Saturday, June 23, 2012

Life in a Nutshell... Climbing!

Luc pulling hard in Evandale

Well a lot has been going on in the past bit and I haven't been able to update you all on things.... sorry for that. Fortunately I have sometime and can fill you in on the happenings.

After my attempt on new route on an unclimbed face on Vancouver Island with Phil Stone I started climbing at the Romperroom in Nanaimo, On the Rocks in Campbell River and when the weather was good got in some climbing at Horne Lake. I also got to visit and good freind on Cortez Island, thanks Heidi. When my time on the island was up I border a plan and headed home to New Brunswick for a 2 week visit with the family.

During my time in NB I got in a fair amount of climbing.

NB rock climbing is excellent! The majority is great granite climbing from easy 5 class to 5.13. The climbing hub is Welsford where Cochrane Lane, The Sunnyside, Bald Peak, Bear Mountain, and Mt Douglas can be found. St. Andrews also has some great climbing. The ethics change from area to area and the Climb Eastern Canada forum provides insight on the ethics and development going on in these places. See my links to check it out.

I spent most of my time climbing at Cochrane Lane and Sunnyside, with a evening visit to Evandale, a new bouldering area of high quality granite.

Cochrane Lane is the main crag in NB with around 350 routes on beautiful pink/grey granite. The climbing here is often mixed and a single rack can get you on most routes. This is where climbing in NB first started.
Me and Franca Photo by Emilie De Groot

Some fun climbing on the lower part of Smoking Cracks Photo by Franca Zambito

Emilie seconding Smoking Cracks, Minkey Wall, Welsford NB

Some recommended routes I've climbed are: Astroboy, Ragged Edges, Gumby Roof, Sticky Fingers, Smoking Cracks, Warm and Sultry Evening and there are a number of others I haven't yet to climb... soon though soon!
Marty in Evandale NB
Franca bouldering in Evandale
A 6m perfect SPITTLER hands! Photo by Franca Zambito
Thanks to Franca, Luc, Adam, Terry and Marty for climbing with me!

When my time was up in NB my next stop with Washington State where I was taking an NOLS professional Avy Course. It started on May 15 at the NOLS Pacific Northwest Branch. The 8 of use gathered and had a day of classroom and then headed to Washington Pass for some time in the snow. This is the same day Mac Schafers died while kayaking Cameron Creek on Vancouver Island. He was a wonderful friend.

I was on my splitboard which was great considering I haven't been on it this past winter due to working in the southern hemisphere..... we had great weather and fun time practicing snow assessment and beacon searches. We also got in some turns and a nice 19km tour one day. All in all a great time in a new area for me.

When the avalanche course finished it was time to head into the Cascades for a 30 day North Cascades Mountain trip with NOLS. Our students arrived on May 23rd and we got them outfitted and before we knew it we were up in the snow teaching classes and having fun.

Our route started from a small remote, boat access village called Holden, up Lake Chelan. From there we travelled past Hart and Lyman Lake, Lyman Glacier, Cloudy Peak and up and over Spider Gap down into Chiwawa Watershed. This was for 8 days. We got picked up here and shuttled to the White River Tr. head to start our way up into the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area. It took us a few days before we got into the alpine and once there we had to hunker in our tents for 4 days with only an hr our 2 here and there it teach classes before the wind and snow kicked back up. The winds gusted to about 90km/hr which made for low to zero visibility.

We were unable to get to our second planned re-ration location so had to back track down the White River. Once at the trail head we picked up our 3rd re-raton and headed back up for another go at Glacier Peak.

Once back in the alpine we took advantage of a weather for a long moving day so we could be in position for an attempt at Glacier Peak.

The next day condition weren't great for travel so we took advantage of that and taught more skills classes and planned for the next day to be a summit attempt.

The student leaders Collin and Natalie woke us at 3:30am and where so psyched the weather was clear and they made the call to start getting ready to go. We started out of camp around 5am. Travelling conditions were excellent and we climbed fast. We were on the summit at around 11:45am. We got a summit photo, enjoyed the amazing views of Baker and Rainer and then headed back to camp. The group was high on life and felt like everything came together for them. That was our 3rd day of sun in about 25 days.

We woke up to warm/wet/white-out conditions the next day but that didn't stop the group from staying positive and working hard through challenging navigation on and off glacier. We slowly and safely made our way over Cool Glacier and onto Chocolate Glacier before finding our descent down Chocolate Ridge and into the Suiattle River drainage.
Slideshow put together my Madhu Chikarahju

The next 3 days saw use travel through challenging forest, crossing creeks and rivers and finally getting onto the Suiattle River Trail and out to our pick with time to spare. Our last day was sunny too so spirits where high.

Thanks to Madhu Chikarahju, my co-instructor and our students: Natalie, Collin, Zach, John, Freddie, Mason, Jeremy, Megan, Aaron and Sam for maintaining a positive attitude in challenging conditions! When you put your time in sometimes everything comes together. Nice work folks!!

Well now it is time to organize my gear and head to Squamish for some climbing, and soon will be venturing to the Yukon for another stroll in the mountains.

Mac Schafers I'm thinking of you buddy!

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