Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Wall Lake

Dave and i skiied back into Wall Lake again Saturday, Nov. 27. We bagged some awesome turns with the fresh snow that had fallen. The ice all along the cliffs behind Wall Lake up into the pass is all in excellent shape. The upper slopes above these cliffs are becoming very suspect though. The cornices on the upper end of Akimina Ridge are about 3-4 meters high and are all looming above the ice. Lots of avy debris in the basin as well. Choose your route carefully.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Went into Drywood on Saturday, Nov. 13 with Trevor to climb "Obliteration". Near the top of the rock bands on the approach to the ice a rock Trevor was pulling on broke and sent him tumbling backwards down over the rock bands for about a 100'. Unbeleivably, he managed to stop himself on a small scree slope just above the next set of rock bands. When i finally got down to him he was starting to move. He was conscious and reasonably aware of what was going on. After a quick assesment we both surmised that nothing was broken. When i finally got him down to a safe ledge i set up an anchor to lower him the rest of the way. Fortunately Chris showed up about then to give me a hand lowering him down the rest of the way. It took about 3 hours but we finally got him out to safety. So the end result was a badly sprained ankle, lots and lots of gravel rash, cuts, bruises, a sore nose and a very sore body. The only thing that saved him from really serious injury was the 25 pound pack on his back and the helmut on his head. I can hardly wait to hear from the next stud that tries to justify to me why he doesn't wear a helmut.
Thanks to Chris, Rona and Dave and the two unknown hunters who assisted us.

Midnite Madness

Dave Stephens, Kevin Nemeth and myself skied into Wall Lake Thursday, Nov. 11 to do some ice climbing. I was just a little dissapointed in the condition of the ice. I figured being a north aspect and at about 6000' the ice would be in good shape by now but Midnite Madness was climable but sketchy as far as leading goes. We climbed one coulior further west but it definitely wasn't worth the 3 hour approach. The snow is getting hard and crusty so the skiing wasn't even very good. In fact it was boardering on treacherous unlike our trip on Oct. 23 into Bennett Pass when the skiing was phenomenal. Check out Dave Stephens website for some good pictures.

Local Ice Climbs for New Climbers

Wondering where to take those friends who have been pestering you to take them out ice climbing? Wanting to impress that significant other by freezing their toes and banging up their knuckles? If so, where should you go?

By far, the best intro area is Jensen's Resevoir East of Magrath. This has a 60 foot face that is good for beginners and relatively easy to top rope. There is little if any approach, and it is easy to switch off gear. The proximity to Lethbridge is also a boon. The angle also makes it easier to force new climbers to try ascending without crampons. This is good to get them confident about their foot work.

French Kiss can also be used for new climbers. However, this is a relatively busy spot. Because of this, it is usually best to set up your top rope on French Kiss (the left) instead of Quick & Dirty (the right). Plus this lets you tackle the steep ice near Pilier des Putains.

The pillars to the left of The Gasser can also provide some fun. However, the approach may be a bit much for complete novices. Also the ice at the base means switiching gear is more difficult than at other places. Also the Grade may be a bit stiff unless you are a seasoned rock climber.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Favorite Fall Scrambles

With so few scrambling routes documented, it is hard to pick stand outs. However, here are my picks.

Sofa North Butress.
This is a nice butress that is usually pretty clear of snow. Early in the winter, the road up the Chief Mountain Highway is still open, making for a short approach. It's location adjacent to the prairies means less snow, and better weather. The views aren't overly remarkable, but the scrambling is usually on good rock. As a bonus, the difficulty can easily be changed as you approach or recede from the edge of the arete. In the winter, the views down into Sullivan's Falls are quite good.

Crandell Knife Edge
The lower part is usually snow free. Near the top, the scrambling gets interesting as you follow the second cockscomb. While most people avoid this section, this is one of the key features of the route. If descending the east butress, be especially careful of the avalanche slopes. The views positions on the ridge are quite good. Sticking to the knife edge makes for about 3 different sections of 3rd to 4th class scrambling.

Avion Ridge
Before Red Rock closes and the snow flies, the changing colors on the Tamaracks make this a must do route. There is minimal scrambling.

Dragons Back (Forum Ridge)
Another nice early fall route. The views down into Kintla are great. As the winter progresses, the ridge separating Forum and Cameron becomes more interesting.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Looking For Contributors

If you are interested in making posts about hiking, scrambling, or climbing routes in the park, send an email to chris goble at cgoble@allstream.net. I will send you some instructions on how to make your own posts. As with any blog, any one is free to comment on a post.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

2004 Ice Opener

While ice has been forming up in Banff for some time, things down in Waterton have yet to start. To start the season off right, locals climbers are again having their informal season opener. This will be held on Saturday, December 11th at 10am at Quick and Dirty in Waterton.

For more information click here


This blog is designed to help give people up to date information about hiking, scrambling, and climbing in the Waterton area. It is also meant to be an easy forum wherein people can update or correct information. Finally, it is hoped that this will be a good venue whereby new people to the area can meet other people who share their interests.

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