Since Kristal grew up in Alberta, we made several stops to enjoy the hospitality of her various family members. Although there wasn't much in the way of climbing, the awesome food and beds to sleep in more than made up for it. First up was her grandparents in Medicine Hat, which happens to boast the world's largest teepee. Yup, this is as exciting as it gets in the Hat.
We then made our way up to the small town of Oyen, where Kristal grew up, to visit her parents. On the way Alberta came through where Ontario failed. We spied a moose just off the road along the Red Deer River.
Next on the list was Kristal's brother Mark in Lethbridge. Thankfully Mark is also a climber and Lethbridge isn't too far removed from some honest to goodness climbing. Before we checked that out though we visited the Glenwood Erratic, another glacially displaced boulder sitting alone in an otherwise featurless landscape.
This boulder was actually pretty big and had quite a few problems. Despite the fact that it was a bit damp, and we eventually got rained out, we had a great time and climbed a bunch of cool problems. Here is Mark on one of our favourites, Sheep That Kick.
We then spent two days bouldering at Frank Slide. The bouldering is located in a large talus field that was the result of a landslide at Turtle Mountain in 1903. Approximately 90 million tonnes of rock crashed from the east face and covered 3 square kilometers of the valley floor. Here's a view of of what's left of the east face of the mountain.
It's a pretty unique area since the boulders were so recently created (geologically speaking). They haven't seen as much erosion as the boulders at most other destinations. The landings aren't quite as nice as we are used to though (we are spoiled), as there are rocks scattered everywhere, but with Mark along we had 4 crashpads, a luxury by our standards. Here he is on a couple of cool problems.
From there we visited one more galcial erratic, the Big Rock outside of Calgary, which has the distinction of being the largest in the world.
It's actually big enough that about half the problems are far too high to be comfortably bouldered. We just jumped on some of the cool shorter problems.
That night we drove to Calgary and stayed with Kristal's aunt Lana. It would be the last stop in our whirlwind tour of Alberta. The next day we hit the road and put a full day of driving to our first major destination, Canada's bouldering and climbing mecca, Squamish BC.