I must say that I envy people who can easily identify themselves as boulderer, sport climber, trad climber, alpinist or a mountaineer. I have always had this identity crisis and a difficult time identifying myself as one of players in these specialized disciplines.
I mean I have had those bizarre moments when I focused maniacally on weighted hangs off those 6mm edges on the Transgression board, and then a few cycles later looking back wondering what the hell was wrong with me.
At other times, I have tried to focus beyond 15 moves and hone my endurance game to clip bolts. Yet at other times I balked at the same and proselytize the purity of plugging cams and sharpening the mind game to eschew bolts.
Did I mention those incessant sessions filled with bat-hangs and my woe-fully un-coordinated jumps on those colorful problems in my local gym?
I have always tried to level my game in most disciplines, but so far – despite my best intentions – couldn’t play enough with those curved spiky metal things. I always lamented the fact that I haven’t meaningfully learnt to lead ice and mixed terrain .. until last month.
After 8 years of identifying myself as an enthusiast of various forms of climbing, and accidentally thinking that I was actually good at some of these disciplines, it was refreshing to get back into a beginner mindset and actually learn a few new things, and unlearn a lot of old things.
I graduated from infancy to being a toddler now. A week in Canmore just taught me how to toddle, or may be just crawl a bit better. Now I know that I know a few things, and don’t know a lot of things. I believe that’s a good thing.
I learnt the basics at the road side crags such as Junkyards and Step right up, and then got to follow up some classics such as ice routes on Moonlight & Louise falls, and a good intro to mini mixed-alpine setting in Coire Dubh Integrale. The experience allowed to learn enough that I could gracefully lead a few pitches at King Creek crag. Some photos from the trip below.
I climbed with Jay, who owns and manages his own guiding company – The Canadian Rockies Alpine Guide