For our first climb in the Canadian Rockies we chose an easy route: the East Ridge of Mt. Nestor (II, 5.5) - a 9,744' peak that lies off the Spray Lakes road south of Canmore. The guidebook referred to the route as "an enjoyable afternoon climb" so we felt good about sleeping in.
While packing up in the morning, I pulled off my helmet and pointed to the space blanket duct tapes inside in. "You might want to bring one of these," I said to Dave.
Dave looked at me and laughed, and with a very dramatic gesture he ripped his space blanket out of his helmet, flung it inside the van and slammed the door. Our fate was sealed (and you can guess what happens next). We began hiking at the abysmally late hour of 9:30 am and by 10:30 am we were off the trail and 4th classing up to the base of the route.
The route is a 2,500' with snow, ice and rock up to 5.5. The lower portion is mostly 4th class with bit of easy 5th class here and there. The middle of the route had a lot of snow on it and the top portion, the crux, has a roof traverse pitch that is rated 5.5 in difficulty. ( Read more... )
The gift was causing me to slip away. Bob had given us a look into the life of a dreamer who had abandoned all to live in the present. This is the life he was offering - a life outside of the dull realities of work, taxes, family and debt. A life where the days blend into one, where the only reality is the present and the voices calling out from your past are bottled, buried and forgotten. A life alone where the realm of caring is pushed into a forgotten zone and the only thing that matters is the next sunny spell when you can escape into the mountains, your passion inching upwards while tethered to the earth with a thin rope... ( Read more... )