Western Canada has had a week of warm, dry weather. Many climbers put the skies and ice gear away and laced up the rock shoes.
Winter on the west coast is an extension of autumn, until spring starts. Climbers are often blessed with warm winter days which dry the granite. January 2014, has been an exception, climbers have had a number of great weather days. The Smoke Bluffs were busy on the weekend with climbers soaking up the sun on classic walls such as Penny Lane. It was even dry and warm enough to climb in the forest beneath the Grand Wall, on the dozens of world-class boulders. Jamie Finlayson has been projecting Chris Sharma’s Dream Catcher, 5.14d, on the Cacademon Boulder. On Sunday Jan. 19, Tim Emmett started his rock season with a send of Permanent Waves, 5.13d, also on the Cacademon Boulder.
The Bow Valley
The Bow Valley is 1,200 metres higher than Squamish, but the dry Alberta air and sunny days keep south facing rock walls in condition to climb whenever a chinook rolls through. A chinook is a rock climbers best friend, a warm southern wind which can make a foot of snow melt in a day. Albertans love their chinooks as they bring summer conditions to the Rockies.
Some years, every winter month has a chinook which sends daily temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius. The south facing walls in Echo Canyon, Bataan and on Yamnuska can have climbers flock to them every month of the year. In Jan. 2014, dozens of climbers headed to all three climbing destinations. On Yamnuska climbers focused on the West End climbs, as they keep the late afternoon sun. Climbs such as Pony Express 5.9, 200 m, Windy Slabs 5.7, 200 m, and Unnamed 5.6, 200 m, had a couple of ascents. While closer to Canmore, Echo Canyon had a half dozen climbers session it’s Bellavista Wall, climbing in T-shirts. With warm temperatures in the forecast for the next week, people will surely be out, chalking up and clipping bolts.