climbing general

mr stumpy

The next day it stopped raining and all the Stumpy Tailed lizards (a.k.a. Shinglebacks) came out to play in the sun.



And so we climbed a long climb, which was all good until on the second pitch Pete started complaining about how it was difficult to think over the noise of the bees. Then he realised there was a beehive a metre from his head, so he rapidly chose another course. It’s generally unpleasant coming up against creepy crawlies on a cliff face – you invariably have very few escape options available to you.

climbing general

climbing in the rain at the arapiles

Ignoring the forecast of rain, I figured that it would probably be dry anyway. After all, it never rains at Arapiles. However, I had forgotten to take into account that with the change in government had come a change in weather patterns – since Kevin Rudd broke the drought, it just hasn’t been the same. The bare dirt has gone, to be replaced by actual green stuff growing from the ground – the paths to the climbs are festooned with daisies! And the cliffs themselves seem to be developing a healthy amount of foliage.



But anyway, it rained. There was a lot of this:


Megan (at the base of the cliff) shelters from the rain under a rope bag


And this:


Pete’s tongue shelters from the rain under a rope bag


And occasionally some of this:


“Wave your hands in the air like you just climbed Trapeze (11 ~ 5.7) in the rain!”


canada climbing

chronologically speaking

A visual diary of my afternoon/evening:


I am at work. I look at Mount Bourgeau.



I am at Mount Bourgeau. I look at work.



I go from Mount Bourgeau back down to work.


In between, I look around at the mountains and the yellow aspen, and listen to the wind blowing through the trees, and I climb and do not fall despite the strange slanting of the rock which gives the disconcerting sensation that the mountain is casually shrugging you off.

canada climbing general

lake lousie

The weather’s taken a turn for the unpredictable recently – weather forecasts keep looking promising, then turning to scattered showers the day beforehand, and the day in question ends up being miserable and rainy. And that’s exactly what happened when I tried to finally climb at Lake Louise.


Views of Lake Louise (ski resort), Lake Louise (chateau) and Lake Louise (lake – filling up with people in canoes)


There was low cloud lurking through the Bow Valley, and all the way along the drive there.

“It’ll be fine!” we said. “At least it’s not raining!” we said. The rock was horribly cold and uninspiring. The longer you spent on the climb, the more warmth was sapped from your fingers and your toes, so instead of warming up you’d just get colder and colder, until you couldn’t really feel your fingers at all, and your big toes were definitely quite numb (possibly your next toes too, and some of the others). You’d have to place your feet and hands visually and hope the hold was good enough to stick to, as it was just impossible to tell by feel.


Walking into the crag


By the time we finished the second climb (which was actually quite fun climbing on Arapiles-style horizontals) it was a little warmer. Perhaps we would keep going. But then it started to rain. We retired to town for hot chocolate and brownies.

canada general

hopi rock art



If you squint your eyes and imagine really hard, you’ll see the pictographs in this photo, from a wall in Grotto Canyon. They’re not behind bars and mesh, so are all nice and polished from thousands of greasy fingers.