"A word on the spot is worth a cartload of recollections"
James Maggs, Southwold diarist 1797-1890

Monday, 9 March 2009

Cold on Moonlight

It was a cold day, -17°C when we set off this morning and it didn't warm up much during the day.

We headed south into Kananaskis Country for the first time, driving 40 km to the parking lot for Evan-Thomas Creek off Highway 40. Under grey skies we followed the frozen creek for an hour and 15 minutes before the icefall came into view. Steep!

The climb is called Moonlight, a 110 metre WI4. By the time we reached its base the ice had seemed to lean back a bit, so I offered to lead. I set off up ice that was much steeper than expected, and much longer! At one point I felt my arms were "going" so I clipped the rope onto one of my axes buried in the ice for a rest.

I was still climbing steeply at 60 metres when the rope ran out, so Nick had to start up after me. A few metres later I belayed and brought Nick up. I'd taken quite a while climbing the pitch and Nick was now very cold. At the belay he had to sit and warm his feet, before setting off and completing the climb.

The cold sapped our strength and reduced our enjoyment of the climb, but at least neither of us had the dreaded Hot Aches.

On the way back to the car the cloud lifted to give us a view of Mount Kidd.

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