Saturday, July 19, 2014

Waterton Lakes

So the most exciting thing that's happened in the last week has definitely been the arrival of my new nephew. Congratulations to Mark and Beth!

In between some fantastic baby snuggling we made it down to Waterton Lakes National Park. We arrived late in the evening without much of a plan. When we crawled out of the tent the next morning, Jason pointed at a random mountain and suggested we climb it.

I was a bit skeptical, but it turned out to be a pretty easy scramble with awesome views, a cool window to the prairies, and a lovely seat for two on the top.

After flipping through a tourist info guide, we decided Red Rock Canyon was also a must see. It was well worth the visit with some cool hiking, natural waterslides that almost worked, and one pretty sweet bouldering problem.

Due to the abundance of chossy rock, the Waterton Area doesn't have a lot of established long rock climbs, but I did manage to find some info on a six pitch route up the southeast ridge of something called Yarrow peak. It sounded interesting, so we followed the vague directions and set out. After nearly three hours of epic hiking we finally found possibly the most horrendous rock on the planet. Our six pitch ridge climb, while only 5.6 (if that) was absolutely terrifying. It was steep, exposed, and about eighty percent of the holds would shatter into a million pieces if you breathed on them the wrong way. After several anxious hours we hit the top of the ridgeline and managed to breath a sigh of relief before having to navigate the scree filled descent.

The six pitch climb ended up being a 9 hour, 12.5 km, 3000ft round trip. (And my route selection privileges have been revoked for the rest of the summer).

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