Friday, August 13, 2010

How Light is Too Light

The lactic acid was flowing relentlessly in our legs after climbing Slesse as we made our way to the latest and greatest ski resort in BC, Revelstoke. This place is great! We concluded that we could move there if we ever have to flee the country for whatever reason.

Mt Sir Donald is located just up the road from here on Rogers Pass, the legendary backcountry ski destination. The terrain here is amazing, but we were here to climb, not ski. As we prepared for the climb in the parking lot we asked the question we seem to pose often, "how much crap do we need to carry for this climb?" Since we have been going non-stop since Rainier our time for doing research on each climb has severely dwindled. Do we need a 60 meter rope, or non at all? Is there a glacier to cross? Will it be steep? How long will it take? How much food? Is there water on route? Rappel the line or down climb? The answers to these question will dictate if our packs weigh 40lbs or 15lbs. The vote was unanimous, 15 lbs.

With a 30 meter rope, a double length sling and locking carabiner (lame substitute for a harness & belay device), and no rock protection we set out from the parking lot. Two climbers we pass on their way down told us, "oh yeah, you need a 60 meter rope and a set of cams and stoppers at least, and most people start at 4AM and it takes all day" (it was about 11:30AM then). Second guessing our choices had now begun. Approaching the base of the ridge was quite intimidating. This peak was like the West Ridge of Forbidden Peak, only 5 times longer, and 10-20 degrees steeper.

We decided to go unroped until we didnt feel comfortable. After 3 hours of climbing/scrambling we were at the top, with dark clouds over us and light gropple coming down. The gropple continued until there was a nice slick covering of ice on all the rocks we were down-climbing. The talking stopped as we fully directed our thoughts to each move. Thankfully the precipitation stopped and the sun came back out. The rest of the descent went off without a hitch and we were back to Lulu 10 hours after we began this adventure. The 15 pound packs were the perfect fit for that particular day.

No comments:

Post a Comment