”How are we going to pull off a 5 man roped team in the alpine?” I asked as Shawn and I were in quite the position.
Hunter, Drew, and Peter behind them on Assiniboine
We met 3 others (Peter, Drew, and Hunter) on Assiniboine and little did we know we would connect really well with them. Its crazy how that happens, with Shawn, I met him while we both were going to go solo on some Longs Peak routes. Climbing takes you places and you meet people you would have never met if you had stayed home. After all, that’s what it’s all about, the partnership.
Peter and his son Drew and best friend Hunter from Arkansas had done a lot of preparation and training for this trip. After Assiniboine, Shawn and I needed something else fast. We chose the classic alpine climb, Grand Sentinel. A 4 pitched spire on the flanks of Mount Temple with a summit only big enough for one. We invited the other three to team up for the route. There also was a 4 person minimum due to a lot of grizzly’s in the area.
Talk about the perfect views!
The Grand Sentinel with snowy cold weather
They bought climbing shoes and we headed out. The approach was only about 2500 feet in elevation gain but took about 2.5 hours. You approach a pass and the Grand Sentinel pops up. It’s quite inspirational to look at it. I’m sort of into desert towers so I think I’m fairly used to climbing skinny tall structures. The rock was quartzite and quite different to anything in CO.
Grand Sentinel. Skinny and small summit!
In the afternoon sun
It was very cold on the approach. It had to of been below freezing. Alpine climbing in Canada is no joke, I kept thinking. In Colorado, I had been used to alpine rock with just a long sleeve shirt on and great temperatures.
The route goes straight up the face
It started snowing lightly on and off. I quoted to Shawn,” I’m climbing this thing in a whiteout if it turns out that way.” After all, that’s what alpine climbing is about eh?
Here were our thoughts on making a 5 man roped team on multi pitch work. The plan was for me to lead everything, Shawn would follow and clean the gear and then belay Peter up. While Shawn belayed me on the next pitch, Peter would be belaying Hunter below, and so on. A little confusing it was.
At P2 anchors after leading
I love alpine climbing
I started leading the first 5.7 pitch while having no feeling in my hands or feet. I would have to keep blowing in them to make them warmer. Soon I got to the anchors cold. The sun soon popped out making it a little more bearable.
Shawn and Peter at the P2 anchors. I'm at the P3 anchors after the crux lead. Some cool exposure
Drew ended up staying on the ground as he did not have climbing shoes. Hunter followed the first pitch but stayed on the ledge after that due to the fact it was his first time rock climbing outside, he did a great job. Peter stayed with us the whole way. The climbing was absolutely brilliant. Every pitch was amazing with great views. From offwidth to overhangs and face climbing, it had it all. I was super happy to take all the leads.
Shawn following the crux pitch
Looking down from P3
Peter following the last pitch
Summit with Mount Temple behind
Being on the top was surreal with seeing all the Canadian Rockies around. The thing I enjoyed most was Peter coming to the top. Seeing his face and reaction was priceless. It had been his first kind of trad climb for a really long time. Helping someone else reach the top of a goal is awesome. We soon rapped to the ground and headed back down while Shawn and I thought of our next adventure. A great climb with great friends.
Sitting down after the climb
Image #17 (not yet uploaded)