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                          Alpine Club of Canada
                          Toronto Section

       Fall 2006
2                                                        Toronto Section Newsletter - Fall 2006

    Fall 2006
    News & Events:
    3    Message from the Chair
    5    Access Update
    6    Centennial AGM
    12   Bench for John Carey at Kelso
    12   Gunter Stefan

    7    Friendly Fire ~ Paul Geddes and Wallace Joyce
    8    An Excellent J-Tree Adventure ~ Kit Moore
    10   A very SELFish Rockies Trip ~ Bill Piekos
    13   Learning to Rock Climb ~ Michael Piggot
    14   Four Climbers and a Photographer
    16   Fiftith Anniversary Celebration at Bon Echo
    20   Be safe in Kandahar ~ Margaret Imai-Compton                                                                                                          3

                               Message From the Chair

           n the September long weekend of 2006, ap-              been like preparing to climb, having no prior knowledge of
           proximately 70 people gathered at the ACC hut          a route and no real gear to speak of. The bold method of
           on Mazinaw Lake to commemorate 50 years of             climbing with a rope around your waist and a few hand-
climbing at Bon Echo and 100 years of the Alpine Club of          made pins gave rise to that famous declaration that ‘the
Canada.                                                           leader must not fall’. When you see photographs of how it
    It was great fun to see climbers reverse the trend and        was done, it’s easy to understand why.
travel from Alberta to Ontario to see The Toronto Section             I was honoured to be at an event with such extraordi-
of the Alpine Club turn a robust 50 years of age. Of equal        nary climbers, toasting our proud history and I hope that
importance was the 50th anniversary of the first ascent of         the Toronto Section’s 100th anniversary party at Bon Echo
Birthday Ridge, which we celebrated with David Fisher and         is just as much fun!
Kay Bruce-Robertson, two members of the original ascent
team.                                                                                                              Sandra Bowkun
    This was an opportunity for us to rub elbows with the                                                     Toronto Section Chair
great ones and I listened intently while Helmut Microys
and Michael Rosenberger talked about climbing in Ontario
in the 1950’s and 60’s, trying to imagine what it must have

Cover: Jim White (top), Ray Rutits (belaying) and Brenley            The ACC Toronto Section Newsletter is produced by Toronto
Crawford (climbing) on a Anniversary weekend ascent of One Pine      Section members and published 3 times per year. Full colour elec-
at Bon Echo Provincial Park. Photo: Steve Lew.                       tronic copies of the newsletter from winter 2000 - present can be
                                                                     found on our website:
Opposite page (top): “The younger, better looking” Dave Brown
approaching the South Howser Tower at sunrise. Photo: Paul           We welcome any comments or suggestions on how to improve the
Palfreyman                                                           newsletter. Please e-mail
                                                                     The Winter 2006 edition of the newsletter will be published in
Opposite page (bottom): Roger Wallis emerging from his tent on
                                                                     December 2006. Send article submissions to
the Eclipse glacier in the Yukon.
Above: Sandra Bowkun, Paul Chvostek and David Lue on the
summit of The President.
4                                                                                                                          Toronto Section Newsletter - Fall 2006

Toronto Section Executive Members
                 Chairperson and National Club    Sandra Bowkun            416-482-1526
                 Section Rep

                 Past Chair                       Paul Geddes              905-821-9625
                 Secretary                        Position Open                   
                 Treasurer                        Karen McGilvray          416-465-0660     Write for us! We’re always looking
                 Membership                       Mike Stein               905-274-3018      for interesting stories and exciting
                 National Awards Section          Dave Myles               416-222-3251           photos for the newsletter.
                 Portfolio Chair/E-mail updates   Sandra Bowkun            416-482-1526        The deadline for the Winter

                 Website                          Dave Myles               416-222-3251           edition is Nov. 15, 2006.
                                                  Paul Chvostek            416-482-1526                                            Please go to
                 Newsletter                       Will Richardson-Little   514-777-2633
                                                  Kelly Klassen            905-468-5013
                                                                                                                          for submmission guidelines.

                 Portfolio Chair                  Kit Moore                416-469-3567
                 Boat Coordinator                 Chris Rogers             905-729-4768
Bon Echo

                 Bon Echo Committee               Danielle Beaton
                                                  Mike Wright
                                                                                                                           Join the Toronto
                                                  Geoff Hodgson             416-939-7859                                   Section Executive!
                                                  Larry Forsyth            905-825-3356
                 Portfolio Chair                  Position Open                          The Toronto Section Executive
                 Co-chair                         Brenley Crawford         905-828-1791                                manages all aspects of club busi-
                 Rock Climbing                    Position Open                             ness in southern Ontario. It meets
                 Mountaineering                   Rob LeBlanc              416-571-0894
                 Ice Coordinator                  Rob LeBlanc              416-571-0894 
                                                                                                                       five times per year and works in
                 Activites Committee              Dave Britnell            905-884-3842                                portfolios: Administration, Com-

