the Rockies someday!

J. Mills
CRAG Head Guide

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jay, I could fully enjoy all routes with your guiding. Thanks a lot! My mind sometime fly to the top of Guinness Stout, the glassy 3rd pitch of Bourgeau Left and curious ascending/descending route of Coire Dubh Integral. Also many others, everything was impressive to me.
    I hope to climb with you again and hopefully visit Canada not as a tourist:-)