Friday, February 5, 2010

Another great week in the Rockies!

There was lots of variety for me in the last week here in the Rockies! Here's what's been going on:

On Saturday I had a group of keen beginners out at King Creek for an intro ice climbing day. We were the first ones to arrive, but by noon there were about a dozen other people and more just kept on coming! I'm not sure how many cars have to be in a parking lot before people decide to go somewhere else, especially in a mountain range with thousands of ice climbs! Anyways, it worked out fine with everyone sharing ropes, climbs & space. We were having so much fun climbing that we were also the last group to leave for the day.
Lots of climbers at King Creek!
On Sunday I met up with another small group that wanted to work on steep ice & mixed climbing skills. For this, we headed to the beautifull Haffner Creek along the Radium highway. Throughout the day we climbed 7 or 8 different routes ranging from W3 & 4 right up to M7. A good time was had by all and everyone managed to learn some basic mixed climbing techniques.
Steep ice at Haffner Creek.

Monday I headed out with my partner Jody and some other friends for a ski ascent of Mt. Crowfoot along the Icefields Parkway. Despite not much new snow, the ski conditions were great and we managed to reach the summit and then ski all the way back down to the car.

Skiing up Bow Canyon on the way to Mt. Crowfoot.
On Tuesday I headed up Bourgeau Right-Hand (IV, W4R, 300m) above the Sunshine ski hill parking lot. The climb was in great shape and we cruised to the top on good ice. We were back at the car before noon so enjoyed a relaxing afternoon. The climb doesn't merit the 'R' rating at the moment, but a few more days of sunshine could make it more difficult. Also, the avalanche hazard will increase with any new snow.

Me on the first pitch of Bourgeau Right.
Yesterday (Thurs.) I tried an unclimbed mixed route along the Icefields Parkway with Eammon Walsh. The climb looks great but the ice was so delaminated from the rock that we didn't make it very high. I climbed 45 meters with just a bad tied off stubby (short ice screw) for protection, and then decided to retreat from the first good anchor I could find. That's the way it goes with trying new routes, you never know what you are going to get!
The unclimbed ice route.

I feel fortunate to live in such an amazing mountain playground & am always psyched to have the best job on earth!
J. Mills
CRAG Head Guide

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