                                                  Susan Andrew             905-634-2805                                munications, Bon Echo, Activities
                                                  Janet Trost              416-709-4440
                                                                                                                       and Access. We have a great group
                                                  Will Richardson-Little   514-777-2633
                                                  Mike Stein               905-274-3018
                                                                                                                       of dedicated volunteers but we are
                                                  Don Collier              905-884-4098                                always looking for more help and
                                                  Gabby Hourtouat          416-788-4147                                new ideas.
                                                  Boris Kaschenko          905-629-1646
                                                                                                                          We are looking for members
                 Access Chair                     Harry Hoediono
                 Commitee Chair                   Sandra Bowkun            416-482-1526    who can devote a reasonable time
                                                  Larry Forsyth            905-825-3356                                commitment to the club. You will

                                                  Mike Stein               905-274-3018                                participate in club meetings, learn
                                                  Roger Wallis             416-248-1666
                                                                                                                       about the section’s business and
                                                  Paul Geddes              905-821-9625
                                                  Boris Kaschenko          905-629-1646                                discuss issues in the climbing com-
                                                  Don Collier              905-884-4098                                munity. There is plenty of opportu-
                                                                                                                       nity to get involved!
                                                                                                                          For more information, email:
To contact individuals via email, please visit:

                                                                Access Update

           n September 22, Kit Moore and Harry Hoediono        schools and other commercial climbing groups. Top
           completed their first day on the Bolting Project     bolting also facilitates rescue and evacuation in cases of
           at Rattlesnake Conservation Area. This project,     emergencies, be they for climbers or other park users such
which is a joint venture between Halton Conservation           as day visitors and hikers.
and the Ontario Access Coalition of the Alpine Club of            The materials for this project have been donated by
Canada, is the first of its kind in Ontario and Eastern         various sponsors including the Mountain Equipment Co-
Canada. This top anchor bolting will alleviate the use of      Op. This generous support allowed the project to move
top trees, especially old growth Cedars, increase safety       forward and limited the amount of money that Halton
and reliability by providing positive and secure anchorage     needed to invest in this project. The Access Coalition
for climbers, and will enable property managers to better      would like to thank Bob Matheson of the Co-Op who
control, maintain and manage access to climbing on their       has over the years has contributed more than generously
properties.                                                    to many environmentally based project on the Niagara
    Kit and Harry placed 26 “Fixe” brand, stainless steel      Escarpment.
bolts at Rattlesnake Conservation Area. They were drilled,
placed and glued to spec according to the report outlined                                 Erin Ransom & Harry Hoediono
in Harry’s 2003 presentation. Placement was ideal and so                                                           Chair
was the weather. No problems were encountered and all                                            Ontario Access Coalition
placements were in the trial area. These bolts were used the                                       Alpine Club of Canada
very next day, without any mishaps and many comments
from climbers polled were favourable. Among the quotes
from climbers: “when are you going to do the rest of the
cliff?” Another quote: “this makes it easier and safer for us
to take groups to the block area.” A comment from a hiker:
“I didn’t even notice them until you pointed them out.”
    The next step is to have Trow Engineering in Toronto
set up the “pull testing.” Further, should time and weather
allow, Kit and Harry will continue west with more bolting.
    Moving forward, the Access Coalition plans to use this
project as a standard or benchmark for other Conservation
Authorities, National Parks and other municipal
managed properties to deal with the environmental, risk
management and use provider stresses that have arisen due
to increased traffic from climbing in these areas.
    Economically, it has been shown that bolted areas are
safer and enjoy a more frequent visitation by climbing
6                                                                        Toronto Section Newsletter - Fall 2006

                              Alpine Club of Canada
                                Toronto Section

Centennial Annual General Meeting
                 (and climbers’ pub night, non-members welcome)

                Saturday, November 25th, 2006
    Special dramatic presentation:
                                        Mountain World Heritage Interpretive Theatre
                                        presents Elizabeth Parker and the Alpine Club of Canada,
                                        a one-woman stage production written and per-
                                        formed by Laurie Schwartz.

                                        Also presented will be an historical slide show
                                        entitled “The Alpine Club of Canada – A Century of
                                        Adventure and Leadership”. This DVD was produced
                                        by Bob and Vi Sandford, and reviews the last 100
                                        years of alpinism in Canada and the ACC’s role in
                                        the development of mountaineering in our country.

                     6:00pm — Cash bar (pub meals available)
                        7:00pm — Annual General Meeting
                           8:00pm — Elizabeth Parker play,
                    Slideshow: A Century of Adventure and Leadership
                  9:00pm — Finger food, compliments of the club
                     Location: Pilot Tavern, 2nd fl. Stealth Lounge
                        22 Cumberland St.,Yorkville, Toronto
                         (North side between Yonge and Bay)
                      For more information about the Toronto Section, visit:


