And some men do Man Yoga.
This is the lighthearted name of Jonny Walsh and Jonny Simms project on Canada's premiere alpine crag the Stanley Headwall.
Chris Geisler and I rocked into the Rockies for a few days to climb off our respected couches and see what early-season ice was in condish. We had been asked to come and say a few words at the Banff Mountain Film Fest on why the John Lauchlan award is important to Canadian alpinism, thank the patrons, and let them know exactly what we had spent their money on last year. Geisler hadn't climbed since August and I hadn't done anything except Asteroid Alley since my go at the Twin in September.
We were stoked though. Against all odds we said no to the parties and late night events that are the specialty of the Banff fest and went to bed early every night for predawn alpine starts. I was hoping to gain some much needed fitness for the upcoming season in Patagonia. This year I am joining my homie Hayden Kennedy down there for a session, so I knew I'd better get in shape.
Geisler had taken a tumble off his bike while goofing around at work a week-or-so previous and hurt his wrist, and the culmination of a few days of chipping ice had inflamed his injury. He was out. Luckily, I ran into Jon Walsh at the Fest and he was looking to hit the Headwall early the next morning to try and finish off the Man Yoga project. Simms had just bailed on him via text message. We were both thinking the same thing...
|The living legend CG in his Japanese Rocket-box. My handlebar 'stache is fallout from Halloween...|
|The first real pitch of Man Yoga. Steep M7. perfect rock and gear.|
|Jonny Red styles it...|
|The pitch climbs through the overhanging chimney feature on amazing thin cracks that eat your tool picks.|
|JR follows pitch 2. Delicate M7. Attention needed for full value climbing.|
|JR leads the easiest pitch of the route. M5 with great holds and gear. This rock is primo.|
|JR follows the crux pitch. Huge exposure through a crazy roof.|
|Mad respect to JR for putting this rad pitch up on lead the season previous.|
|Fighting an intense pump to the belay.|
|I felt so privileged to be climbing such a high-quality route.|
|What an ugly 'stache... It's going to be a long month...|
|JR leads beyond the previous season's highpoint.|
|An amazing corner of thin ice and rock features, finishing with a steep ice column.|
|Me following with tired arms, but soo stoked on such rad climbing!|
|Leading out on the last pitch of steep grade 5. Bullet-hard ice and worked forearms made grade 5 harder than ever. I hung on to take Man Yoga to the rim of the Stanley Headwall.|
For those waiting for the continuation of the Mystery Mountain series, I promise it's on its way soon. I was sidelined by mild tendonitis and had to recover fully before jumping back on the computer-box again. Now I'm good to go, and I am off to Mexico today for a month of paragliding (aka para-waiting) so I'll have more than enough time to finish off the series...