Log Entry 29 – Lake Louise

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I drove to Lake Louise, but it was too wet and rainy to climb. So I grabbed a rain jacket and went for a walk/hike. I didn’t really know what I was getting into, but I found myself at Saddleback Pass and just a little below the Fairview Mountain summit. If I made it this far, I was going to take it all the way.

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In my hasty start, I didn’t bring up any water but thankfully there was some snow up on the mountain. There was also some very healthy looking flowers up there. Finding plants in barren rock is always fun and a little inspiring. Nothing else lives here, but this little thing pushes through with style.

The view at the summit is definitely worth the hike. Fairview is a good name for the mountain.

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Today I got up and made my way to the climbing area at the back of the lake. After waiting a little, I saw a group carrying ropes come up the trail. Once they saw I had my gear too, they welcomed me into their group.

We started off with some easy 9 and low 10s for warming up. The rock here is quartzite and a little tricky. A couple of climbs in, and the rock started to make more sense. I followed two of the more experienced climbs over to an overhanging 11a.

I followed on top rope and was pretty close to “tronsighting” it. I blew it at the end of the overhang when I couldn’t see my feet. There was a foot pocket that I missed. The climb didn’t end at the lip of the roof though. There was a balance-y section past a flake. To help keep my balance, I jammed my head into the wide flake. Not a standard climbing move, but it worked and provided a good pun or two.

A couple my partners were on an 11b crack climb. I belayed them a bit and then gave it a shot. There is a pretty tricky move right at the start. If I could get past that, I could do pretty well on the route. Unfortunately I was not able to pull that move. I need to improve my hand jam technique.

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I ended the day on a sweet 10b route. One of the more amazing climbs I have sent. It starts on a really thin slab, then pulls through two roofs leading you into an dihedral and then across the arete to face moves to the finish. Getting to experience so varied climbing on a single pitch is rare. 37 meters of awesome. Though getting down was a little interesting, even with a 70 meter rope. A great climb to end the day.

Today I met up with some trad climbers. Well, one of them was a trad climber and he was teaching his friends how it works. Perfect fit for me since I want to learn trad too. He lead up an easy 5.6 and we all followed behind examining and yanking on his gear placements to learn what makes a good piece. One of his cams wasn’t good and popped out when he was being lowered. I was very pleased to find a placement that held even through the lower.

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The rest of the day was pretty chill climbing. The emphasis was on technique instead of pushing the grade. But then at the end of the day we decided to go for a 10c. I was given the first lead and if I could get it, I would onsight my hardest grade yet. I found the crux about three fourths of the way up. A roof with a reachy layback with terrible feet perched over a ledge. The ledge part is what scared me.

I got a little past my bolt and then blew my foot. Oh, I had also backstepped the rope. So I flipped upside down as I hit the ledge below me. Miraculously I was not really hurt, though I was pretty shook up. Climbers watching me from another route mentioned that they were scared just watching it. I tried again and fell again. I didn’t backstep, but the rope swung me pretty hard into the rock and my toes took the brunt of the force. I hope I don’t lose my big toenail.

I was in a bit of pain so I lowered to the ground. My belayer took over and reached the top. Once I recovered a little I followed on toprope. I was extremely glad to end the day conquering that route.

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