Friendly Fire
By Paul Geddes & Wallace Joyce

                    allace Joyce, Wally as he is known to his
                    friends, has been a big part of the To-
                    ronto Section since it was re-formed in
                    back 1956. He joined the Alpine Club of
Canada (ACC) the year before and participated in the Club’s
50th anniversary general mountaineering camp (GMC) at
Mount Robson.
    I first met Wally in the early 1980’s at the Club’s annual
GMC. Wally was the friendly gentleman with the 35 mm               wheelchair was waiting for Wally when he disembarked.
camera in hand, firing off shots of every mountain in sight.         However, despite specifically requesting assistance for the
For forty-five years Wally made annual trips to Canada’s            transfer between terminals, the employee assigned to Wally
mountain ranges.                                                   for some inconceivable reason abandoned him 50 yards short
    I last climbed with Wally during the summer he turned          of the baggage carousel, before any terminal transfer. Disap-
eighty-five. Still active at the Toronto Section’s year 2000        pointed, Wally was able to secure his bags. As a seasoned
camp in Roger’s Pass, Wally enjoyed climbing with us on the        mountaineer headed off in what appeared to be the logical
Dome above the Sapphire Col hut.                                   direction to a distant Terminal One.
    Wally’s wings were abruptly clipped that November when,            Now, with the burden of his three bags, the moving walk-
without warning his kidneys suddenly failed. It seemed that        way seemed like the only solution. But you and I both know
dialysis three times a week would keep Wally close to home,        what happens at the end of those moving belts!! Disaster
a lifetime of extensive travel to remote and exotic parts of the   struck, and Wally was down on the floor with a fractured
world suddenly curtailed.                                          left hip.
    However, a ray of light appeared in 2005, when a com-              It was a “trip” too soon.
pany called Dialysis At Sea, appeared on Wally’s radar. They           His well planned, month long holiday, now became a six
could provide dialysis on certain cruise ships! Their next         and a half week ordeal in hospitals. Wally endured a hip
destination, the Baltic, was thoroughly enjoyed by Wally in        replacement in, London’s Charing Cross Hammersmith
celebration of his 90th birthday.                                  Hospital, before being able to transfer back to Canada. In
    To push the envelope a bit further in 2006, Wally inves-       order to make the return flight possible Wally purchased an
tigated dialysis on land and learned that, for a price, dialy-     upgrade to a business class seat on AC.
sis was indeed available in far off destinations like Paris and         Every cloud has a silver lining and Wally’s depressing time
London. Voilá, let’s go!                                           in London was considerably brightened by the appearance of
    The first leg of Wally’s amazing journey started on the         a distance relative, whom he had only met once or twice, in
evening of May 6/06 when he boarded an Air Canada (AC)             the person of Paulie Sopoci. By an uncanny coincidence,
flight to London, England. It was obvious that Wally would          Paulie, a young business executive, was in London on a busi-
need assistance negotiating the complexities of Heathrow           ness trip. Paulie was able to take charge of all of Wally’s
Airport in order to get himself and his baggage from Ter-          problems (no help from AC) and get him on her flight back
minal Three to Terminal One to catch his May 7th flight on          to Toronto. Paulie’s presence raised Wally’s ego enormously,
to Venice.                                                         making his return to Toronto a much more pleasant experi-
    On the advice of his travel agency, Wally arranged the         ence for him.
services of AC for the transfer between terminals and a                Wally is continuing to fight on, the soldier that he is.
   8                                                                                          Toronto Section Newsletter - Fall 2006

        An Excellent J Tree
            Adventure                                                                    Story by Kit Moore
                                                                                        Photos by Janet Trost

          or the past 15 years, I’ve made   Horse Wall in the Lost Horse area, one      of pitch two (two-bolt belay) involves
          a point of visiting Joshua Tree   of the rare multi-pitch walls in J Tree.    some unprotected delicate moves up a
          National Park (known affec-        No one else was there, so we chose the      corner, eventually protected by - guess
          tionately as J Tree) at least     best moderate climb on the wall - a 3-      what - one small nut, or wire. Then
once a year, usually in the spring, and     pitch 5.8 route called Dappled Mare.        some more fine work, to a series of lay-
preferably in warm weather. This year       This beautiful climb starts with a very     back flakes, followed by the final over-
was no exception.                           easy warm-up pitch, then a series of        hang at the top. Janet and I were both
    Late in April, Janet Trost and I ar-    well-protected cracks and face moves        ecstatic to do this one clean, with a
rived at Jumbo Rocks Campground on          up to three bolts. From there, an inter-    minimum of whining and cringing.
a warm sunny afternoon - midweek,           esting traverse to the left leads to some      Our reward was dinner and Guin-
when we knew lots of good campsites         strenuous layback moves (crux), then        ness draft, at Crossroads, a popular
would be available. Of the five camp-        more moderate face climbing to the fi-       climbers’ hangout in the town of Joshua
grounds in J Tree, Jumbo Rocks is still     nal overhang.                               Tree. This outstanding watering hole
my favourite - for its location, relative      After these three pitches, we felt so    and feeding station was taken over a few
peace and quiet, and the huge elephant-     good that we decided to try our hand        years ago by Bonnie LaGassa, and gets
like rock formations around the camp-       at Bird on a Wire, a more challenging       better every time I visit - great Ameri-
ground.                                     two-pitch 5.10a route immediately left      can food, good beer, and a friendly en-
    Day 1 of our trip found us at Lost      of Dappled Mare. The crux, at the start     vironment.                                                                                                    9

