I was invited to come along for the long weekend in May with my friend Scott Paterson,
his wife Amy, and some of their friends. While the weather was quite uncooperative,
we still managed to have quite a lot of fun.

Full size
The drive into the Ghost takes about 90 minutes from my house, but the last 45 minutes of that are
interesting to say the least. From gravel roads to piles of gravel, to just rocks, the drive
is not for a super low-rider as you need some amount of clearance. Here is Gladys hanging out
at our great camp site with a view of the Phantom Crag.

Full size
This looks back to Orient Point and Planter's Valley. When we got into the Ghost, it was 2 degrees C.
The decision was made not to climb due to the cold AND the 70 km/h wind. We described it as

Full size
Since the camp grounds are not really campgrounds with services of any sort, we decided to keep
ourselves warm by checking out the other empty campsites to see if they left any wood at all.
We found the mother lode and this photo is the back of Scott's Forrester with his dog trying to
find space in the back seat.

Full size
We tried to keep warm by taking a short hike into the Wully Canyon. This is the waterfall at the
head of the canyon. To the right of this is the area called Bulky Boys.

Full size
We also hiked to the toe of Lake Minnewanka for a nice way to spend the afternoon without getting
gale force winds thrown at us. This is Scott looking for a decent way to ford the stream (we didn't
do it) with the massif containing Mt Inglismaldie and Mt Peechee visible in the background. A note
that we're actually in the Banff National Park at this point so if I fell and broke my leg, I should
be able to get a free helicopter ride out. Just ask Scott.

Full size
The West Phantom Crag, visible across the third Ghost Lake.

Full size
Scott's head and the toe of Lake Minnewanka - the longest lake in the mountain parks - though
due mostly to the dam on one end of it. From here, we turned around and headed back, making
a relatively flat trail hike of 14km return.

Full size
Scott and his friends Mark and Liz, from the UK, now living in Calgary.

Full size
I appreciated the fact that flowers try so hard to grow in tough climates. This is especially
funny to me considering it subsequently snowed part of the day after I took this photo. This
is a pasqueflower - more commonly known as the prairie crocus. It is apparently highly toxic
and the local Blackfoot Indians used to use it to induce abortions.

A video of Scott's latrine

Full size
Scott's Latrine 2000 - his home-made latrine for our camp site. The structural stability
was actually quite impressive. He had told his friend Brock that he had to come check out
his 'sexy' latrine.

Full size
Saturday morning we woke up to a beautiful clear sky and NO WIND! This meant that it was climbing
o'clock - even if the daytime temp never really exceeded about 8 degrees. The upper limestone
pitches look very impressive and very intimidating.

Full size
Inside the valley was our target for the day - a 4 pitch 5.8 trad climb called Macadamia .
Doesn't it look pleasant at 7 AM?

Full size
Scott checking out the route description to sort out the approach to our climb. The very visible
right-leaning line is called The Scar on the West Planter's Wall.

Full size
The view from the approach trail. I can totally do without scree, but it seems every good climb
has some amount of terrible scree field.

Full size
The view from the base of the climb looking across to the West Phantom Crag.

Full size
Looking down to Scott.

Full size
From the top of the first pitch (which was the first lead I had of the year), I could see the
storm coming in. I said, "Hey Scott, do you think we should bail?" He said, "No chance.
I see some blue spots in that sky."

Full size
Scott coming up to the belay ledge.

Full size
How quickly the weather can change. This is now Scott coming up to the top of the 3rd pitch.
Yeah.... We backed off from here.

Full size
This is Scott belaying off the 3rd pitch. It got really cold when the rain and snow came in.
We couldn't even see the bottom or the other side of the valley.

A video of Scott's opinion of getting stormed off a climb 110m up

Scott, thanks for dragging me along on one of the best first-climbs of the season I've had.
Return to picture index