So if you read my last blog, well mostly looked at photos, you will know that our plans took a bit of turn when we met up with Sarah in Vancouver. Originally we were going to return to Squamish and climb some more around there, then head back to the Rockies and do a bit more alpine style climbing. This did not happen. We ended up leading an expedition for British students in the Yukon. Here is how that came about and about the expedition.
When we met with Sarah in Vancouver at some point fairly early on she told us that her adventure expedition leader had been taken ill and was no longer able to join the expedition to the Yukon, the company were trying to fill his place but she wasn't sure how long that would take. Off hand I said to Sarah that Matt and I could do it. She thought about this for a while and then asked if we were serious, if we were she would let the UK office know. So, Matt and I talked and thought and came to the decision if they were willing to fly us both out to work...
It has been a while since my last blog, it has been hard to find the time and motivation to sit and type at a computer. There is just soo much to do. This is going to be a very type light blog and basically just photos.
After our adventure up McBride we headed back to the Squamish and met up with my sister Heather. She is also a climber so we spent a couple of days taking her climbing in the bluffs and up the lower apron of the Chief.
Heather took to crack climbing easily, the style seemed to suit her.
We only had a couple of days in Squamish before we went to Vancouver to meet more of my family. It was nice to catch up with every one and see some sights of the city and eat some tasty food.
After a few days in the city we were glad to return to the mountains. We found a spot by the river and de-compressed
We went climbing in Seal Cove, saw a seal and had the place to ourselves before the sun came around and started to cook us.
We went hiking on rest days when we didn't feel like cli...
We have been back from the Island just over a week now, it was an action packed adventure week catching up with various friends in a stunning part of BC. I would like to share with you one part of our time on the Island, our summit of Mc Bride in Strathcona provincial park.
Matt and I went to the park to catch up with Nicki and Chris and to have a mini hiking mountainous adventure. The plan was to head up McBride, the 7th highest mountain in Strathcona park, we were also joined by Kyle who worked with Nicki and Chris.
There was some chat the night before we left about whether or not we should take axes and crampons, we were aware there would be snow up there but how much and what condition it was in wasn’t known to us. We got some inside info off people who had run up it fairly recently and they assured us we wouldn’t need tools, which I was happy with, a lot less to carry. This may seem like a bit of irrelevant detail now but it will make sense later on in my story.
Ever since we went to a talk about climbing in Canada from a colleague a few years ago, Squamish has been out list of top destinations to climb. The Chief, a huge granite cliff just rising straight out of the ground has been in the back of our minds since we got in our van Christoff just over a month ago.
Finally we have arrived in Squamish and after a month of sport climbing we are feeling stronger and more mentally equipped for some of the sends ahead. Neither of us have done as much sport climbing as this before coming to Canada and at first I wasn’t sure if it would really help with my Trad climbing. However I found once I got used to the fact that my protection was no longer my choice, I could focus more on the movements I needed to do like never before, rather than looking for protection, I started to look to link as many moves together as possible so that I would flow over the rock. I still looked ahead at times and thought, ‘I really hope I can get to the next bolt’ bu...
On the 22nd of June 2018 a travelling British couple turned up to a free camping spot they had seen online near Manning Provincial Park. Little did they know they had just arrived at the same camping spot for a nearby canoe clubs annual river trip.
It wasn’t long before the Canoeist made their presence known to the couple. In quick succession 3 members approached the couple, separately and the conversations went a little like this…
1st Canoer ‘ you’re not with the canoe club are you?’
1st Canoer ‘are you staying here tonight?’
Couple ‘Yeah we think so, we are going to go hiking in the provincial park’
1st Canoer ‘that’s good, well just so you know I’m expecting between 6 to 12 people to arrive later.’
Skip to Canoeist 2 about 5 min later.
Canoer 2 ‘You aren’t with the canoe club are you?’
