Sunday, March 30, 2008

March 29-30

Driving up the Cameron highway to go skiing, I noticed that quick and dirty is still in (the main line). The choice is out of shape.

We did get a reasonable amount of light new snow in the townsite. I would guess about 8 inches. The mountains didn't seem to get nearly as much.

Also, if you are driving out to the park and you notice a big burn on the north side of the road before the Belly River bridge - there was a decent sized grass fire Friday afternoon. My mom was burning some dead grass by a pond and between some snow banks when the wind came up. It ended up burning 140 acres before the neigbours got together to put it out. The fire trucks arrived some time near the end. I guess the grass will really green up now!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Ice

The compound gullies are pretty much shot. The top pitch of the left route is still in, but looks quite sunbaked. The right side pillar is still standing, but not a wise objective.

Irish Dreams has fattened up considerably. No ice on the middle lake, however, means a wavy canoe ride across the lake.

The townsite still has very deep drifts of snow. It is taking some time to melt his year. The upper lake still has some ice on it.

My recommendation - skiing down at the Choteau hill before it closes.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Summit Lake Touring

Headed into the Summit Lake area for some turns on Saturday, and we were surprised to find awesome snow! The avalanche forecast called for travelling on sun crust and sastrugi, but we found at least 20 cms of fresh powder up top. The snowpack was very stable; the fresh snow on top tended to sluff of the icy layer below, but it was nothing to be concerned about at that time as there was no weight or substance to the sluff-alanches. We had a great time skiing from the ridge down to Cameron Lake.

On another note, on our drive in we saw that Expert's Choice has mostly fallen down. From talking to the warden, it sounds like we just missed watching it fall by about an hour. Quick & Dirty is looking pretty rotten and has a giant crack running across the climb about two thirds of the way up.

Pictures to follow soon.....


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Yarrow - Newman - Goat Lake Ridge Walk

A friend was asking about nice camping / hiking possibilities outside the park. I sent him this information on Yarrow. This valley is immediately north of the Park. It follows a gravel shell road for a few kilometers before heading up the main valley. This is one of several ways to access the main ridge connecting the ridge behind Goat Lake to the ridge behind the front range valleys (Drywood, Spionkop, Yarrow, etc).

The most interesting piece of historical information is the old native village that was moved here when the tribe was suffering from a devastating case of small pox. Almost all the tribe died. Apparently the local bears were quite brave in picking out the corpses, not distinguishing between the dead and dying. My grandfather found some human remains along the river bank around where one would probably set up camp.


Sunday, March 09, 2008

Lineham Falls

Skied into Lineham Falls Saturday with Raff and Dave and climbed the left hand side.

Lots of snow on the ski in. I lost the trail a couple of times because branches that would normally be above your head were chest high so the trail tended to blend in with the rest of the bush but for the most part it was an excellent ski in. The ice was in excellent condition and is the fattest i've ever seen it. The sun was on the ice until noon and then dissappeared behind Lineham Mtn. so i would expect the ice to be good for at least another 2 weeks. There was lots of water running off it which made it hard to stay dry but the upper pitch was the best WI4 shape i've ever seen it in. At the top of the first pitch there was lots of room to get the belay way over to the right to protect the belayer from ice off the second pitch. From there you could pick a line just about anywhere across the 20m curtain and head up.

Juste Nous Deux is also in the best shape i've ever seen it in but it is starting to suffer from the effects of the sun however as of yesterday it was still very climbable.
The right hand falls is pretty well melted out on the top and doesn't look very appealing (not that it looks that appealing when it's in good shape).
The Shining is probably finished for the year as well. The bottom bit is melting but the rest of it is really bleached out. I'm not sure i'd want to get on it.
I understand there was a group headed up to Summit Lake to climb as well. I hope they post a conditions report.......i'd love to hear what it was like.


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Compound Gullies

The bottom pitch of the left gully has been melted out all week. The right gully is still in, as in the center gully. Irish Dreams still seems to be in shape.

This would be a great week to get up Lineham or Crypt.

The rock is also warm enough to climb. We went for a hike out to the Pass Creek slabs. Nice and warm, but unfortunately as low angled and broken as ever.

For those that are interesting, I am also looking at spending May long weekend over at Lake Kookanusa. Hopefully we'll hit the rock, do some boating on the Yaak and Kootenai Falls run. There may even be a few people road biking on the back Yaak road, or canoeing the flatter Kootenai run.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Candlestick Maker

Jason and i went into the Ghost on Sunday and climbed Candlestick Maker. Bluebird skies and good ice made for an awesome climb. From where we parked the truck the approach was about 1hr15min to reach the grade 2 steps. We put our crampons on here and another 200m got us to the base of the grade 4 ice. It starts out steep and then rolls off to a moderate angle but it was a full 60m pitch. We hiked up the gully about another 80 to 100m to the grade 5 pillar. This was a fairly short pitch and then hike up the gully another 25m to the base of the last grade 5 pitch. The first third of this pitch is the crux of the whole climb. We climbed right out of the cave on the left hand side and straight up. It was technical dealing with the mushrooms and cauliflours but once by that it was steep but straight forward and about 50m. We were back down to the base of the grade 4 ice about 2:00pm. There are some bolted mixed pitches that we messed around on for a while and then headed out. It's an awesome climb and i'd definitely recommend it. I think I say that after every climb don't I???........


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