Canadian Rockies (trying to keep on with avoiding civilisation)

With news of the Brexit vote filtering through, we were keen to get some internet again and find out what on earth was happening back home. We had a short run on the sulphur skyline trail and a visit to Miette hot springs, before heading to the bright lights and busy streets of jasper. This is a cool little town, not quite as chintzy as Banff and it was lovely to be back on our honeymoon trail from 8 years ago. I had a lovely swim in their pool while Neil enjoyed the brew pub and its wifi.

After so many days of solitude and silence, the ice fields parkway centre with throngs of tourists was a bit of a shock to the system. Thankfully it didn't take more than 5 min of walking to escape the crowds and we had a really enjoyable scramble up Mt Wilcox.

I loved being back in the mountains again so we purchased a 'top west Canada climbs' book and started making some climbing plans.

For my return to the world of climbing we chose a hugely impressive rock face above Canmore. 14 pitches of reasonably easy but picturesque climbing up the North East face of Ha Ling. This is a classic of the area so, despite best efforts at an early start, we ended up with a fair amount if queuing en route. As it turned out, this was the perfect way to make some Canadian friends and we were invited back to David and Kirsten's for a bbq in Canmore that evening. The climb itself was magnificent and a great choice to remind me why I loved climbing. I didn't feel ready to lead anything myself (especially as I didn't really trust the crumbly rock) but was happy enough to second things and enjoyed remembering how to move and balance on the rock (apart from the roof- I have forgotten how to think in 3 dimensions). And it was warm! A rare thing when you have mostly climbed in Scotland! The flip side to this is that your feet swell in the heat and my climbing shoes were feeling insanely tight by pitch 3. I wasn't the only one suffering and there were audible sighs of relief at the end of each pitch and especially when we got to put our trainers on and stroll down back to the cars. One of the best days of climbing I've ever done.


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