They look after the older climber in Canada that is one of the things I like about Canada. I am off at the end of the week and I have been sorting out the kit, it still is exciting. I remember our first trip in the early 1980’s it was incredible and so much quieter it is than today.It was all new and we went out with wide eyes. Incredible pillars of ice were everywhere and we had 5 weeks of wonderful climbing. There were less than 100 routes in the Guide Book then round the Canmore area now probably over 1000. We rarely saw other climbers on our travels and climbed most days, even when the locals found it too cold to climb. We were pretty daft in these days but what a place to be and we met so many incredible people. In these days as it is now some of the worlds finest climbers were in there, Bill March, Rusty Ballie, The “Burgess Twins” and many other ex – pats were there, There were many local Canadian climbers and we made friends some for life. We climbed many of the great routes that are now classics. I was very lucky to be looked after by a young local French Canadian who became an ice climbing legend Guy Lacelle. Guy would climb alongside me soloing and keeping an eye on me. Guy is no longer with us he was killed in an avalanche recently, he was one of the finest people I have ever met. His “tour de force” on the Terminator Wall is one of the most amazing climbing feats ever. The mountains can still take a sad toll and I lost another great friend Mark Sinclair who was also part of the same trip who climbed with me from Scotland was also killed in the mountains nearly 20 years ago. When I go back to these beautiful wild places I always have a bit of time to myself to think of those who are no longer with us. I have another great friend Chic Scott who lives in Banff in Canada, he is another who looked after us all these years ago. He kept us right on our first trip and we both enjoyed our company. Chic was one of the first well-known Canadian climbers who climbed many of the classic routes in the Alps. He also climbed and worked with Douglal Haston in the Alps and on the film with Clint Eastwood “the Eiger Sanction” Chic is an incredible man a world-class mountaineer,skier and storyteller and a well-known author in Canada.
So it is back to packing and sorting out kit ready for a great trip, I hope to get some routes done hopefully some of the old favourites and maybe a visit to Ghost this time and also get some writing done. I love Canada and its people and I am so lucky to be going back again, I was there again in 2008 and did not think I would be back. You have to live every day and I am very lucky to have some great friends Dave and Sue Booth who run a Bed & Breakfast in Canmore “Ambleside Lodge” and I will stay with them during the trip. I have been speaking to another friend Nick Sharpe who is a guide out in Alberta and he says there is a lot of snow and a high avalanche risk we will have to watch what we are doing. Hopefully it will all settle down. Back to the packing!