Sunday, September 6, 2015

International Vanventures:)

Our time in the great white north has been fun! There is so much climbing up here, yet the weather makes it hard to climb very often. We have gotten multiple days of climbing in and really enjoyed some amazing views of the Rocky Mountains. The other days, we were socked in with low clouds, rain, and even snow one day! Even on the rainy days, the location was superb. My favorite climb in Canmore was "Joy," a 5.8 trad climb that was 9 pitches long. Zach and I simulclimbed a good chunk of it. It was a full day, but we both had a blast. The feature is just begging to be climbed. It was also just an hour from the parking lot to the start of the climb. It doesn't get much better than that!!

After the rain/snow in Canmore.
Some blue skies and a rainbow (didn't come out in the picture)
We also got to spend time with another couple we met in Utah. Tom and Sarah were doing a summer climbing trip through the USA, but are settling back down in Calgary. Luckily, we caught back up with them at the end of their trip while they were spending time with family in Canmore, Alberta. Tom has been climbing in this area for years and Sarah knows her way around as well. It was great! We hiked Heart Mountain after it had snowed and enjoyed a snowball fight on the way up, in August! Sarah was excited to introduce us to Poutine and we got to go to Canmore's best Poutine location. I ordered a bit to much food and ended up feeling very, very full afterwards! It was well worth it though! Poutine is french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds plus whatever else you want to add. I picked hot dogs:) It was a fun Canadian tradition to take part it:) There was also an epic battle of Settlers of Catan and both the Sarah's were victorious!!! It was my first time winning the game and I was pretty stoked:)
My first bite of Poutine!
We also got to enjoy their hot tub a few evenings, which was fantastic! A trip to Lake Louise was fun and we got to enjoy both sport and trad pitches for the day. The lake is situated in a very beautiful setting and the pictures on the signs looked great. Unfortunately, we were surrounded by smoke from the wild fires to our West and could not see very far into the beautiful scenery. Ultimately, the smoke pushed us to move on to another area and try and find fresh air! It was sad saying goodbye to Tom and Sarah, but we can't wait to come back to Alberta and have another Settlers rematch:) Thanks for an awesome time guys!!!
In moving to the West, we found the smoke stayed about the same. What did finally get the smoke to move on was days and days of rain. Thankfully, we got a day in at Waterworld near Revelstoke, British Columbia. It was such a fun day!! The climbs were all below us along the water and we had to repel from the top to get to the bottom and climb back up. The biggest issue to deal with was keeping the rope out of the water as we got close to the bottom. It was pretty funny all the things we were doing to keep it dry, but overall, we were pretty successful! The climbing was very fun, but it did have some loose parts we had to push past. The fact that the water was right below you was pretty comforting and if it had been warmer, I would have happily jumped in. It was one of my favorite days of climbing we have done this trip. I loved the setting and really enjoyed the climbing. If you are ever in that area, check out Waterworld!!

Since Waterworld, we have been at war with the rain. Our tactics have been to pick the climbing area that has the smallest chance of rain. Usually, we can find one that is only 20% or so. We get to the area and hike into the climbs. As soon as we see a bolt or even talk about climbing, small drops of rain begin to fall on our heads. I stubbornly say I'm going to climb anyway, its not that much rain after all! As I put my shoes on and begin climbing up, the rain intensifies to the point I can't really look up anymore with out being blinded by incoming rain missiles. Sadly, I retreat back to Zach who is also getting drenching and we move back to the car to go find a place to dry out. Once, we got two climbs in and would have probably kept climbing except 20 people filed out of the woods and started climbing around us. There were only a few climbs that were not getting wet and waiting in the rain for a climb seemed a bit silly to us. Also, with 20 climbers came 40 dogs, so it was a bit crowded and the dogs were all nice and wet. We moved on, but it was fun to get a few pitches in. 
During our battle with the weather, we moved from Revelstoke to Vernon, to Kamloops and then on the Hope. We traded our climbing shoes in for hiking shoes and tried to make the best of the rainy days. I even went swimming in the rain one day to shake things up:) It was a beautiful river and we were the only ones around. It was a lot of fun to accept the wetness and just dive right in:) We also saw another black bear, which makes four total for wild bears. It was nice to be in our car this time so I enjoyed seeing him a bit more.

As we looked up the forecast for the coming weekend (Sept 4-6), we saw the weather was finally giving way and the sun was winning out!!! And then we realized it was Labour Day (we are in Candada;) Weekend and every one was going to be out in the wilderness with us! As much as we wanted to climb, we decided a break in town would do us some good. Zach found a great deal on a hotel in Vancouver and I did some Groupon shopping for deals on fun things to do.
Saturday, we went  to the World Festival which was free! It was a celebration of food, art, dance, and music. There was a performance of the Chinese Opera, a Native American dance, and an Indain Ballywood dance. We also loved the poetry slam!! One of my favorite bands, Matt and Kim. I love their lives shows and Zach even put me on his shoulders! Kim totally pointed at me and cheered! We had a moment:) It was great!!! Today we are planning to wander around the city a bit. Our holiday weekend should be fun and then we can get back outside when its a little less crazy:)
The Catanese Opera about Princess Ping.

Water sleeves!! These girls did a great demonstration!

Matt and Kim!!!

Kim dancing on top of the crowd:)

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