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

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Marble Canyon and Haffner Creek

We woke up to find it was snowing. Last night we had formed a plan to head south to Evans-Thomas Creek then walk up it for an hour and a half to climb Moonlight and Snowline, two Water Ice 4s. This morning Nick suggested a return to Marble Canyon instead, reasoning was that we might miss Moonlight &c in the snow. I agreed readily. Of course, the comparatively short walk-in did not enter our minds...

At Marble Canyon Nick dispatched Tokumm Pole, something of a steal at WI5+ (sorry Nick). I was cold by the time I started to follow, and with no real opportunity to warm up, my forearms became "pumped" straight away. So I spent a couple of minutes sitting in my harness, a bit shamefaced, to allow my strength to return.

After that we spent a couple of hours ice-cragging at Haffner Creek.
All very pleasant but the crag was busy with a group of beginners being shown the ropes. Heffner Creek is a bit like Krokan in Rjukan, Norway: convenient but you pay for it in peace.
So far this trip we have been blessed with solitude on most of the climbs. Although we've been doing classic routes we've often had climbs to ourselves. Not today, but it didn't really matter much: we were expecting company.

On the way back to the car we walked past pines still standing 40 years after a fire in 1968.

On the drive back the car lost power and coasted to a halt. We'd run out of petrol! Neither of us had had the slightest inkling we were even low. Nick gave the car a push and we rolled off an exit from the Trans-Canada toward Banff. We were lucky to run out so near to civilisation. A short walk to a petrol station followed, returning with a gerry can.

Chilli con carne's bubbling on the hob. Time to crack open a beer.

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