First ICE

07/11/2012 08:11


ICE SEASON finally started!






It is 5 o´clock in the morning when Matthias and me stand in the kitchen, taking a fast breakfast and filling up the thermos. None of us feels the morning hour, our bodies are still unsettled between the time zones. When we finally hit the road temperatures show mollifyingly zero degrees. We drive through the empty streets of Canmore and up the road to "Grassy Lakes". Then we dive into the endless forests building up along the graveled road. The lakes in between are frozen solid. I look around and remember the last time i was here. Four years have past since then and much has happened in between. You cannot discover the same magic twice but this country has so much to give, i am sure we are going to discover a lot of unknown again. The road seems endless, our car is obviously not made for such ground. A big truck overtakes us...that´s the way you travel in Alberta! But finally our destination point is achieved: We arrive at Rangers Creek. And indeed, there are white, shimmering lines of frozen ice embracing the black rocks. We make out three possible lines and get excited. We take our backpacks and approach the falls. We decide to go for “R&D”, a classic on the left side. There is a lot of snow and obvious signs of the first avalanches.

It´s good to be outside again. To feel the lungs working again!

At the fall we prepare for the climb. The first ice of the season is always an adventure: After all those years the backpack you carry is not only loaded with the necessary tools to climb but also with all the experiences you have been through, good ones as well as scary ones. To set my crampons on ice first time of the season is never an easy task for me. My mind is working wildly,  i have checked the equipment the last days again and again, making sure every item is ready to function and reliable. Still- the mind is not easy to be calmed. On the same time there is an inner excitement building up. And the one worried question arises: Are we going to find it again, the reason we are doing this against all rational odds? 

Matthias goes for the first pitch. There is some ice coming down, the heavy changes in temperatures have their impacts. 

I follow up and enjoy the line. A good season starter considering the fact that we are still jet- lagged. When i arrive at the belay, the snow starts coming in. We rappel and we climb the fall again in exchanged positions. The snow starts swirling around me now heavier as i climb my way up. Soon we are both on the belay again, covered in snow, giving each other a high 5. Back in the game!!! Back in Canada! Our season 2012-13 is started!!!


May the force be with us and with all the other ice climbers getting ready for it!