Wow, what a way to kick off this Spring’s Mountain Skills Semester program. Fellow Mountain Guide, Nick Sharpe, and I were excited to meet this new group of eight aspiring mountain adventurers. The plan was to begin the 3 months with 10 days of ice climbing and a great 10 days it turned out to be.
The first 2 days found us near Canmore, where we honed our basic ice climbing skills. We spent time learning to just walk with crampons and quickly progressed by the second day to practicing our steep ice technique. We rested our tired arms the next day with an Avalanche education day in the classroom.
With 7 more days of ice climbing ahead we packed up the big red ‘Yam van’ and headed up the Icefields Parkway. Our base for the week was Rampart Creek Hostel. The next five days were spent learning and practicing the skills needed to complete the final goal of climbing a multi-pitch ice climb. We swung, kicked and drilled at the ice; sometimes rock, until our bodies quivered with exhaustion and our minds were overflowing with information.
Two more guides, Matt Muller and Jason Billings, joined our team for the multi-pitch climbing day. The weather was beautiful, with bright sun and warm temperatures. Ahhh, nothing quite compares to spring ice climbing. The teams tackled a wide variety of ice route. From the classic Weeping Wall; to the picturesque Melt Out and even to the steep pillars of Ice Nine; everyone’s day was a success.
Thanks for a grand adventure everyone
Written by Simon Robins, ACMG / IFMGA Alpine Guide
Photos thanks to Katrina Rosen, student on the Spring 2011 Mountain Skills Semester