Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Polish Rocket and Beyond

This mug is the tell tale sign of freezing belayer syndrome (don't worry; that setup only looks cross loaded).  One motivator for coming to Canmore was to sample some of the fabled limestone crags...when conditions are normally a little too hot at many other areas around the country. So far we haven't seen temps above 45. That might not sound too cold, but combined with high humidity and wet holds, all I can say is Brrrrrr.  That said, the locals have (with zeal mind you) assured me that the cold muggy conditions currently present are entirely out of character with the "normal" weather paradigm.  Think Seattle in January at Little Si, and not one of those balmy el nino years.  Despite these gnarly conditions we have still had a great time here.  And, someday I hope to return with some better weather, and perhaps some much needed power.  4 days of sport climbing in 3 weeks has definitely taken its toll on my fitness.  But whatever, sport climbing is neither right?     

 When the hands behind the neck thing doesn't do the trick, there is always the more balmy, and less comfortable palliative for numb fingertips.  Don't try this at home folks!  The diurnal warmup normally consisted of 4 laps on the 11b somewhere up on the Upper Wall.  Not sure what the name is.  I'd like to name it screaming barfy pants though.  Please note the pain revealed in my squinty Clint Eastwood impersonation.  You can't quite see the tears unfortunately.

But, this blog isn't really about me failing on every route I tried at Acephale; about all the incessant and often inflammatory rhetoric inspired by the heinous conditions.  No, this one goes out to my friend Pawel "the polish rocket"!  Yesterday afternoon, when conditions couldn't hit any lower (and after a week worth of effort), the Rocket (sound it out P-o-v-el) dug deep and sent his first 13c.  His grit and determination were nothing less than inspiring.  My jaw dropped as he pulled past his high point and proceeded to walk through the remainder of the route; most of which involved hard pulls on marginally wet rock.  It is always quite motivating to watch someone do their hardest route, to forge past doubt, and cut clear the smoke and mirrors that cloud our potential. 
After the send I went up and shot some photos.  It was cool to get behind the lens and see first hand what the action was all about.  

Here is a grab shot of the scenic waterfall encountered on the hike to Acephale.  The crystal clear water combined with the colorful rock just grabs me.  
Here is Pawel givin' the rig a go with a crowd cheering him on. The campfire shown in the background was all that glued our sanity together. And, it certainly made our clothing smell oh so good!
Regan shown here working some serious stick clip magic.  The locals were quite gregarious, told great stories, and on whole were a terrific bunch.  
Yours truly about to melt off the Hood.
Tiffers putting the finishing touches on my new Toque!

The Polish Rocket.  Priceless.

Beers were in order after Pawel's send.  We headed into Canmore to savor the ambiance of the Grizzly Bear Brew Pub.  

Christian and Jackie were incredible hosts!  We owe them for allowing us harbor on those many in-climate days.  And, their son Mathew was quite entertaining to boot!  And so, tomorrow brings change as we depart Canmore.  Montana!!

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