My boy Andrew Wexler and I got up to something delightful on Sat, a little golden nugget of a place tucked behind the Swiss Chalets of Banff, and across Lake Minnewanka, a sweet rugged valley called… “The Ghost”. I know – I know, it ain’t no secret, but I’ve always been too much a pussy to drive in there with my van (which I’m sad to report is no longer with us). They say there are pot holes big enough to swallow entire cows, and powerful water so white and cold it could push a cement truck 3 miles down river. But Wexler’s got himself a TOYOTA T-A-C-O-M-A.
So away we went. The route has a “reputation” if you know what I mean – “it’s sharp on the skin” ( yah, if you’re a 3 year old – or an upcoming hand model preserving yourself for a Palmolive commercial), “it’s steep”, ( yes, but nothing like we expected), “it’s very difficult route finding”, ( agreed, but with a bit of common sense and a willing to keep going up, you’ll have no trouble at all). So I say again, away we went.
8 am, coffee and a bagel ($17 Can dollars)
8:30 am, gas.
9:30 am, wrong turn.
10:10 am, river crossing.
10:30 am, parking lot.
10:40 am, wrong trail, shit, idiots.
10:41 am, right trail, now we’re hauling ass.
11:15 am, base of Wild West Wall.
11:25 am, base of “Dreams of Verdon” 6 pitches, 5.12a.
11:30 am, more coffee.
11:35 am, shitting in the woods.
11:40 am, ROCK CLIMBING……………………………..
Top of pitch one. We are off to a good start I recon.
Wexler looking for his way, (look left mate, look left)
A terrible picture of the temperamental sky, and the OCEAN of First Ascent potential in the Valley.
Wex, AWESOME lead, about 30 seconds before the first rain hit us,
Me, being way too focused on a 5.8 (toproping)
Wex at the Belay, with a terrible back drop. Somebody quick, build a hotel and some condos back there and obstruct the view, pleeese, maybe a golf course?
Shooter McGavin. “You’re in big trouble pal. I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast.”
Following Wexler on the best 5.11b in the Bow Valley. Nothing but net.
After the first crux on the last pitch.
6th pitch, 5.12- (brilliant limestone, but needs traffic) oh and by the way, yah, we like onsighted it, like, bro brah americah, fuck ya!
I don’t know where this is. Sorry, I’m sure you’re wondering, I’m sure.
Somewhere towards the top!
So of course, we completely lost track of time, but this is obviously at the end of the day and we are completely SOAKED from head to toe. The final storm came in, the whole enchilada, thunder and lightning, just a few hundred feet over our heads, sheets of precip, but we made it back to the TAC, and the skies lifted a little, just long enough to take this SNAPPY. Hope you enjoyed the slide show, I gotta go and call my girlfriend, you have NO IDEA how much I miss her right now.
ALL PHOTO’s by ANDREW WEXLER, (thanks for everything champ) and be sure to visit his site at www.globalalpine.com