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

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Take 4: Carlsberg Column

We had a real lie-in this morning - 10 hours sleep. Both woke feeling a bit tired physically but otherwise properly rested.
We stopped at Craig's Family Restaurant, winner of the "Best Breakfast in Canmore" Canmore Leader Reader's Choice award for their Rancher's Breakfast: 3 eggs, 2 rashers of bacon, two beef sausages, ham, hash brown, toast and unlimited coffee for $10.99. We weren't quite sure what the slice of orange was doing on the plate, but it was a fine breakfast.

Well fortified we set off for our fourth attempt at Carlsberg Column, a classic 80m WI5. I was quite nervous, even though I knew Nick would be leading the first (crux) pitch, 30 metres of 85-90° ice. The second pitch was shorter but just as steep. If I could screw up the courage to lead it, it would be the hardest ice pitch I'd led to date.

Nick led off in fine style, clearly on better form than yesterday, made pretty short work of the first pitch, and brought me up.

By now my nervousness was bordering on terror at the thought of leading on. But I knew that if I didn't I'd be grumpy and disappointed with myself for the rest of the day.

So I pulled myself together and set off from the belay. I was able to bridge, in balance between ice nubbins, and place an early ice screw to protect the belay, then pushed on. As usually happens, the fear receded into the background as my attention focused on the climbing.

After what seemed like a few minutes to me - but probably felt like an age to Nick - I pulled over the top of the steep section onto easier ground.
We abseiled off and went home, happy.


  1. I'm Jealous ! :-) Gratz on your first WI5!!

  2. Cheers Rob. I wish I could claim a WI5 lead, but the pitch I led was probably WI4 possibly WI4+. Great climb though!