Alpine Club of Canada

CAJ 2021 Shadows Sneak Peek

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family obligations in the United States, a weather window appeared just a week before I was to head south. A few days later, Uisdean Hawthorn and I were on the trail to Berg Lake, bags packed for four days in the Canadian wilderness. Four days of clear weather is a lot to ask from the king of the Canadian Rockies, towering 3,000 metres above the Yellowhead Highway. So when we started the approach with the mountain completely shrouded in fog and a drizzle accompanying our footsteps, we weren't totally surprised. It wasn't quite the entrance we had imagined, but we tried to stay positive as the forecast called for improv- ing weather that evening and three to four days of high pressure to come. Halfway to Berg Lake we stopped for some shelter under the dense rain- forest canopy, and I pointed out the features of the mountain that we would be seeing on a clear day. It was Uisdean's first trip to Yexyexéscen, so he had yet to lay eyes on the mountain. I appreciated the trust he had in me—to venture out to one of the biggest faces in the Rockies on a whim based off my enthusiasm and excitement. We had become good friends over the last year or so, but this would by far be our biggest undertaking together. His calm and cool demeanor instilled confidence in me, highlighting the wealth of experience he had already amassed in climbing in the mountains. e alarm went off at 1 a.m. the next mor- ning. We still hadn't gotten a clear view of the face, but the sky had cleared overnight, wrapping us in a blanket of stars. e fog now manifested itself in the tent as we sat under a veil of silence and indecision, each of us tiptoeing through the game of not wanting to sound neither too eager nor too flaky. We were concerned about the qual- ity and level of the freeze on the face, and thus the hazard of rock, snow and ice falling from above. After discussing all the reasons to not go climb- ing, we still laced up our boots and packed our bags. e rope stayed in the pack as we scram- bled up through broken rock bands, avoiding Ethan Berman begins the 3,000-metre descent from the summit on the third morning. Photo: Uisdean Hawthorn To read the full article, order your copy of the 2021 CAJ today.

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