Ghost River Wilderness

We made two and a half trips in to the Ghost River Wilderness area… Rob and Pete made the first trip in to the South Ghost to visit Wicked Wanda. Although we ran away from the top section fearing that some of the wet and poorly formed 10 metre long hanging daggers of ice might break off and squash and kill us!

Ghost River Wilderness
Wicked Wanda
Pete and Laetitia in the North Ghost

The second trip to the North Ghost was made with the help of Terry’s friends John and Alvin who have awesome off-road equipped Jeeps perfect for the journey. The route in to the North Ghost is much trickier than the last time we visited in 2007 thanks to the awful floods of 2013.

The temperature was -24 °C, plus there was a brutal wind blowing through the river valley making for a minus who-knows-what-temperature! So to make sure we all stayed warm we opted for a very sociable mass solo of This House of Sky.

Rob, Terry, and Alister in This House of Sky

The final trip was an aborted trip! Our normal SUVs were just not up to the job of getting in to the Ghost – we failed to get past the first bridge…

Our Jeep stuck in the ice at the first Ghost bridge!

After wasting the morning pulling the SUV out of the ice twice (!) we ran away to some close by road-side (ish) ice to salvage the day’s climbing. Wedge Smear was selected.

Pete leading up the central pillar of Wedge Smear with spindrift falling from above
Terry following the central pillar of Wedge Smear

Parties & Rest Days

Laetitia took a few more rest days than normal as part of her recovery. She did enjoy a very indulgent salmon and cream cheese bagel on one of her rest days – although she made up for the calories by then going to the excellent Canmore swimming pool at the Elevation Place!

Sorry no pictures, but we must also send thanks to Joanna Croston (and the Canadian Alpine Club) for the amazing “welcome to Canada” meal she prepared for us! 😀

Plus we were lucky enough to coincidentally time our trip to Canmore with a full on major birthday celebration…

A live band at the Drake
Craigs Waystation – perhaps the best all-day breakfasts in Canmore?
Pete enjoying a late breakfast at Craigs before heading off for a trip to the Banff hot springs
Will celebrating his birthday!
Pete, Terry, Laetitia, Rob, and Pete at Will’s birthday party
The gang – Laetitia, Pete, Terry, Pete, and Rob – having a fine dinner at the George Town Inn on St Patrick’s Day evening

Lake Louise

We made two trips to Lake Louise Falls! (Well actually it was three! On the first trip to Lake Louise we had arrived at the park park when Laetitia realised she’d left her boots back in Canmore. So we drove home and back again!)

Laetitia and Pete made the first on the second day of our trip. Then Pete, Rob, and Pete made a second trip on the last day of the trip. It hadn’t been our chosen destination for the day, we were heading for the Tokkum Pole in Marble Canyon. But the Radium Highway was closed off when we got to the junction from the Trans-Canada highway – there had been an avalanche that had buried and killed two snow-shoe walkers! Sad.

Pete exiting the ice cave on Lake Louise Falls
Rob getting in to the cave belay on Lake Louise Falls
Rob, Pete, and Pete at the bottom of Lake Louise Falls

Field – Carlsberg Column & Circus Circus

We had a couple of days in the Field area despite the high avalanche danger! We’d heard that Circus Circus, a rarely formed classic route, was in good condition. Then, after the Park Service had done some avalanche control on Mount Denis, we stole a day on Carlsberg Column…

The first pitch of Circus Circus
Laetitia abseiling from Circus Circus
Laetitia approaching Carlsberg Column

Johnston Canyon

We also visited another easily accessed and close by (to Canmore) venue, Johnston Canyon…

The entrance to Johnston Canyon
Pete climbing some funky ice at Johnston Canyon
Eyeing up the hanging ice above the cave to see if any was likely to break off before committing to the climb out of the cave
Pete climbing out of the cave on to the steep (WI 5+) ice above

Pete Frost dropped his crampons on the walk out – so if anyone finds them you know where to get in touch … comments below! 😉

Grotto Canyon

After a ten year break (!) we returned to Canada to get stuck in to some of what is likely the world’s best ice climbing… The trip was advertised as a joint Alpine Club and Climbers’ Club meet. But there was a surprisingly low take up, just 5 of the 9 available spaces were taken. This wasn’t a problem though as the gang were a fine bunch and we thoroughly enjoyed Terry’s superb hospitality in his wonderful Canmore home!

Our first day of the two weeks of ice adventuring was in Grotto Canyon. As well as climbing the classic Grotto Falls (where we bumped in to the local hero Margo Talbot) we also had some fun on the well used Hers

Grotto Canyon – Pete climbing the hooked out Hers

Costa Blanca ’16/’17

Just back in the UK from a ace extended week in the Costa Blanca. There was a massive gang of people there over the New Year period and so we were lucky enough to snag a doss with our friends Steve & Sandra! 😀

Here are a few pictures from the trip…

El Diamante
El Diamante follows the pillar in the centre just right of the pale yellow area in six pitches. Although I managed to spurn the 6a+ pitch thinking it looked too easy! What a fool. Ah well, I climbed a nice 6c pitch instead! 😉
El Diamante
Steve figuring out the line of the penultimate pitch of El Diamante
El Diamante
Steve happy back on the ground after El Diamante, and with no stuck ropes after all the abseils!
Magical Mystery Tour
Clair on the abseil approach to Magical Mystery Tour – the ladders are a relic of fishing (or perhaps smuggling given the theme of the route names hereabouts). They are VERY unsafe, dropping some 40 metres attached to the rock with nothing more than electrical flex in places!
Magical Mystery Tour
Clair on one of the easy traverse pitches of Magical Mystery Tour
Magical Mystery Tour
Looking back to the belay on the penultimate pitch of Magical Mystery Tour – Clair led the last crux pitch – good job!
dinner
A select gang enjoying a more traditional Spanish dinner at a tiny local restaurant in Calpe
Vuelo del Aguila
Steve starting the second 6a+ pitch of Vuelo del Aguila in the Mascart Gorge, a tricky chimney carried on above Steve
Vuelo del Aguila
The top of Vuelo del Aguila with the Penon and Calpe beyond
walk
Laetitia walking on New Years day – on the way to take a peek at the Barranc de l’Infern
Barranc de l'Infern
The waterway scenery below of the technical section of the Barranc de l’Infern
Barranc de l'Infern
The supposed “duck” at the end of the technical sections of the Barranc de l’Infern – how deep does the water have to be to make this in to a duck?!
Arenal
Crowded scenes at the climbers gathering bar, the Arenal
Parle
The stunning abseil in to the Parle sea cave
Parle
Steve climbing out of the awesome (a word that is used too often, but in this case correct) Parle sea cave
Toix West
Pete, Keith, Fiona, and Steve at Toix West – enjoying a chat, the sun, and then some more routes!
L'Atzúvia
The gang at the new crag De L’Atzúvia (not in the Rockfax guidebook). Many of the routes were not properly shown on our poor topo, and most were graded “approximately” – anyway I did a great 6c route to finish my trip on! 🙂

Venues

1.markerworld-linkEl Diamante
2.markerworld-linkAlcalalí
3.markerworld-linkMarín
4.markerworld-linkParle
5.markerworld-linkMagical Mystery Tour
6.markerworld-linkVuelo del Aguila
7.markerworld-linkDe L'Atzúvia
8.markerworld-linkBarranc de l'Infern