    Day 2 was a bit different. We decided to climb near Jumbo
Rocks Campground, so just walked across the highway for
a short hike into Conan’s Corridor - a narrow trail through
two rock walls, in some places with only enough room for a
well-honed body to slide through. Backpacks often come off
for this part of the hike. This narrow canyon boasts three
excellent crack climbs - Gem (5.8+), Colorado Crack (5.9)
and Spiderman (5.10a). We started with Colorado Crack, a
beautiful, soaring, creative route, with bolts at the top for a
rap with a 60-metre rope. After a leisurely lunch, we tackled
Gem, which many climbers find more sustained than Colo-
rado Crack, and we wisely decided to leave the much harder
Spiderman for another trip.
    We had time for one more route, so we headed off to
Hemingway Buttress, a short drive away, and another easy
approach. There we were pleased to find the ever-popular
                                                                   land of Rocks.
White Lightning free, so we hopped on this 5.7 crack climb
                                                                       On Day 4, we’d planned to do Mentalphysics, a classic
for an exciting start and a pleasant ride to the top. Don’t for-
                                                                   5.7+ route high up in Wonderland, but an extra coffee gave
get to take a large cam to protect the crux moves near the
                                                                   us the courage to head for my all-time favourite J Tree climb
bottom - a #4 Camelot works well. The top offers a choice
                                                                   instead - Dangling Woo Li Master - also an hour’s walk into
of 5.7 or 5.9+ endings - we took the easy way out this time,
                                                                   Wonderland. No need to describe this outstanding 5.10a
then rapped to the ground with double ropes and headed
                                                                   route (just check out our Winter 2005 Newsletter for de-
back to camp for dinner.
                                                                   tails), but I have to say that this route, and the picturesque
    Day 3 was as close as we got to gym climbing, start-
                                                                   hike in, remains my J Tree favourite. I think Janet liked it
ing with a long, steep hike up to the Shorter Wall in Lost
Horse Valley, where we sampled four of the many traditional
                                                                       On Day 5 - a short day before heading back to Vegas for
routes lined up along this east-facing wall. We liked all four
                                                                   our flight home - we made a short stop at Headstone Rock,
- Double Dogleg (5.7), Smithereens (5.9), Young Lust (5.9)
                                                                   a 20-metre-high boulder perched precariously on a pile of
and Spitwad (5.10a). Most routes on this wall have access
                                                                   rocks near Ryan Campground. Here we did the two most
to bolted rap stations at the top, and seem easier than their
                                                                   popular routes on the south face - Southwest Corner (5.7,
grades, so this place is popular with gym climbers and new
                                                                   some bolts) and Cryptic (5.9, all bolts). Descent is from rap
trad leaders - and our day there was no exception!
                                                                   chains, down the north side of the rock, where you can check
    After our day of social climbing with the gym crowd, we
                                                                   out a few 5.12 and 5.13 bolted routes.
left early to get showers at Coyote Corner, in the town of
                                                                       After another visit to Crossroads for lunch, and the man-
Joshua Tree. This old-fashioned-looking store offers lots of
                                                                   datory visit to Nomad Ventures, the only full-service climb-
local crafts and commercial goods, and even a few pieces of
                                                                   ing shop in the area, we headed to the town of 29 Palms,
climbing gear, but I especially like its friendly staff, and its
                                                                   then set off through the desert - by way of Amboy (of Route
clean, well-serviced showers. After cleaning up, we decided
                                                                   66 fame), Kelso and Cima, and through the Mojave Desert.
to forget our pasta in camp, and returned to Crossroads for
                                                                   Three hours later we were back in Vegas, ready for our flight
more Guinness and American-style food, to build up our
                                                                   home, and fully recharged for another season of outdoor
strength for the next day’s long hike into J Tree’s Wonder-
   10                                                                                         Toronto Section Newsletter - Fall 2006

