Monday, May 19, 2014

May Long Weekend - Stone Hill Climbing

For the long weekend, we escaped the rainy weather in Calgary by heading south to Montana for a weekend of climbing. We arrived late Friday night and set up camp in the dark after picking up some cheap beer at the gas station. We spent Saturday at Hold Up Bluffs North, a crag with lots of good trad and top rope options. The ratings down at Stone Hill are pretty difficult, and it can be a bit demoralizing to have trouble with 5.7 routes, so we let Liam lead and set up some top-ropes for us on some of the harder climbs.
Elizabeth flossing the crack on dental floss
With 3 ropes and 6 people, we were able to get lots of climbs in throughout the day. Jen and Cody met us later in the day and checked out some of the sport climbing in the area. Ticks were a big issue, we all found some on ourselves and we had to do periodic tick checks because they liked to crawl up pants!
Belaying from the side of the road
Kyle on Fantasyland
  Upon recommendation from a fellow climber, we relocated our campsite to the shores of Koocanusa. The water level is very low at this time of year, which made the shore a lot bigger than usual. Jen and Cody's tent would normally have been under water!
Amazing camping location!
On Sunday, we had a lazy start with pancakes! Once we got moving, we headed over to the Lizard Slabs where we spent most of the afternoon leading most of the routes on that crag. It was a good confidence boost! At the end of the day, we moved over to Room with a View (5.8), the iconic tower above the lake, so that Liam could give it a shot on lead. Although the route is bolted, there are several sections that are pretty airy, so Liam took a few cams to add to his protection on the way up.
Liam getting ready for his lead on Room with a View 
Liam made it look easy, climbing up to the top without issue. After his success, we all gave it a try (on top-rope!). It is one of the hardest 5.8's I have climbed, and definitely one of the most interesting. The move out of the little room is very committing.
Starting the climb
Liam in the room

Me moving out of the room and around the corner
Another group showed up just as we were finishing and saved us the walk up to get the anchor by leading it as a sport route. Unfortunately for him, he had the peanut gallery watching and giving advice, but he made it up after having a moment of questioning his decision-making. 
Great viewing area of the climbers
Back at camp, Kelly managed to get a hold of a kayak from another camper and went for a paddle and swim in the lake while we made dinner. After two hard days of climbing and late nights around the campfire, it was early to bed. We got up early with the intention of climbing, but it was cool and overcast. Cody and Jen left early to head home, while Kyle, Liam, Kelly and I packed up after breakfast and made the decision to go ride our bikes that we had left in Fernie. It had rained overnight so the climbing wouldn't have been so good anyways. Thanks for the awesome weekend everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment