Canoe Mountain - Part II

Did I mention storm?? How could this be? It's sunny and August. Just a pleasant summer sprinkle right??

Get real sucker – these are the Rockies and you are gonna pay!!!

There is a moment in every climb when you know either (1) you're going to make it; or (2) you're f*cked and you're not going to make it.

For me, this was truly an oh f*ck moment.

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This has to be close to about 2200 m well into alpine talus but still short a pretty monstrous peak. The tower in the centre is the peak. Close but after that much climbing – who's counting? On my last rest stop, I'd felt some snow land on my arms. Behind Canoe – looking due east from this vantage point I could already see one system – spiralling cotton wool white stratus clouds blow through really really fast. Behind me, I could see another system coming in – spat out from Mt Lempriere and other systems from the south reaching out artic tendrils.

I'd let two of the guys in the chasing group pass me while I was waiting for Sharon. Up till then she'd rarely been more than 6 to 8 minutes behind but she'd definitely slowed down in the last little stretch. I figured that we had about 40 minutes max to do the rest of the 490 odd metre climb left before the storm hit. I could also see that if we were caught out in the open that we had zippo for shelter. So I did the only thing a caring boyfriend could do ….

I didn't wait, put down the hammer and dropped her…..

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As it was I barely got there in time. The picture above looks down on Kinbasket lake and the icefield visible from our campsite in the earlier series of pictures. The effing clouds in the foreground is the storm just passing. My burst of energy didn't last very long and it took about 40 minutes for the storm to hit the peak.

Problem was that it took me about 45 minutes to get to the peak. The last 300 or so metres was very hard. My head was cooking I was working so hard but my body was chilled to the bone – the 30 knot southeasterly was driving the snow right through my jersey and I didn't want to stop to put on a jacket. I could see patches of blue behind the storm and as soon as I hit the peak and the microwave transmitting station I dashed for nearest leeward shelter, put on everything I had and hunkered down.

I'm glad I did. I only had to wait about 20 minutes and then blue patches showed. I was worried about Sharon and the last other rider in the group but I figured they would have turned back when they saw they were going to get caught in the open. These pictures were taken in a mad dash of euphoria on having waited out the storm and in the knowledge that I probably had about 30 minutes before the next storm hit.

This is a view of the Premier Range looking over a small snow field at the cusp of a sheer drop down the east face of Canoe. I'm looking down on to the MacLellan and Canoe watersheds and the highway that passes through Valemount.

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Apparently, its pretty rare to get a view of Mt Robson (3945 metres) – the central peak – with Mt Respledent directly to the south. The peak is almost always cloud – covered. I was pretty stoked to get this picture and was jumping up and down all over the place yelling like a madman. At this point a truck drove up and dropped someone off – it was Sharon – she'd gotten a ride up in the truck and had not been trapped in the storm!!!! Woooohooooo!!!!

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