Adventure Club Trip Report 21.03

Our 3rd Adventure Club trip of 2021 was another life-altering success. This was a climbing-focused trip and the early-September Rocky Mountain weather co-operated beautifully.

Guided by Girth Hitch Guiding and Geary’s Guiding, our group consisted of Steve Koehn, Michael Harvey, Brad Kryger, Elijah Stauth, Pete Wardell, Del Sutherland, Tim Taylor, Tobi von Butler, Paul Ribi, Alex Geary, and myself. Sadly missing was one of our fearless leaders, Pierre Hungr, who had to sit this one out due to injury.

Steve having no fun at all at Whirlpool Notch.

On Day 1 we left Edmonton and drove to Whirlpool Notch in the David Thompson Corridor for some warm-up sport climbing in warm sun. Non-negotiable was a quick stop at Miner’s Cafe in Nordegg for pie and coffee … even though we hadn’t earned it yet. Afterward we drove to the Lake Louise Hostel to meet up with our guides for the rest of the weekend.

Day 2 was an early start, but happily not an “alpine start”. We drove to Hector Lake and followed Hector Creek up the drainage between Mount Hector and Mount Andromache. Part way up this drainage our group split into two: one party went south to summit Mount Hector, and the rest of us went north to climb Achilles Spire on Mount Andromache.

Achilles Spire

Achilles Spire is a 300m, 13 pitch rock climb that delivered high-quality rock with lots of easy bouldering-type moves. Mount Hector required significantly more glacier/snow travel with crevasse management for a different kind of alpine experience. Both groups were successful in their objectives and reconnected in the basin for the hike out. About 12 hours car to car.

Day 3 was a drizzly cool start but our guides were able to direct us to a few 5.8-5.11 pitches at “Back of the Lake” that were sheltered from the rain under an overhang, one of them being the legendary “Wicked Gravity”. With Lake Louise a glimmering emerald in the background it is hard to fathom a more picturesque spot to play on the beckoning quartzite.

Brad Kryger at Back of the Lake

Brad Kryger facilitated our conversation theme for the weekend, which was, “What do you guys do to stay on the straight and narrow, day after day? What gets you through the dry times?” This theme brilliantly led to high quality sharing, and importantly, an opportunity to safely and honestly answer the question: “Right now, are you at risk of going off the rails in any of your relationships or responsibilities?” We each left the weekend in awe of the beauty of having a group of trusted friends to have this type of candid check-in.

Kudos to Eli Stauth of Little Wolf Picture Co. for these amazing photos. You can see more of his photos from this trip on his Flickr page here.

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