      A Very
      Story and Photos by
      Bill Piekos

          ome of you may recall my last article on the past ice   Yeah – right, I thought to myself dodging amused looks
          season - it was full of misery and mishaps! Well,       from Joe who was observing from the sidelines. To add fuel
          all of these experiences led Joe “Guv” Palma to coin    to the fire, they were also visibly shaken by my apparently
          the term “SELF”:                                        incomprehensible habit of wearing thin socks with my rock
   Small, Early, Light and Fast and we both vowed to guide        shoes: “you will lose all the sensitivity” they lamented. I was
our next trip accordingly.                                        going to offer some stories about folks climbing 5.9 in moun-
   Fortunately, late July presented an opportunity for a quick    tain BOOTS, but quickly decided that they would probably
get-away to the Rockies, as Joe was traveling to Calgary on       send for “expert” reinforcements and gave up on any further
business providing us with access to free lodging and wheels.     explanations. In any case, the MEC trip was a success af-
As much as this option seemed like a distant second to the        ter all, as I picked up a new camel bag, which proved very
Bugaboos trip, it clearly stood head and shoulders above our      valuable due to the extremely hot weather. We later met up
local Ontario limestone… OK, so it actually stood a few CN        with a local Calgarian friend, Kevin “Hormone”, whom we
Towers above our local Ontario limestone!                         re-named “Genius” by the end of the evening… something to
   This time, I actually arrived early and had a whole after-     do with his local lady friends, T&A, beef diet, local IQs and
noon to relax and get ready. We even made a trip to the local     other details which I just can’t discuss on these pages. The
MEC searching for new rock shoes, but were rather disap-          scary thing was he could have been my son for pete’s sake
pointed by the same lackluster selection of “all day” shoes.      (based on our age difference ONLY, I should add).
Further, the proactive advice of local staff was unchanged as         Day 1 saw us up at 4 am and out the door from the Cal-
well: “you know, you should downsize by 2 full sizes from         gary airport hotel. Not far from the city, dark skies greeted
your street shoes”. I replied that I don’t climb 5.14 and don’t   our keenness with white flashes of lightning, followed by
really care to see an orthopedic surgeon anytime soon. “But       baritone grumblings of thunder…nice start to a 3 day climb-
they will stretch a lot **lengthwise** as well!” they insisted.   ing weekend… Please… NOT AGAIN, we both thought.                                                                                              11
Regardless, we continued the drive all   sun and heat. Thank goodness for the       per new topo, but kudos to Joe for fol-
the way to Lake Louise, as some of its   camel bags, which provided an unin-        lowing his nose per the original line!).
area is protected by large overhangs and terrupted supply of water throughout       We had a nice surprise when we ran
offers good cragging venues, even in      the climb. We both marveled about the      into the guided party on the last, 5th
rain. Fortunately, by the end of the day,quality of climbing, short approach and    pitch, rapping down, only to realize it
we had finished 8 nice pitches of main-   easy descent this route offered. It was a   was led by Sean Isaac of local ice climb-
ly bolt-clipping fun on stellar quartzitefourth time for me on the route and I      ing fame! We did not recognize each
and met up with Fernando “Razor” and     would highly recommend it to anyone        other at first: helmets, sun glasses and
Tiago “Chatterbox” for a bite. It was    who seeks a moderate, well protected       all, but we quickly realized the identi-
good to see those two getting ready for  (WARNING: trad!), multi-pitch              ties and had a nice “catch up” chat plus
the Bugs trip. However, I might add, it  route only a 15 minute hike from the       some beta on rapping the route. In ad-
came pretty close to just one of them    car. It rarely gets better than that!      dition, we learned that Sean is a father
going when Tiago extinguished his           Day 3 offered more good weather,         once again – congrats to him and his
cigar on Fernando’s multi-thousand       albeit slightly cooler temperatures. We    wife Hermain! He now guides for a liv-
dollar bike frame…I could just imag-     took pity on our sleep and got up at       ing and I could not think of a nicer guy
ine the length of “penalty slack” he was 4:45am, having decided to go back to       to hook up with (in addition to Brian
going to give Tiago the next time they   Kid Goat and try Keelhaul Wall: an old     Webster, who is truly a mountain guide
tie in together! After a superb meal and 5.6 classic route on the mountain. This    extraordinaire!). To those of you who
                                         route had been a first multi-pitch expe-
some serious lie telling, Joe and I rushed                                          look for “stress-free” mountain adven-
back to the Calgary airport to greet the rience (guided) for Jennifer and I some    ture and first hand expertise, there is
incoming Toronto contingent: Rob         10 years ago. I was slightly concerned,    no better way to learn and experience it
“Bugs” and Goran “Diesel”. We also met   as I still remembered long runouts on      than to hire a qualified guide - IMHO
up with their Vancouver rep: the ever    steep slabs and only an occasional pin     anyway. After topping out, we rapped
energetic Gary “Ripper”, who, having     here and there. We managed to get to       the route and experienced only one
trimmed his frame by countless days      this popular crag right after a guided     cluster-phuck with mangled ropes as
in the alpine, was truly ripped! These   party, who had chosen the same route.      the 90km/h winds were blowing our
guys were gonna have bags of fun in the  After waiting for them to go up a cou-     ropes sideways – ah – the joys of alpine
Bugaboos!                                ple of pitches and traverse out of rock    rock climbing!

          ay 2 offered the promise of fall territory, Joe once again started             Thus ended our short foray into the
          better weather and after an- us up. He decided to take us up the          Rockies: 3 days, 21 pitches, no epics
          other 4 am start, we headed original traverse line on pitch 3, add-       and tired dogs.
towards Kid Goat mountain. However, ing some extra spice having to rely on              I would have to say this was a very
low clouds were still hanging around 2 original pins for protection (the pitch      SELF-ish trip indeed!
when we arrived and the whole crag has since been re-routed with new bolts              Happy climbing everyone!
was mostly invisible to us. Taking into
account that the guidebook promised
a complex approach and my last time
there was 10 years ago, we decided to
switch our objective. We eventually de-
cided to head to Banff and try its Goose-
berry route on Tunnel Mountain. It was
a short hike there and, to our surprise
(it was Saturday after all!), we had the
route to ourselves. Joe led us out tak-
ing the first 2 pitches, after which we
swapped leads with me taking the trad
crux and Joe leading the other 5.9 pitch
higher up. We completed the 8 pitches
in 4 hours, arriving at the top parched
and absolutely smoked from the direct
 12                                                                             Toronto Section Newsletter - Fall 2006

       Kelso Bench Honours John Carey

             ost of our members are aware
             that John Carey, a long-time
             member of the Toronto Sec-
tion, died in a mountaineering accident
in B.C. in August, 2002. Many may not
be aware that the Section has provided
for a bench to be put up and maintained
in John’s honour, located at the top of For
Wimps Only, a challenging route at Kelso
crag. The bench is now in place, and pro-
vides a wonderful resting spot and vista
for anyone energetic enough to climb this
route, originally put up by John Carey and
John Boote.
    On July 10, I received the following
note of appreciation from John Carey’s
widow, Kerry Buller, addressed to the To-
ronto Section, with her deepest gratitude:

