As we approached the Canadaian Rockies, the landscape kept gettting grander and more beautiful the further north we went. It was amazing driving through the giant mountains that surrounded the area. Our first day in Jasper we ended up meeting up with another traveler Graham met in Vancouver, Tom a cool English guy. The next day we all geared up and went for a mountain bike ride along the Vally of the Five Lakes in Jasper. This was a beautiful ride that linked up multiple glacier fed lakes. These lakes have the coolest color I have ever seen in a lake. Towards the end of our ride we took a dip in one of the frigid lakes and it was the coldest water I’ve ever been in! I had a water “dance off” with a Loon, a Canadian aquatic bird which is featured on the Canadian Doller coin. I swam underwater toward the Loon and popped up a few feet away. The Loon began to flap It’s wings on the water and lifted his body out of the water. I then attemped to copy the bird. After our ice water plunge and dance off, we started riding back to town. I took a little spill on the trail and almost immidiately after we started riding again, we heard a big thud, as if something had fallen out of a tree. We look over to see a baby Grizzly Bear climbing a tree. And sure enough, momma bear was right there too. They didn’t seem to mind us too much. This was definitely the closest bear encounter I’ve ever had!
The next day we did a nice little hike along the Athabasca River that runs through Jasper. On our way out to the hike, we saw two huge Elk fighting with the river in the background. It was truly an epic scene. They were pretty far away and I wasn’t able to get a good shot, but it was amazing to watch and hear their antlers clacking as they faught. Our final day in Jasper, we went to Maligne Lake and headed down to the Icefield Parkway. Here we got to hike up to a glacier and hang out by the glacier fed lake. Pretty cool stuff!
**Not all of the photos that I will be posting are my own. Graham helped contributed to these photos.**
Graham and I decided to do a climb up Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park. This super fun 5.7 TRAD route with 12 pitches (about 1200 feet of climbing). The climb went up the face directly next to the water fall. The morning started out with a bone chilling cold with fog covering up most of the climb. Later on into the day, the fog cleared up and it became a beautiful day in the Canadian Rockies! At the last pitch from the top, there was a 100 meter cave traverse. The cave was just big enough to army crawl and squeeze through while we dragged our packs behind us. This was a super fun feature of the climb. And the final pitch of the climb summited the falls just at the top, giving a spectacular view of the mouth of the falls and mountains off in the distance. Although the climbing itself wasn&rquo;t super immpressive, the views and location of the route made it one to remember! We were told to expect an audience at the bottom upon our descent. We were surprised to not even be acknowledged at all as we walked back to the car. As we joked about it, we were expecting a tour bus full of babes to greet us at the bottom! Unfortunately that was not the case. -_-
Over the next few days, Graham and I had five of our friends fly / drive out to meet us. Jared, Matt and Jesse flew in from Florida, Jazmin flew in from Colorado, and Jackson was also on a road trip, so he drove out to meet up with us. Jackson also does some awesome photography, check out his website to see more photos Our friends who flew in were with us for 10 days! We picked the crew up from the airport in Calgary and then headed back up to Canmore to do some climbing. The first few days we just did some small single pitch climbs at some local crags in Canmore. We also did some climbing at Cougar Canyon and Bow Valley. It was so much fun getting to hang with some of my best friends in such a cool place!
Then we drove north to Banff National Park, which was absolutely stunning in its beauty. The more we explored the Canadian Rockies the more they were slowly becoming one of the coolest places I had ever been. The giant mountains mixed with glacier fed lakes combine to form a scene that is incredibly beautiful! One of the first things we did in Banff was go to Lake Louise. It was a cold gloomy day, but we did a fun hike that led up into the mountains to the glacier. We stopped at a little mountain tea house and had some warm soup and tea. We then continued to the glacier and had fun deep in the mountains playing on the rock and scree fields.
The following day Graham, Matt and Jazmin went up to Ha Ling for a badass multi pitch climb up 1700’. They had a tough, long day in the rain with snow out on the wall. Graham then led Jared and I up the wall the very next day; this was a truly amazing climb! The exposure mixed with the incredible views made for an epic climb. The day I went, we had amazing weather. Although it was still cold, I could not imagine doing that climb in the rain and snow! Props to Graham for doing it two days in a row, and to Matt and Jazmin for suffering the cold! We were even surprized to see a double rainbow over Canmore almost all day long! It was definitely an amazing experience.
After a well needed rest day, we went back out to Lake Louise to do some more rock climbing. We lucked out with having great weather and were able to do a handful of single pitch sport climbs. Lake Louise has some really fun climbing that also offers great views.
The last two days that our friends were in town, we headed back down to Calgary to go out and spend a night on the town. We had a good night of debauchery consisting of Karaoke, and drunk wrestling over the hotel beds...Good times! After the crew left, Jackson, Graham and I stayed with one of Jackson’s friends, Leona. Leona was a great host, and we had a blast hanging with her for a few days. Thanks for having us, Leona! This brought an end to our time in Canada. So far, this has been the highlight of my trip, for sure, I’m definitely looking forward to the next time I can go back!
**Not all of the photos that I will be posting are my own. Graham, Jackson and others have contributed to these photos.**