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  • Mt. Bierstadt Group Summit - Front Range, Colorado
  • A rest before the summit push on Dallas Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Broken Ankle + 6 Miles = Tired
  • The classic San Juan approach - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Overlooking Noname Basin from Twin Thumbs Pass - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Upper Noname Basin - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Nearing Noname Cabin - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Twin Thumbs Twins - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Nearing the summit of Pt. 13,736 - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Blustery day on Iowa Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Morning snow at 15k, Cerro Ramada - Cordillera Ramada
  • Artesonraju from the summit of Nevado Pisco - Cordillera Blanca, Peru
  • February crowds on Gray's Peak - Front Range, Colorado
  • Kicking steps on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Final traverse to the summit of Wheeler Mountain - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • The long walk to Pachanta - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Afternoon at 17k on Cerro Ramada - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    The final ridge on Iowa Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Summer summit on Longs Peak - Front Range, Colorado
  • A rest day at the Pachanta Hot Springs - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Mind over matter on Mt. Parnassas - Front Range, Colorado
  • Rest stop on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Post nap surprise on Cerro Ramada - Cordiller Ramada, Argentina
  • Summit on Cerro Lliani - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Ridge walking on Grizzly Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Enroute the summit via the West Ridge on Pacific Peak - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • Mule train bound for Chilca - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Taking in the view from Fletcher Peak - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
  • Hiking on Silverheels - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Traversing! Gladstone Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
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    The best of times at Willow Lake - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
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    High Altitude Cerebral Edema? - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • Bound for Chilca - Vilcanota Range, Peru
  • Going alpine light, Holy Cross Ridge - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Cumbre! Campa I - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
  • Roadside lunch with the best of company - Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru
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    Long ridge walk to the summit of California Peak - Sangre de Christo Range, Colorado
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    Crossing el Rio Colorado . . . in the afternoon - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    Dealing with Fall snows high on Casco Peak - Sawatch Range, Colorado
  • Moonrise over Mercedario - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
  • Still climbing at 20,900 on Cerro Ramada - Cordiller Ramada, Argentina
  • Talus on Halo Ridge, Mt. of the Holy Cross - Sawatch Range, Colorado
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    Deteriorating conditions on Mt. Arkansas - Ten Mile Range, Colorado
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    After the climb - Cordillera Ramada, Argentina
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    Taking in the view from the summit of Crystal Peak - Tenmile Range, Colorado
  • Topping out on Mt. Arkansas' North Couloir - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Glissade on Mt. Arkansas - Mosquito Range, Colorado
  • Hard snow morning on Teakettle Mountain - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Spring snow announces the start of the climb on Dallas Peak - San Juan Range, Colorado
  • Crossing the Eolus Catwalk - San Juan Range, Colorado

Banff Assiniboine Expedition II

Return from Assiniboine – August 8, 2003
(Gmoser’s Highway and Helo)

Assiniboine under sunny skies and a cloud of course

We got up the next morning and decided for sure to descend the headwall and make an effort to catch a helo ride out to the Mount Shark parking area.  Gary’s ankle was better but discretion is the better part valor and a 20 mile hike with 40+ pounds was not going to do any of us a whole lot of good.  We figured instead to get an early start down the headwall and hope for a couple of seats on an outbound flight in the early afternoon.  Breakfast was followed by packing and then we were off, down the snowfield below the hut and onto the scree above the headwall snow patch.  The descent is simply a pain in the butt until you get to the base of the snow and begin the ledge traverse in earnest.  The ledges had their usual uncomfortable sections but with a steady pace, it is over with in only ten to fifteen minutes.  Then, we down climbed the remaining scree and two rocky slots to drop onto the trail paralleling the shore of Lake Magog.

Once back at the Lodge, I got a hold of Joe (Assiniboine Lodge) and found that there were three seats left on the last helo out so I quickly added our names to the manifest and provided the necessary renumeration.  We were on the last flight out of six scheduled but I ended up coming out on the first hop and Gary and Ed on the second.  The key is being willing to split the party and lounging around the helipad when the bird lands and someone else is not on the ball.  Kind of like the airlines of old, if you’re flexible, you tend to get tossed in the empty seat and save bunches of time.  The helo flight was the usual thrill but over all too soon as the machine banked steeply on its approach to landing and quickly let us off before snagging a cargo net of supplies and returning up the Bryant Creek valley.


Two outbound

I waited for the next flight and Gary and Ed were on board.  Not surprisingly, all the passenger traffic was outbound due to the fires and only four people appeared inbound to Assiniboine that morning.  We gathered our gear as it was dropped off and loaded up the truck for the drive back to Canmore.  Unfortunately, the fire situation had not improved during our incommunicado period and we were faced with few possibilities for an additional climb to round out the trip.  Highway 93 was closed so a climb on Mount Stanley was out, the Larch Valley was closed so Mount Temple and all the peaks of the Moraine Lake area were out, Joffre would entail a three day effort, Victoria was a rock scramble . . . we were pretty much out of luck on a final climb entailing any degree of glacier travel within a hundred plus miles.  Our final call was therefore to go to Canmore, eat a heavy lunch, and get started on the trip home.  If we could make decent time, we figured we could get to Great Falls, MT late Friday night and home by Saturday evening.


Heading South – August 8 & 9, 2003

We had the displeasure of Calgary’s rush hour but after getting outside of the city we made good time south to Lethbridge and across the border to Montana.  The crossing into the US was hassle free and cost us only a pair of Canadian oranges that were not stamped as to place of their origin . . . small price for passage.  We overnighted in Great Falls and headed on the next morning, picking up the now empty trailer in Billings and stopping to play tourist at the Custer battlefield outside of Crow Agency in southern Montana.  Then it was on south, into the heat of Wyoming and a return to the working world.