                                              Gunter Stefan
    “On behalf of myself and John’s family,
I would like to thank the Alpine Club for
the bench purchased in John’s memory.
John would have been very touched to
know he was honoured in this way.
    That the bench is situated at the top
of his climb at Kelso is quite fitting. John
was very proud of For Wimps Only and
the fact that he and John Boote did it in
full “trad” style. He would have gotten
a chuckle out of the double meaning
of F.W.O. on the bench plaque and be
pleased that it’s an inside joke for climb-
    Although we’d hoped to use the words
“For Wimps Only” on the dedication
plaque, Conservation Halton preferred
that we use the initials only, to avoid
insulting any tired hikers. However, as
Kerry points out, the double meaning of
F.W.O. remains clear to any climbers who
know the route!                               Gunter Stefan, a Toronto section member, died suddenly
                                              of a heart attack this past July. This photo, submitted by
                                              David Henderson, shows Gunter gearing up to lead “Dog
                                              Tooth Days” at Kelso in October 1999.                                                                                             13

          Learning to Rock Climb
                                        A hoary old memory by Michael R. Piggott

         rom an early age I was familiar with mountains in      management (an art, with wet hemp) and rappelling on
         Britain: I seem to remember climbing on Helvellyn      the doubled rope (around both legs, across the chest, and
         with my father and mother when I was about eight,      over the shoulder). We then graduated to “real” mountains
 and another time, frightening myself getting lost, descend-    – Snowdonia in Wales and the peaks of the Lake District,
 ing the Devil’s Kitchen after traversing the peaks of the      climbing with the same equipment but substituting tricou-
 Welsh Glyders, alone, when I was thirteen or fourteen. So      nie nailed boots for gym shoes. When you graduated to
 when I went to Imperial College (I.C.), London U., it was      leading a rope, you then taught newcomers.
 natural that I join the Mountaineering Club (I.C.M.C.).            I.C.M.C. had as its objectives the climbing of rocks and
    For rock climbing in the S.E. of England, you had a         monuments (two of us tried Stonehenge in the moonlight
 choice of Harrison’s Rocks, Stone Farm, or High Rocks          – unsuccessfully) and caving. Dene holes had to suffice for
 – all sandstone outcrops about 50 feet maximum height,         the latter. They were thought to be prehistoric flint mines
 and all reachable by steam trains. (Ordinary students didn’t   and consisted of a four foot diameter shaft, about 50 feet
 have cars in those days.) The equipment: an old pair of        deep, with a rubbish cone at the bottom and three or four
 trousers, a war surplus anorak, gym shoes, and a hemp rope     horizontal passages leading for 100 feet or so. Getting
 provided by the club. A rope was looped around a tree at       down to the bottom was very good practice for bridging.
 the cliff top, and an older member showed you how to “tie           Before I left I.C., I had three weeks climbing in the
 on”; a loop around your waist with a bowline on one end of     Dauphiné district in France where I picked up (by exam-
 the rope. He then proceeded to demonstrate how to climb        ple) a smattering of snow and ice technique. After a long
 by shinnying up, while a trusted colleague managed the         interregnum, I came to Canada and was taught snow and
 other end of his rope at the bottom.                           ice technique by guides in the summer camp of 1966 in the
    You were also given practical demonstration of rope         Assiniboine area.

          The author on Wellington’s Nose, Harrison’s                 I.C.M.C. at Stone Farm, ~1950
14                            Toronto Section Newsletter - Fall 2006


            Four climbers and a
            photographer tackle
            the Bon Echo Classics

        Jim White

      Ray                                                                                                   15

 Brenley - “The Belay Bimbo”
    After begging runitoutray to please please please climb something easy and fun, I was relieved to hear that he had
 agreed to lead me up One Pine, a climb that I had not been on in several years but always thought was really fun. I was
 very pleased to find out that not only were we going to take Mat Krepicz, a first-time Bon Echoer, along with us, but Jim
 White, one of the first Bon Echoers, as well. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to Jim on the belay ledges. Not only did we
 talk about climbing in the “old days”, but we also solved most of the world’s educational and political problems in just a
 few short pitches. The testosterone really started to fly when he and Ray argued about who would lead the hard pitch of
 Birthday Ridge. Climbers - what a bunch of manly men - and lucky me to have spent such a memorable afternoon with
 three of them!

 Mat - “The Newbie”
      As a beginner rockclimber I was thrilled to be climbing alongside the masters and legends (Ray and Jim), and I con-
 sidered myself lucky not to be thrown off the cliff with a harness around my head as part of some strange initiation ritual.
 No doubt the presence of a lady and a photographer saved me. The view was amazing, the wind gusted around me as I
 ascended, and that’s when I realized why so many people have such a passion for this sport. It’s truly like being on top
 of the world, with nothing but your skills and a few thin slices of metal between you and both senses of the
 term. Then next day’s ascent up to the Pinnacle, and the jump across the chasm, made my day and converted me for good.
 I’ll definitely be back!

