Thursday, September 06, 2007

Grand Sentinel

After Lake Louise quartzite cragging, we moved to a bigger objective, still quartzite - very interesting and beautifully colored rock. Only 4 pitches, Grand Sentinel stands out like the desert towers in Utah, guarding the Sentinel pass between Mount Temple (a formidable alpine piece from the N side) and Pinnacle Mountain.

The 2.5 hour approach limits crowds. Another Canadian thing - you are required to hike in 4s !!! if not you get fined, all because of the browny creatures - BEARS. Everyone here hikes with a 'bear spray', Canadian version of the thief gas that works as well on humans as on bears...

There are two lines to get to the summit, a trad 5.8 and a sport 10d. We started on the sport line, planning to do the trad line afterwards. But with only 4 pitches the Sentinel got the best out of us and the good intentions for the trad line stayed that, intentions. We watched two girls from the coast do both climbs though - kudos to the strong!

The Cardiac arête is deservedly named, and definitely a climb worth the hike-in. Sustained, crazy exposure from the first pitch on, mind-boggling 2nd pitch. The top is the biggest surprise - it's just big enough for two, and feels like it's all going to fall off in a matter of minutes - a big rock pile on top of a 100m spire. FUN!!!

Here is Micah following the second pitch with Sentinel’s shadow on the left, and afterwards me on the top of the rock pile - and the top of the world, as far as we were concerned that day.

And this is the wonderful wonderful view of the Moraine lake, part of the approach pleasures.

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