Canada is cold. I'm sure this isn't really news to most of you. But I find it difficult to stress cold in such a way as to make you, the audience, actually grasp what I mean by it. Think about this... freezers (a machine built for purely cold purposes) do not get as cold as Canada. This was my weekend.
Granted, I was not in Canada the entire trip, but I might as well have been. Someone not cartographically inclined would not know the difference. We (by "we" I mean Will, my former roommate and some other fellows) headed northward in search of ice. Not the cubed version perfect for soft drinks, but the kind that tends to form on rock faces. Indeed, we sought ice to ascend upon. This was not my first foray into such things (cf. my facebook picture); I had climbed frozen water last year. Yet that experience paled in comparison to the ice we were after.
Our group had connections at a local bed and breakfast who allowed us to stay free of charge. Amazing! Anyways, unless one has previously prepared for winter hikes or ice climbing, one would have difficulty understanding the planning process that goes into it. Its a bit more intricate than you might expect. Alot of safety and cold weather considerations involved. This was simplified by the fact that every other member of the party worked at climbing retailers and had their own equipment for these excursions. I did not have these things, but fortunately their employers have very liberal borrowing policies for employees (perhaps you will have noted that I was the novice of the group). They furnished me with my own pack, appropriate clothing, a helmet, a harness, climbing boots, cramp ons (the spikey things on the feet of ice climbers) and a pair of ice axes.
But apparently I am simply not meant for the cold because every minute of it, well, I was bloody cold! Yet, because my companions had bought that which worked specifically for them, they were not cold. Oh well, I lived through it.
I'm not a very experienced climber (though I have mounted my fair share of trees in my day) and ice is a hard medium to start with. But from what I was told, my form looked fairly solid. I guess that's comforting. Oh, except for the time my foot grips failed and I fell 7ft, bashing my knee into the wall of ice. Perhaps my form has room for improvement.
I'd like to describe the weekend in a way that does it justice, but such things are beyond the grasp of my prose. I cannot describe how the ascent feels or the incredible view from above the trees or the feeling of being only an inch from death (literally at times as not all our ascents involved ropes).
And I definately cannot describe how bleeding cold it is!
Hopefully, I can get some of the pictures that were taken and post them. Until then, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.
"We go riding on the abolition grain train"
Song of the Week: "Winter in the Hamptons" by Josh Rouse