Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

2010 Bugaboo Spires Trip (the climbing)

We had two full days to do two long climbs. Hiking from the hut to the climbs and back factored in at least a couple of hours so only one climb a day for us was feasable even though some do multiple climbs in a day. Our original plan was to do the northeast ridge of Bugaboo Spire (One of the top 50 climbs in North America), but with the ice on the route our guide said it would have been "full on mixed climbing". Instead he chose McTech Arete on the Crescent Spire which was 5.10, 6-pitch route. It was incredible granite crack climbing that was exactly the right mix of challenge and doability for our group. We were hiking up there at about 0630 and got back to the hut around 1600. Not the hardest climbing I've ever done, but the newness of that kind of continuous climbing and the big wall exposure was great and both Thomas and I agreed it was the best day of climbing we've ever had. Day 2 started out looking better weatherwise than day 1. We had planned to climg another 6-pitch climb Between the Ears, but after the first pitch a snowstorm came in and dumped a few inches really making things dangerous so we decided to hike back in. What an awesome place.

Sunrise in the Canadian Rockies

Hiking past a glacier lake on the approach to the climb

Thomas with Snowpatch Spire in the background

The Crescent Towers

The first pitch

Thomas on the 5th pitch belay area

The Summit of McTech Arete

This is a photo of the line we climbed. If you zoom in you will see two climbers on the route we climbed to give some perspective.

On Sunday we set out for the route "Between the Ears" which is what Thomas is checking out in this picture.

Right as we got started in to this climb a snowstorm came in soaking the rock and forcing us to rappell in retreat.

One of the incredible glacier lakes in the area.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

2010 Bugaboo Spires Trip (The Approach)

The Bugaboo Spires trip was my first multi-pitch and trad route and was an excellent way to start. Thomas and I hired a guide from Yamnuska and had an incredible short trip. This was definitely a micro mission as we spent only 3 days in British Columbia, but it was a success. With unpredictable weather we were lucky to have 2.5 days of good weather and had probably the best day of climbing I've ever had. The Bugaboos is considered one of the best alpine climbing destinations in the world and it is stunning, but the theme of the trip was intense! From the drive in, to the roughly 1.5 mile hike (over 2000 feet of elevation gain carrying an 80 pound pack), to the mixture of rock and glacier scrambling and granite rock climbing. The pictures never do places like this justice, but it's also hard to take a bad picture in the Bugaboos.

Special preparation must be implemented to keep away the porcupines which will eat your brake lines and tires. Chicken wire, logs, and rocks are provided.
Our guide Pat Delaney starting the approach hike first through a dense evergreen forest, and then up through the meadows cleared by past avalanches.

Thomas, pondering.

Finally starting to get close.

The Conrad Kain hut. An incredible base camp hut with fully stocked kitchen, gas stove, bathrooms, running water (powered by a generator producing electricity from glacier melt flow), and mattresses to sleep on. This place was awesome.

The waterfall pouring over the edge is the source of your water which you can either boil or drink right from the stream (which is what we did).

Down time was spent rock hopping, exploring the boulders and peering down into the valley and the glaciers.

It had been a while since Thomas or I had repelled, so our guide helped us learn on this massive granite boulder right outside the hut. We also went over some basic multi-pitch principles preparing for the next day's climb.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Just a few shots of local waterfalls from some hikes in Tennessee and North Carolina

Foster Falls
Rock Island
Ozone Falls & Virgin Falls

Savage Falls

Looking Glass Falls

Burgess Falls

Don't know the name, but it looks runnable

Kick Yer Dog Falls

Saturday, September 4, 2010