Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ice Climbing - Rogan's Gully and Junkyards

David and Tyler came to visit me in Calgary! We had a really fun weekend, although we did none of the activities that we had planned for. High avalanche danger and very unseasonably warm temperatures prevented us from getting out backcountry skiing so Kyle and I took them out ice climbing for their first time. We picked Rogan's Gully because Kyle and I had done the route before and the overhead hazard isn't as bad as some of the other climbs in the area. We were pretty cautious though, and turned around when we encountered avalanche debris in the gully about 3/4 of the way up the route.
It felt like spring on the approach
 It was a warm sunny day, which was perfect for learning how to climb. The ice was almost like snow and it was easy to get good foot and tool placements. We had great views of Rundle and the valley below.
Tyler figuring out how to use the ice tools
David's first pitch of ice
David and Tyler simul-climbing
David makes his way up the ice
 We turned back before reaching the top because of avalanche concerns and were able to get down easily using the bolted anchors for rappels. When we got to the bottom of the route and were walking back to the car, we saw that a large chunk of the Cascade Falls route had fallen down in the hot sun, leaving bare rock. I am glad that our route didn't have any issues like that!
Tyler with Rundle in the background at the top of the last rappel
Very little snow to be had and there isn't much left to Cascade either
 Since it was so early and David and Tyler were keen to do more climbing, we stopped at Junkyards on our way home to get a bit more time on the ice. The ice was awesome and we set up two top ropes so that they could practice. We climbed until the sun went down and walked out in the dark. It was lots of fun to be out doing something despite the crazy weather this winter!
David on the main flow at Junkyards
Tyler climbing at Junkyards

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