On Saturday, May 23 2015 Raf and I decided we were in the mood for an easy scramble. We settled on Waputik Peak on the border of Banff and Yoho National Parks after Raf assured me that the slopes looked dry already a week ago. I couldn't believe there was that little snow already near the divide - but he was right.
2015 was an interesting winter in the Rockies. Many ski resorts had to close early, thanks to low snow and temperatures that soared above normal. Calgary didn't even seem to get winter at all! In a strange twist, however, we started to notice that the glaciers and mountains along the Divide had plenty of coverage - even though valley bottoms were completely melting out.
On Sunday, April 19th we awoke in -15 degrees feeling pretty darn good with ourselves. The previous day we'd skied into our camp beneath Mount Columbia and even managed to ascend the peak before collapsing into our sleeping bags after a long and hard 17 hour day.
Colin Haley is an elite alpinist based out of Seattle. He uses words like "easy" and "solo" when talking about Robson's Emperor Ridge (although to be fair he did end up bailing and descending the west face on a 60m 5.5mm rope with a scary rappel incident).
After a very pleasant scramble on Labyrinth Mountain, Wietse and I still had plenty of gas in the tank to go for a second summit. Due to the crossing of the Red Deer River and a shared approach via horse track along Wolf Creek, it makes very good sense to tackle both Labyrinth Mountain and Mount Minos on the same day.
On Wednesday, April 8 2015, I climbed Mount Athabasca with Ferenc in perfect spring conditions. This left me wanting more in the way of snow ascents, hopefully on skis, for the weekend of April 11/12. Alas, the weather report didn't bode well for a nice summit on skis.
As the first peak of my 40's, I thought it would be nice to tag an 11000er that's been on my radar for years already. Mount Athabasca looms over the Columbia Icefields center along highway 93 running from Banff to Jasper.
Josh Wharton is an elite alpinist from Rifle, Colorado who has done big, bad ascents all over the globe. In 2011 he finally turned his attention to the Canadian Rockies, not expecting very much. He got a good taste of how badass / good they are and came back in 2012 for some serious climbs.
The wind was forecast to be strong all over the Rockies on Sunday, March 29, 2015. The forecasts were right. I woke several times in the Bighorn Campground near Ya Ha Tinda by the sounds of a gusty west wind. When the alarm went off at 04:00 it was still gusting pretty strong but at least the sky over us was clear and the air temperate was quite warm at around 5 degrees Celsius.
It wasn't looking good as I sat in the Tim Horton's in Sundre on Saturday, March 28 2015. It was around 11 in the morning and it was pouring outside! Not just a mist, but a full on down pour. I was waiting for Steven and Ben to arrive from Edmonton before we continued our drive to the Bighorn Campground in the Ya Ha Tinda area of the front ranges.