Long weekend away to Banff with DMac was next on the schedule. Dan did an awesome job sorting out accommodation and we headed over to Lake Louise on Friday morning after getting into Calgary on Thursday night and sorting out food and equipment.
Friday was a climb up to Abbots Hut from Lake O'Hara which was a bit of a slog with heavy packs. Beautiful scenery helped though. We timed the weather perfectly with ideal climbing weather scheduled the next day. A 5am start kicked off our attempt at Mt Victoria South Summit with a particularly exposed section to start with. Dan's quote was "I don't think my head is in the right place for this," but we managed to push through it and reached the ridge in good time. The rock was pretty rubbish and unstable, but fortunately it wasn't covered in snow or ice. After some interesting route finding we got to a point to throw on the crampons and that's where we started slowing down. Broken crampons and very exposed areas where we had to get the rope out slowed us down to a point that our day wasn't going to finish until at least 2am. That coupled with the uncertainty with broken crampons helped the group decide to turn around a couple of hours from the summit. We carefully made our way down with a break at the hut for lunch and made it to the last bus with 20 minutes to spare. Matt got to have a couple of craft beers he was craving before we called it a day.
Sunday was an awesome hike up Eiffel Peak through a spectacular valley with the ten peaks as the backdrop and Mt Temple on the other side. We had a bit of a hairy moment when someone ahead of us dislodged a rock the size of my head and it narrowly passed us on an exposed section, but the rest of the day went smoothly and we got some great pics and even saw our first wild bear. After the drive back to Calgary, a delicious pizza at the local joint, Van were on our red eye flight back to Toronto. Great weekend in the mountains! Thanks Banff and DMac!