20140208: Apre Steps (Sheep Valley/ Bluerock)

If you can imagine the trees gone this deteriorated shale wall looks very alpine so you need to imagine yourself up high when you’re really actually so low down – try it in foul weather for the full pretend alpine backdrop. You must rap from an abalokov as the surrounding rock is kitty litter which will make the grade a bit runout if the perfect amount of ice has not dripped down to the river. http://rockiesobscure.com/sheep-valley-terrain-park/

Living as we do at the northern edge of the city, I don’t get to the hills down south much and was looking forward to seeing the Sheep Valley ‘Terrain Park’. Joad thought it’d be a good place to practice placing pro and anchors as there was supposedly quite a few lines WI2, 3 and 4 all within minutes of each other.

For some reason I had it in my head that the forecast was -16C but Joad’s car was reading -26C. Brrrr another cold day. And a bit of wind, too.

After about 45 min walk from the Sandy McNabb winter gate we cut down towards the river and walked along the edge.

Sheep River valley in the morning


The snow was thick like icing. It was beautiful and very still… Until Joad said (in his French accent), “Do you hear that?” Rumbling. I thought it was an airplane or possibly an avalanche! But no, it was the river raging underneath the ice where we were standing. Hm, not totally frozen it seems.


View from the belay station. Enjoying the sun.

We reached a line we thought matched the description for Escuela Alpinista, and made a day of it. Gorgeous sun made the time go by quickly! Of course when the sun became hidden in cloud cover it was just a tad, well, miserable. (update 20140716: I have been corrected and it seems we were on Apre Steps, not Escuela Alpinista)

Oops, when Joad checked his watch we were an hour later than intended and he was at risk of being severely late for a dinner engagement..

..So he suggested we run back to the car. (and I thought my running ‘career’ was over, hah) Oh why did I volunteer to carry the rope, again?! Great day. Biceps sore.


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