Monday, August 19, 2013

Rocky Mountain Highs

We decided to close out the rest of the summer climbing in the front range of the Canadian Rockies. Despite the sometimes questionable rock quality, anyone who has driven along the Trans Canada Highway cannot deny the sheer amount of rock available to climb on. With route recommendations from fellow climbers and the new Banff Rock guidebook in hand, we had a large list of routes to climb. For the last week we have jumped between Banff, Lake Louise, Yoho and Canmore getting on some awesome long moderates and enjoying the amazing views.

Here is Kristal coming up the 4th pitch of Aftenroe, on Guides Rock outside of Banff.

And on the summit of the Tower of Babel in Lake Louise.

The view of Moraine Lake from the top was beautiful.

We had read of a cool route in Yoho National Park that climbed beside Takakkaw Falls and included a 75 meter cave traverse as the second last pitch. Of course we couldn't resist, and the route did not disappoint. The top of the 6th pitch puts you right beside the thundering falls.

Kristal was super excited by the time we got to the top of the 9th pitch to start the cave traverse. How excited? This excited.

Here I am just about to enter the cave, which was ridiculously cool.

It is a remarkably straight and uniform cave, averaging about a meter across and high, although there was a section in the middle where I had to shimmy on my belly to get through. Just don't forget your headlight, as it is pitch black in the middle.

Of course climbing in the Rockies in August means you have to be leery of late day thunderstorms. We definitely had a few close calls, and had to wait out passing showers on more than one occasion. Thankfully we never got caught on route during the worst storms. After topping out Gooseberry on Tunnel Mountain in Banff, we were welcomed with this view of an approaching storm.

10 minutes later we were being dumped on during the hike back to the car, thankful that we hadn't climbed the route any slower!

Yesterday we climbed Generosity on the East end of Mount Rundle, just outside of Canmore. Here is Kristal at the top of the 10th pitch.

It had some truly memorable pitches of climbing. Here I climbing the cool water runnels on the 10th pitch.

And the views from the top were spectacular. Here is Ha Ling Peak on the other side of the valley, which we had climbed last year.

And Kristal starting the descent, with spray lakes in the background.

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