Monday, February 28, 2005


Blair and I ended up trying Rosedale on Saturday. The warm weather meant rock shoes with no cold feet. However the warm sun put us into a doze. Getting onto the start of the route proved committing. Some gear was left here as apparently another party thought the same thing. With day light dwindling, we ended up climbing Lichen Line Left and then traversed over to the ledge above Rosedale to drop a rope.

The start proved a bit challenging. Good gear can be found off the first holds. Perhaps 5.7+ is a bit of a sandbag. How about 5.8 with a bouldery start?

The upper pitch was fantastic. It had solid rock on a steep face with lots of exposure. A nice looking crack joined up near the top. I am trying to remember if I did this section when I first did the climb with Kris Jensen? I think so, but can't be certain. The guidebook shows that the route heads up this face (a little bit back, where one would start after belaying from the ledge), but I would take a closer look at it if I were to try it again. Having felt that Rosedale was a 5.7+ could mean that the top is a bit run out.

All in all it was a great day. Blair even got a sun burn. However, the burning question remains, what are people's votes for the biggest sandbag in the area?

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Hump

Blair Piggot on the Classic Upper Prow

The Hump was in great shape this weekend. Even during the sub zero temps on Monday the rock was relatively warm and friendly. As always, the Upper Prow proved to be one of the best routes on the face.

A new bolt has gotten put in on the bottom of Leaning Column. It looks to have been put in this year. It is about 15 feet below the end of the brown Dolomite. The pro is pretty thin in this area. I was jsut wondering what people's comments are about extra bolts on the hump? Any feedback would probably be appreciated. I know many people are still unsure as to who the active climbers around the south may be, and who is doing what.

Franklin Motel Skiing

Custer and Herbst Glacier

This weekend, the infamous Blair, Jess and myself took advantage of the beautiful dump of snow to ski up to summit lake. Convinced that the sun would make getting in an ice climb uncertain, we decided not to let another trip pass with out needlessly carrying a pack full of ice gear. Between Blair and myself, we had too much tradition to break the trend.

The skiing was fabulous. The ice was a bit hollow sounding and sun baked. However, things were fully formed. The temps were hot, and the views fantastic. Thoughts of $4.25 poutine down at the Kilmorey seemed to speed up the trip back down to the car.

Top rope Pig pounding the poutine out of that ice


An unfortunate accident happened in the Park on Monday. I think some of the news agencies are covering things, so I will see if I can link to one of their stories eventually.

From what I gather, a couple was scrambling around to the left of Quick and Dirty. Apparently a woman fell and was injured. Lisa, the park rescue coordinator, quickly came down from a climb on the hump to participate in the rescue. A helicopter lifted her into the opening at the base of the ice. The injured scrambler was then heli-ed out to the road where an ambulance took her to the hospital. Everything went very quickly and smoothly.

Kudo's to all those who helped out. It is great knowing that the park has so many resources and trained personal on hand. Hopefully the injury will prove to be as minor as con be hoped.

A image gallery from Blair can be found here

Friday, February 18, 2005


Michewabum is another one of those spectacular mountains tucked away, almost beyond notice. And yet, it it one of the more spectacular peaks around.

As nice as this picture is, chances are it is one valley off. It looks to be the Northeast face of Goat Haunt.

There are a couple of ways to get up the peak. Not having done it, I think I will just content myself to the approach.

From the US side, the trail crew occasionally tries to cut out the old trail that is still found on the maps. I have run into this trail higher up the valley, but haven't managed to get on the lower portion. Our approach from a number of years ago involved bushwhacking up the north side of the river for several kilometers until we finally got a few game trails that led to an opening a few kilometers before the lake. Here old pic-nic tables and camp facilities were still present from more popular days. The pools in the river were clear and deep. Each car sized pool had at least 20 large bull trout. The valley was truly spectacular. I believe we left drove up one of the side roads on the reserve, hoping that our car wouldn't get ticketed or damaged.

You can approach the peak via the ridge line above crypt lake, or following the ridge above Goat Haunt Lake.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Blackleaf Concerncs

I got the following email from Rob Hagler, some of the active climbers in the area will know. Along with Randall Green and Jake Mergenthaler, he helped supply much of the route info for the area. Rob said he will post some follow up information as his work allows.

Basically the US Forest Service (the Rocky Mountain Ranger District) is concerned about the rapid growth in use during the summer months (all though climbers don't match the number of gun toting hunters during the fall months). As I've stressed before, the area is considered sensitive grizzly habitat, but it's also as under developed as a place could be. This is part of the draw to this area and I personally would like to see it stay this way. To this end, camping and erosion are the two biggest areas that the forest service identified as concerns from climbers. They have ticketed climbers for camping illegally, but they don't want to have to do that. They would prefer we police ourselves - It's easier for them and causes less damage. The new topo sheet explains where they would prefer to have campers. Also, we submitted a grant application today to the Access Fund. They expressed interest in helping us with some funds and want to be a part of smaller "grass-roots" project, so the chances of us receiving the grant sound pretty good. If we receive it, we plan on organizing a work day and climbing fest/competition day as well. We would graciously welcome any Albertans that would like to come down for the fun. I'll keep you posted

So basically it looks like we need to watch what we do when we camp down there. I believe the round-about by the washrooms is off limits (but I wouldn't completely trust my memory on that). Perhpas we can get ressurect the season opening tick fest and have a big work party down there.

