September is often a month for sharpening the tools, readying the down and pulling out the leather boots, but so far the weather has been to warm for any snow to accumulate or ice to form, with temperatures rising above 30 degrees in the alpine. On one side this has allowed an ascent of the North Pillar on the North Twin, numerous ascents of Mount Robson via the Kain Face and North Face, the Japanese Route on Alberta and many of the big summer rock routes have had late season ascents such as Mt. Louis and Tower of Babel. On the other side keen mixed climbers have been out of luck, even classics such as the Emperor Ridge on Mount Robson is out of condition for this time of year. Ian Welsted, Raphael Slawinski and Juan Alberto Henriquez climbed it this weekend, Welsted noted the Gargoyles were falling apart, no ice on the Emperor Face and hot temperatures throughout. It has been a great time to crag at shady walls such as Acephale, where Josh Wharton climbed as “recovery” days from his four day ascent of the North Pillar.
Is it global warming? Are the seasons shifting? The predictable September alpine conditions that were once anticipated are, for now, a thing of the past.