Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A different kind of success in the 'pine

I just returned from 10 days of time in the alpine... more accurately, exam time in the alpine. The ACMG assistant alpine exam was held in the Rockies and Rogers Pass this year at the end of August. Luckily, I was grouped for the duration with two strong candidates: Josh Briggs of Canmore, and Jeff Bellis of Revelstoke. In addition to being good guides, these two happen to be world-class shit talkers, which helped to keep the mood light during the stress of the exam process.

Day one saw me lead the relatively complex descent off Unnamed Peak in the Lake Louise group. This was without question my hardest lead of the exam, and is known to have been the cause of failure for a few brother candidates in years past. The glacier was in lean, late August conditions and involved lots of lowers down the ice, chossy short-roping, and a couple of rappels. It was good to get this over with, as the rest of the exam was cake in comparison!

The last two days were so enjoyable they were almost sweet bonus exam days. We moved camp from the southern Rockies to Rogers Pass - home to fantastic quartzite ridge climbs. After dealing with the 'sub-deal' rock quality of the limestone, it was a real pleasure to haul-ass up a couple thousand feet of quartzite buckets and splitter cracks.

Sketchy log-crossing on the way to the Neil Colgan hut via the Perren Route
Josh in the hot seat on Mt. Little
Crosby in action during a crevass rescue scenario
Step cutting evaluation below the hut
Jeff on a mock rescue pulling me out of a slot
Topping out the ice face approach to the west ridge of Mt. Fay
Seracs on the Chouinard Route on the north face of Fay
Examiner Rich Marshall looking down on us candidates...
Jeff sending the crux pitch of the Gmoser Route on Mt. Louis
Briggs on the Perren headwall on Mt. Louis
Jeff gives Marc a hip belay while descending the awesome northwest ridge of Sir Donald in Rogers Pass
Here's a short video of a couple fun moments on Mt. Fay and Louis:

ACMG Alpine Guide Exam '09 from Jason Kruk on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Brad Sander said...

Nice post, I can just imagine having to be with another canadian as loud Josh, I can hear them shit talking from where I am!

Very cool though congratulations to all of you.