some more info on Blackleaf

Monday, February 14, 2005

Crowsnest Mountain

Matt and I went up to crowsnest mountain on Saturday. The forestry road is plowed so we were able to drive all the way to the trailhead, this would allow access to a number of peaks that are normally done in the summer. We managed to get all the way up to the chimney and turned around due to potential avi hazard. There was a lot of snow high up in the chimney. There is a typical snow pack, faceted snow under the Jan 9 rain crust and 5-12 inches of wind loaded snow on top. The crust is thin in spots and punching through became quite a pain. Of note there are three ice climbs at the base of the 7 sisters that were in shape. Left appears to be w3, center and right are supposedly around w4. They all looked to be around 30-40m. I'll try and post the pics later. Cheers

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The 1st non anual -"I'm outta here to the hotsprings fest"

I've talked to a few people who have expressed interest in heading out to some hotsprings for a weekend of skiing, climbing and soaking. Originally we were thinking of heading down to the hot springs at Missoula, however that may be a bit far. Instead it looks like some of us will head up to Lussier instead. There are a couple of ice climbs nearby (Gibraltar and the Bull River Climbs). I think it will be a pretty relaxed weeked of camping at Whiteswan lake. With all the logging roads up there, I think there will be lots of trails for x-country skiers, and more challenging stuff up at Top of the World.

I will be heading up to Calgary Thursday night or Friday afternoon. Anyone is welcome, especially if they bring a BBQ. This will be for the weekend of the 26th of February. I will post more information later.

Crowsnest Mountain in Winter2

Brad Hagen sent me an email with some good information on early season conditions on Crowsnest Mountain a few seasons ago. I thought I would post it here for everyone. Thanks Brad.

I've done it really early Winter before too much snow piles up, and late Winter after the main gulley has avalanched. The main trick is the snow stability of the gulley itself; the upper slopes are often blown-free of significant snow, and usually well-rimed up. While avalanche hazard isn't too bad higher up, routefinding and climbing can be surprisingly testy, with 1 - 2 " of snow and thin ice on top of downsloping rock slabs. Falling off seemed to be a bigger concern than avalanches, and I've been turned around the last 200' feet more than once due to thin ice & snow on top of awful rock.

We also camped just below the gulley, just for the hell of it. The wind creates a great spot for a nice campsite (need a shovel to dig in), but there is danger of rockfall. I got nailed by a rock when setting up our tents. If I hadn't had a helmet on I probably would be dead (cracked helmet), and we didn't sleep much that night consequently. No real sheltered spots for tents that seemed 100% free of potential rockfall. I'm attaching some pics of our camp.

image 1

image 2

image 3

To contact Brad, email him at brad.hagen at

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Google Maps

Some of you may use toporama from the canadian government for maps. Others may use the NRIS site in montana for complete topo maps of the stae. Others may even prefer the satelite maps from pixxures. However for simple road trip planning, and navigating your way around cities, the new google maps site is hard to beat (well at least if you don't run safari). it has a nice java interface that seems much better than the old mapquest site that was similar. This is a definite plus for those individuals wanting to write up directions, put out maps in guidebooks etc. For guidebook authors, consider using a screen capture program to capture the google map, and then trace over it on another layer in photoshop.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Conditions Feb 8th to Feb 13th

Well no pictures today. I can't seem to find my battery charger. I was up at Cameron trying out my new ski's yesterday. The snow isn't very deep (6 inches or so), but it is tracked enough that the skiing was good. The snow is quite light, so while that would be good for powder seekers, I wouldn't be too confident about having enough base for many back country runs.

As for ice conditions, Irish Dreams looked to be completely in, however, I wouldn't feel too secure crossing the ice in the middle lake. The compound gullies were in better shape than I would have thought. The upper pitches of both had some ice on them. The right still looked a bit delicate, that left looked a bit thin. Kill Aisha was slowly started to come in (however it will be some time before it becomes a pure ice route). Quick & Dirty is very thin as well. None of the choice routes have touched down. Trap Line (opposite the crandell lake turnoff), is forming up quite well at the top, although I couldn't see the base to find out if it is doable. I also forgot to look at Sullivan's when driving out this morning.

On the other hand, my parents house is finally getting close to completion after only 2 years of work. They have the first coat of interior paint on!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Middler Ice Fest

Well, mother nature has sure been unpredictable this year. Rock climbing in january?? Anyways, there is probably a slim chance ice will form up by this weekend, so things will have to be put on hold. I know there are people who are wanting to get together or at least try to. Mayble we will try to have an informal get toghether in a couple of weeks. Cheers

Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Forgotten Mt. Anderson

Mt. Anderson, named for the chief astronomer of the 1874 boundary commision has always received relatively little attention from scramblers despite its prominent position over Red Rock Canyon, and the fine ridge walk this massif contains

The north west face of the mountain is a huge challenge. The ... ummm... interesting rock may have a fair bit to do with this. The headwall is well over a thousand feet tall and vertical through out. This fact would seem to indicate that this face may have better quality rock than many of its neighbours. Unfortunately I have never been to the base to check this out.

In spring a tempting colouir can be seen from the Red Rock parking lot. However the colouir appears to end at the start of a relatively large face of dubious quality. Perhaps this is one of those mountains destined to remain a relatively untrodden but picturesque backdrop.


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