Couple ‘No,we are going hiking in the area’
Canoer 2 ‘well you should know we are expecting between 10 to 20 people to arrive later’
The Skaha Bluffs in Penticon is our current climbing venue and we are loving it. I’m going to try and do a general overview of our time here rather than a blow by blow account of each day. This place is just as much about the people you meet and the atmosphere as it is about the climbing.
View form the top of a climb on the Retardant crag
Skaha Bluffs is a collection of small crags that are concentrated in a relatively small area. The majority of the climbing is sport but there are a few trad routes here and there. The climbing is very different again to Jasper, the walls we have been on aren’t too steep but there is a lot of crimping and it feels more technical and balancy climbing. Sometimes route finding is super simple because you have so few options and other times you move one way and quickly realise you were meant to go the other way. I think the biggest thing I have found here is to lead with your feet, which suits my style.
Jasper was our first destination on our first week of our (hopefully) three month climbing trip.
The national park is stunning and currently at this time of year not too crammed with big coaches of tourists. The weather is still cool as you are up in the mountains but some of the approaches soon have you sweating in your t-shirt. The rock in the Rockies is known for being a little bit chossy but we didn’t as much loose rock as we have done in the Bow valley.
The trip started off with us leaving Golden on Monday afternoon with the hope of getting part way up the Icefield parkway to camp. As with all true travelling though it did not go according to plan, about 3\4 of the way to Lake Louise we realised that we had left our Parks pass in a friends car the previous day, who was now in Canmore. After much debate we decided it was just easier to go get it off him, this meant a roughly 160 km round trip de-tour.
So on Tuesday morning, bright and early we set off from Canmore, reunited with our...
One of the big reasons I came to Canada was to climb on ice, I have managed to do this but it is hasn't been as simple as I imagined and it took me longer than expected to get into.
I have some experience of winter climbing in Scotland, soloed grade 1 and 2 gullies, lead some grade 3 and seconded 4 and quite a bit more Alpine climbing in Europe including Chere Couloir, so with that experience I hoped that I would transition onto waterfall ice out here fairly easily. I found out on my first outing over here though that my head thought it was a very different ball game altogether.
Our first trip was to Tangle falls out on the Icefields Parkway, this is 3 hour drive from where we live in Golden. This was a great venue to start on, it's in a beautiful location, the walk in is non-existent and you could go up some easy lines to the top and then set up top ropes on slightly harder lines.
We were all super excited as not only was this our first day out this season but it was also out first oppor...
I made my decision to go and work in Canada over a year ago. It was something I had been thinking about for a long time, I turned 30 in the summer so this was my last year I could apply.
Although this decision seemed simple, it wasn't just me that this choice would affect. Matt and I have been together for just over 4 years.
When I first approached Matt with the idea of going to Canada for at least a year, he wasn't against the idea but wasn't exactly excited either. It took me a bit of time to win him over to the idea completely. Looking at things like ice climbing in Canada and how good the snow is for skiing out there definetly helped.
Something that made it a bit harder for Matt was his age. He is 2 years older than me so he was already past the age limit for a working Holiday Visa. For a British person anyway. Matt however has Irish heritage, he has some Irish grandparents, must be where he gets his ginger beard from.
With the recent arrival to Canada of my partner Matt also came all my ice climbing equipment such as crampons, helmet, ice screws and my new set of DMM Apex axes. I was of course very happy to see Matt but finally I could get out on some Canadian waterfall ice.
So the next time I had some days off, one of them was reserved for our first ice climbing trip in Canada. I've got to admit I have been very lucky with my house mates here in Golden B.C. One of them is also called Matt and it turns out he is just as into climbing and mountaineering as we are, actually more. He also has a fair bit of experience ice climbing and has been living in the area for a few years. So the three of us hatched a plan to head to Tangle creek falls.
Tangle creek falls is a three hour drive from Golden, in the UK we wouldn't really consider driving that for a day trip, it's more of weekend distance. Here in Canada we have had to adjust to the size of this country and how far apart everything is....