 Jim White - “The Legend”
    On top of the prospects of the food and drink and socializing, the weekend celebrations offered the attraction of con-
 ducted climbs. I had not done any rock climbing since the last time that I was at Bon Echo and that was five years ago, so
 the chance to revisit a favourite route or two from the end of a rope and not the front, promised a chance to see whether
 climbing would come back without too much risk to my dignity. I had liked to believe that this dignity was a small thing
 and that anyone who had been gripped at various times as much as I had over the years would be over it.
    Well, I was, until greeted by Brenley Crawford and Ray Rutitis and found that I was a climbing legend. It is not diffi-
 cult to become a climbing legend, in my case I got to the rock when quite young and have had the luck to live long enough.
 But, being a climbing legend is much more onerous; people have expectations. Being able to climb for instance or being
 expert at placement of the increasingly hi-tech nuts and cams.

 Ray - “The Vet”
    Climbing with a legend is akin to an examination by your professor. Years of homework and then the exam. I hoped
 that my placements were good, my pieces would not fall out, and that I would not slip and fall in front of Jim White…
 author of “Jim’s Sling 5.7”. Jim, the brave legendary climber who reefed on a flexing piton and sling to climb into the un-
 known lichen infested slabworld at Bon Echo many years ago. Jim climbs very fast. To keep slack to a minimum for Jim is
 a challenge. His memory of the paths on the cliff is infallible (I got lost; he didn’t). He is a sport climber (only clipped the
 single bolt on Birthday Ridge for pro). Jim knows no fear except avoids close-range Baffin Island polar bears by climbing
 onto rock boulders for avoidance purposes. Jim is an ageless cool dude.

 Steve - “The Photographer”
    Opportunities are everywhere to take photos of intense climbing on impossible projects, but It’s not everyday I get a
 chance to shoot and hang with the complete cross section of climbing experience from newbie to grand master. Seeing
 the same excitement in Mat the first-timer in Jim the pioneer and in the faces of Ray and Brenley who have completed
 these climbs uncountable times, reminds me that climbing photography is not all about capturing big numbers, and glory
 but about capturing all moments of climbing - be it the scenerie, comraderie, the trash talk on and off the wall, or Jim still
 running it out on the sharp end of the hard pitch of Birthday Ridge.
16                         Toronto Section Newsletter - Fall 2006

     Bon Echo
           50th Anniversary Party!                                                                             17

A story from Evgeniya...
                           My Life at Bon Echo,
                           By Evgeniya Gorobets
                              Bon Echo is a nice place. Today I am leaving. This is my third time
                           here. The first day I made friends with an older girl named Stephanie!
                           I had fun playing with her. The second day she left in the afternoon.
                           We went blueberry picking! We got a ton of blueberries.
                              When Stephanie left I made friends with a boy named Aaron. He is
                           a nice boy. We had a good night talking to each other. The next morn-
                           ing I was the second one up! Aaron woke up, ate his breakfast and
                           started reading his book. I went swimming in the lake for a very short
                           time. A damselfly landed on my foot then it flew away. You can make
                           lots of friends at Bon Echo.
                              The End.

                          ...and a letter from Helmut:
                           Hello Sandra,

                               I just received the plaque honouring my many first ascents on Ontario
                           cliffs. This brought back the delightful time at the Bon Echo Anniversary
                           Weekend. I was impressed with the splendid organisation, the tremen-
                           dous effort put in by Larry Forsyth, Brenley Crawford, Chris Rogers and
                           many others to make this weekend such a great success. It was wonder-
                           ful to meet again some of the other old folks and, of course, the younger
                           generation that keeps the Section going.
                              However, with regards to my ascents, let it be known to all and sundry
                           that I could not have done any without the help of the many excellent
                           climbers of the Toronto Section. This plaque is honouring these people,
                           too numerous to list here, at the same time. They are part of this record
                           and part of my many fond memories on the rocks of Ontario.
                              Thank you and the Section again for the lovely weekend and the many
                           kind words.
                              Warm regards,
18                                      Toronto Section Newsletter - Fall 2006

Helmut Microys and Michael
Rosenberger showing the
younger generation about the
fine art of pitoncraft.

        Hungry climbers await their feast!                                                19

Bon Echo climbing pioneers Kay Bruce-Robertson and David Fisher.

The Black Tie Gala Dinner!
                                                      ...under the tent.
  20                                                                                      Toronto Section Newsletter - Fall 2006

