Showing posts from January, 2013


The Rockies are a big place. Even after knocking about them for a quarter of a century it's not too hard to find entire ranges you've never set your eyes on. And I find there's something especially rewarding about filling in blanks on an otherwise well-known map. The Dry Ranges were my latest "discovery". Until last month I'd never visited any of the empty valleys north of the popular Ghost River and Waiparous Creek areas. I suppose what I needed was a good excuse to go check the place out, and a few weeks ago I got one. "I'm not much into mixed climbing," Lyle emailed, "but I thought you might be interested." Attached was a photo of a discontinuous drip: ice, then rock, then a bit more ice, then a bit more rock, then a final ice curtain. Now I enjoy drytooling for its own sake as much as the next person (and maybe even a bit more). However, I find that the classiest (if not necessarily the hardest) lines are the truly mixed ones, the

Up and down the Parkway

The Icefields Parkway in winter is a special place. One moment you're driving on a slushy TransCanada Highway, fighting ski traffic and getting your windshield splashed by eighteen-wheelers; the next you're turning off onto a quiet, snow-covered road, with just the occasional car and big snowy mountains pressing in from both sides. Until you turned off the TransCanada you were just lingering on winter's doorstep; now you've entered its domain. Still, magical as the Parkway in winter might be, until a few weeks ago it hadn't figured prominently in my ice climbing plans. It's a long drive from Cowtown, and one I've done many, many times. These days it takes something rather special to entice me all the way up there. And with several projects on the go in the Bow Valley, I had more than enough to do closer to home. But a chance one-day hit at the beginning of December revealed all manner of rarely formed drips high on the south face of Mt. Wilson. As a result