Castle Mountain - Eisenhower Tower

Sunday, October 03, 2010

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In prep for Epinephrine we spent a couple of days climbing these multi-pitch routes. John and I climbed both routes in approach shoes making it a bit more difficult but much more comfortable for the feet.

Our first climb on the 30th was Ginger Cracks is a 7 pitch 5.9 route of the North Face of Ginger Buttress in Nevada. I found this to be a rather difficult climb in parts as I got my crack climbing skills up. The rappel to the bottom was enjoyable.

On the 31st we chose to climb Frog Land. It is a 6 pitch 5.8 route up Whiskey Peak. The crux of this climb is on the 5th pitch and requires navigating through a 12 foot chimney feature - also known as the rebirthing portion of the climb.

Castle Mountain (9076ft) is one of the most imposing peaks in the Bow Valley with its two levels of steep cliffs to form its castle appearance. Its actual name is Mount Eisenhower changed in 1946 in honour of American General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In anticipation of our 5:00am start we spent the night in banff so we only needed to get up at 4:00am rather than the 2:30am which would have been required from Calgary.

Even though this climb was not trivial the crux of this climb for me was getting out of bed. The 8km approach with headlamps and pitch dark until 7:30 made me so sleepy I just wanted to curl up and pass out. In fact, I was not happy to be climbing until about 10:00am at the crux of the climb -and then I truly enjoyed myself.

The rock on our chosen route was unbelievably good and seemed never touched - it was all trad climbing for this route. We rapped down an easier way that had bolted stations. All in all it was a great day and another great mountain has been added to my resume.

Partial list of completed climbs -

*First ascent