We just got back from a 3 day trip to the icefield parkway. We travelled to Num Ti Jah Lodge http://www.num-ti-jah.com/map.html which is located 40 km north of Lake Louise. We had spent a few days there last year and found the place quite nice and quiet so we decided to return this year (thanks to a Christmas gift from memere et pepere, les Pellerin, les Leger and les Bourgeois). The first day we got there, we took a snowshoe trip up towards Bow Falls http://www.flickr.com/photos/mathieuandstacey/428869591/. It is quite wintery up there with lots of snow and wind. We turned around at mid afternoon and returned to the lodge to enjoy a nice sauna and a good meal. The next day, we woke up to 10 cm of new snow and some more still falling. We wanted to do a nice ice climb but we had little choice since most of the climbs have disapeared due to lots of sun and rain in the last month. We drove north towards Jasper and found a nice climb called "Shades of Beauty". The name comes from the fact that its in the shade and its found along a creek called Beauty Creek. The hike in was nice, lots of deep pools of water with frozen waterfalls.
Once we got to the climb, we geared up and started making our way up. The climb is 3 pitches long with a nice ledge between each pitch. You can see the climb in the picture below, it followes the 3 successive curtains of ice.
The climbing was nice, quiet, and snowy. The snow kept falling all day which made the place even more quiet, all we heard all day was the hooting of an owl. Unfortunatly the owl couldn't understand or speak any English so he was useless in relaying climbing commands between climber and belayer. The snow muffled our voices and we had a hard time hearing each other between each pitch. Stacey now refuses to climb with me if we don't have two way radios. We had brought them but unfortunatly we forgot to check the batteries.
At the end of the last pitch, the wet snow had gotten us soaked to the bones. Stacey was wearing full goretex rain gear and she still was wet. She went thru 3 pairs of gloves to try to keep her hands dry. The picture below is Stacey coming up the last bit of climbing. The creek is way below in the valley.
We got back to the car 8 hours after leaving and made our way back to the lodge. The drive took almost twice as long on the way back due to 30+cm of snow that had fallen during the day. We even got in a complete whiteout when we reached the Columbia icefield. Its still winter up there. The next morning we left the lodge with a total of 40 cm of snow on the car and by the time we got to Calgary it was +9 and sunny.
Merci encore pour le beau cadeau de noel.
Mathieu and Stacey.