Getting Out

Barry Blanchard
Featured in our Winter 2004 catalog

It was the best year for ice in the Canadian Rockies since ‘93. Everywhere the ice was coming in big, blue and beautiful; Mount Rundle was no exception. Ten Years After, an elegant rock-to-ice mixed route, lay on the black stone like a rapier hung to the castle wall. My buddy Philippe from Briançon, France, was camped out in the basement on my bouldering pad; we found the time in mid-November and went for it.

Mist rose from the river like Celtic myth ascending (can anyone not be altered by seeing that?). A hard hour up through the timber, sweat funneling down my spine, glazing my butt. Then I cranked on bomber picks slotted into rock, pulled strong onto chrome-colored ice, some of it as thin as the windshield on my truck, my heart thrust hot blood – life – toward failing forearms. Then a rest, recovery, 100 more feet of fun led to Philippe’s wide smile tucked tight under a roof. The next pitch was all mine ...

About the Author

Barry Blanchard, one of Patagonia’s alpine ambassadors, lives in the late-day shadow of Mount Rundle, hoping for yet another banner year of ice in the Canadian Rockies.