These are photos from Dave and I's lessons with Conrad Janzen on how to
ice climb.

Day 1 - Ranger Creek


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Our first day with Conrad Janzen, we went up to Ranger Creek, a popular early season destination.
This is Dave Jack, trying to stay warm as Conrad leads up a pitch called The Lone Ranger .


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We climbed on the left side and another group climbed on the right. It's a little different than
rock in that you have to be really cautious about where you belay from and also where other climbing
parties are since it's guaranteed to have ice falling on your head. This is a single long full 60 m
pitch that we top-roped with two ropes tied together.


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This is a group climbing next to us on The Chalice .


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Ranger Creek is in a valley near Burstall Pass. The mountains around here looked a little cold on this day.


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Here is Dave's first try with his new tools. I will note here that while this was Dave's first ice climbing
experience, he is an absolute natural, not needing a take or a fall on anything he climbed all weekend.


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Ice climbing does make for naturally beautiful photos with a great vertical line and a nice view into terrain
behind the climber.


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Close-up of Dave swinging ice axes.


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Ice is graded on steepness as well as the quality of ice and ability to protect it. This climb is in
the Water Ice (WI) 3-4 range, which is pretty stout as a first day of climbing.


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Dave being belayed from the top of Lone Ranger .

Video of Dave after his first ice climbing experience YOUTUBE LINK


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A nice view looking back out the valley we hiked in from. This is in K country just off the Smith-Dorien
highway.


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Dave enjoying another run on Lone Ranger .


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Dave decided that the regular route wasn't hard enough, so he went for a run on the left most line
which had a few more vertical sections.


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Close-up of Dave working the ice.


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Climber on the top pitch of Chalice .


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Look into the eyes of a new addict.


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On the hike out, I turned and took a picture of the ice lines in upper Ranger Creek. The left
one was the one we were climbing on.

Day two - Stanley Headwall area


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While I have no issue getting up early to go skiing, 4:45 AM came pretty early to my house. I picked up
Dave (due to the deer incident) and trucked out to Banff to pick up Conrad and get to the Stanley
trailhead in Kootenay NP before the crowds showed up. This is Conrad Janzen, ACMG guide, in the
parking lot. The light looks darker than it actually was due to the flash.


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Dave, in the early morning light.


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Part of the Stanley headwall by early morning light.


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Dave was pretty stoked to be getting back onto the ice. Even though it was a bluebird day, the only
light that gets into this canyon is reflected from the mountains on the other side of the valley
due to the north aspect of the headwall.


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Apparently, years ago, some guys hiked in a big ladder to try to get onto this dagger and onto the climb.
The ladder wasn't tall enough and they still couldn't reach. The climb is called


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This is a very popular climb called Nemesis that normally goes at WI5.


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Nemesis from a distance.


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It's tough to imagine a nicer day to be out in the mountains.


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Dave can smell the ice. It's coming...


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We finally got up to the climb we were planning on doing after about an hour and a half approach.
This is the first pitch of Sinus Gully . You could hear the water just pouring underneath the ice.


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Before starting on Sinus Gully , a couple of Conrad's friends were climbing a well-known but seldom
in climb called Killer Pillar so we decided to take some pictures.


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This is effectively the peak of the continent as the ridge to the back of us is the Continental Divide.


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Conrad's friend getting into the business.


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Nice light off the mountains. I give this area the Paul Perrault stamp of approval.


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Close-up of Conrad's friend.


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It was hard to take a bad shot of this climb.


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Conrad leading the first pitch of Sinus Gully . The mountains behind us were so bright
it was hard to get a decent shot.


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Conrad leading on some wet ice.

Video that allows you to hear the water sounds behind the ice YOUTUBE


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Ice climbing also has its share of butt shots. Here's a good view of the gully we're heading up.


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Dave, making his way up the climb. We're climbing at the same time on two different ropes.
Memo to self - the next time I climb I'm bringing leashes.


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Conrad figured that we could handle mixed climbing, so the next pitch we climbed was rock. He says
this likely goes at ~ M4+, which again, is a little steep for a first timer.


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Here's a view of using crampons to stand on rocks. Yeah, I'd say just a little terrifying.


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Here's Dave mixed climbing for the first time. Yes, you actually can use an ice tool to hold yourself
onto rock - it's just scary.


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Here is Dave muscling his way up this crack. I have a funny feeling that Conrad had us climb
a mixed pitch just so we'd appreciate ice more. :)


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More crack climbing by Dave.


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Above the first pitch was the source of the ice fall. Look how blue this ice is.


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Dave and I after both getting up a heroic pitch of mixed climbing. (Nice lead to Conrad!)


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The third pitch looms above the ice here.


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Inside this little cave was some neat-looking icicles. I tried to capture them in photos.


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Dave on pitch 3. Conrad figures this also went at WI3-4.


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A good view of the last pitch of this climb.

Dave's photos


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Dave took a shot of my first steps of our course. I had climbed ice before but not that much.


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It started to come together a little bit better here.


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Dave titled this one "Full shorts" and for good reason. I wasn't happy on mixed climbs AT ALL and will
hopefully never ever do it again.


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Dave thought this look expressed well how I felt on the mixed route.


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I didn't hate it as much when I could actually use my hands instead of the tools.


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Climber on Killer Pillar


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Climber on Killer Pillar


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I decided that getting over humps is harder on ice than it is on rock.

My thanks go to Conrad Janzen for taking us out ice climbing. He is an excellent guide, very knowledgeable
on the area, and very helpful in moving Dave and I's comfort zone a little bit further for climbing.
Thanks also to Dave for instigating this pursuit.
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