                “Be Safe, Be Safe in Kandahar”

         he gentle swish of the windshield wipers is putting   and Peter Albinger, my climbing pals. Three years earlier,
         me to sleep again. I struggle to maintain con-        when I climbed Athabasca, there were, at most, two or
         sciousness as we approach the service road to the     three vehicles parked in the same area.
Columbia Icefields and park adjacent to the moraine on              Geoff just chuckles,“Well, Athabasca is a popular climb
Mt. Athabasca’s lower flanks, shortly before 4:00 am. I do a    in the summer when conditions are good. Let’s go have a
double-take as I focus on a dozen or more vehicles sausaged    look.”
into the parking area and I blame caffeine deficiency for this       As we start on the moraine trail that will take us to the
odd sight – surely, I’m mistaken!                              North Glacier Route, I look up at a shimmering, snaking
   “What’s going on? There must be an army up there”, I        line of headlamps. There must be at least 15, 20, maybe
protest to Geoff Ruttan, our guide, and to John Andresen        more, tiny blinking orbs of light piercing the night sky. It                                                                                                 21

makes me wonder - what group could                 rom my vantage point of 53          travel safe. All of you!”
be so large to undertake this climb                years, as well as being a mother,      There is silence. The pause in the
together? A cadet boot camp? Execu-                I tear up and look away towards     conversation is filled by the wisp of a
tives on a management bonding trip?        Silverhorn, hoping no one will see me       morning breeze that feels like a cloak
A Guides’ certification exam?               weeping, for I know that these fine,         binding us together. Then with grace
    Within a half hour, Peter notes,       earnest and mostly young Canadians,         and confidence, the young soldier
“The group’s coming down. They’re          will age beyond their years when they       replies, “Thank you. Yes, we’ll be sure
turning back”, and as I look upwards,      begin their duty in Afghanistan. De-        to do that.”
the lights are indeed bobbing towards      spite my political belief that Canada          Three days later when I’m on the
us, like playful fireflies in the misty      has no business being in Afghanistan,       summit of Yukness Peak in Lake
dawn. It is a beautiful sight with the     my heart is touched beyond descrip-         O’Hara, I look down to the Abbot
serenity and grandeur of Mt. Atha-         tion by the sincerity and commitment        Pass and spot a weaving line of climb-
basca framing the image.                   of this young man.                          ers on the steep scree trail. Geoff is
    As we step aside to let the line           “We’re going to the Abbot Hut           with me, and when I point to the line,
of fireflies pass, we exchange cordial       next week to do some more high              he agrees, “That must be the armed
greetings of “Good mornings”, “Hellos”     mountain practice. I hope we’ll all fit.     forces group we met on Athabasca.”
and “Hey, how’s it going?”                 They say it sleeps 20 but we’re more           On returning to Toronto in mid-
    One firefly pauses, and Geoff uses        than that,” he continues casually.          August, I hear CBC news report on
the opportunity to rustle up some in-
formation. “So you’re pulling the plug?
We’re kind of thinking the same – we          Story by Margaret Imai-Compton
                                                       Photos by Peter Amann
hit some rain on the drive up. Hey
- you have a big group today.”
    The firefly facing us is a young solid
man, amiable and confident. “We’re
training for duty in Afghanistan. You          I jump into the conversation. “Hey,     yet another Canadian fatality in Af-
know it’s pretty mountainous over          I’m going to be up there too with an        ghanistan. “This has been a sad week
there so this is good to get in some       ACC camp. Maybe I’ll see you. I’d           for the Canadians as, in these past 7
mountain travel before we get there.”      love to meet your group!”                   days alone, their fatalities now stand at
    Geoff clarifies, having done some            Then, much to my own surprise, I        nine,” says the announcer.
guiding for the British army up on the     stifle a sob and, struggling to maintain        I get a flashback to the descend-
Wapta Icefields,“So are you guys with       control, my heart blurts out, “Thank        ing fireflies on Mt. Athabasca and our
the British army?”                         you for doing such a great job for          encounter with the Canadian solider.
    “No – we’re from Canada. We’re         Canada, for our country. Blessings          A mantra takes hold in my mind, “Be
up for duty in Kandahar,” he answers.      on your trip. Please stay safe. Please      safe all of you. Be safe in Kandahar.”
22                                                                                     Toronto Section Newsletter - Fall 2006

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                                     Waiver forms
 Please remember that you will be asked to sign a             Club member, volunteer, or employee. The witness
 waiver for every outdoor trip in which you partici-          should confirm that you have read and understood
 pate. Copies of the waiver can be obtained at http://        the release.                • Do not rush through reading the release - leave
 html.                                                        yourself ample opportunity to read and understand
 • Read and understand the release before signing and         its terms in advance of your chosen activity.
 dating it. This release is easy to read and is available     • If you refuse to sign the release, you will not be able
 in French and English.                                       to participate in the chosen activity.
 • If you have any questions about the meaning of the         If possible, please print a copy of the release, and
 release, please ask the trip coordinator to explain in       bring it with you on the trip. If you are not able to
 detail.                                                      read and print it before the trip, the coordinator will
 • You cannot change any terms of the release prior to        have a copy for you at the designated meeting place
 signing it.                                                  prior to the event. You will have time to read and sign
 • The witness to your signature must be a non-family         it there.
 member. It is preferred that the witness is an Alpine                                             23

Clockwise from top: Waiting out the rain on the dock at Bon Echo.
 The Canada Post stamp commemorating 100 years of the Alpine
Club of Canada, signed by members attending the anniversary cel-
ebrations at Bon Echo.
Michael Rosenberger’s piton rack.
All photos: Steve Lew.
24                                                                               Toronto Section Newsletter - Fall 2006

 Top: Belaying at the top of P-H, Bon Echo. Photo: Steve Lew.
 Bottom: The daily grind up the moraine & glacier to Bugaboo - Snowpatch Col. Photo: Paul Palfreyman.

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