Wednesday, August 06, 2008
not too soon to see the ramparts of home
Upon arriving home and spending a relaxing evening with Suz, I was anxious to test myself in the mountains while I was still battle hardened from the summer. I First chose Mt Grotto which at 8881 feet seemed a good first choice. I solo climbed the ACC direct line here shown in yellow.
I was quite pleased to make the summit in 2 hours and 30 minutes which I will have difficulty besting in the future I think. Adding my own height to the mountain, and by standing on two stacked rocks, my eyes were perched at an even 8888 feet! A suitable companion task to the Quest walk in Saskatoon I thought.
After a rest day, Suz and I went to the foot of Mt Bogart for a very relaxing hike though with significant elevation gain.
Along the way I revisited my failed attempt on Mt Sparrowhawk seen behind me. The picture below shows me about 3 thousand vertical feet from Spray Lake, our starting point. Around this elevation(6000ft) the hoary marmot can often be found, and we discovered a small colony here with several of them sunny themselves and poking around uncaring of our invasion of their privacy. This one was pulling up rocks to eat the yummy grubs hidden underneath.
After another rest day, I made an attempt on the Middle Sister, part of the Three Sister group south of the Trans Canada by Canmore. Middle sister, shown above is not surprisingly, the block in the middle! My route climbs up Stewart Creek, a series of bolder-strewn dry waterfalls, then traverses the south face.
Its a pretty big undertaking and the way I felt getting out of the car in the morning was more suggestive of pure sloth than unbridled enthusiasm. But I soldiered on picking my way through the boulders till I was back in a good tempo. At one point, I was finding a route up a dry waterfall when I realized I was on very loose scree on slab with bad exposure on one side. Without care it would be easy to slide into the small canyon beside me. I quickly but carefully downclimbed and traversed over to a different line. When you're by yourself, even something remotely dangerous must be treated carefully and respectfully.
Here I am at the col connecting Big Sister from Middle sister. I wasted too much energy by choosing a straight ascent line rather than a wider and longer traverse and at this point, I was pretty tired. Off in the distance is the Trans Canada hi-way and the flat plains of the prairies extending to the horizon.
I think this picture also shows how tired I am! Perhaps I'll take 2 days off before I set out again. After a summer of hard work, I'll take this unpaid and harder work every time.
Posted by and then the_doctor