Issue 17

Tales of Vertical Trails

Rockies Ringlock & Filthy With Minerals

All of the routes on Tan’si tower have somewhat ridiculous names, but to each name is attached a story. The story of Filthy With Minerals involves a bit of context.

Issue 17

Rockies Ringlock & Filthy With Minerals

Route development days almost always fall in between another day or two in the mountains for me.They are a natural outflowing of my passion to share these mountains with other travellers and unlock their secret pathways. On route development days things can have a tendency to be more casual, and our backpacks are heavy.

So it was that I found myself at the base of Tansi Tower having made the decision to trade water weight for bolts. Ethan and I had a day off together and had stayed in the Nordegg area. The weather was moody and had rained overnight, however there was a fine block of clear skies in the forecast.

We found ourselves at the base of Rockies Ringlock and the route was still very saturated. As the name implies the golden pitch on the route follows a steep finger crack. Wanting to climb the finger crack after it dried out, we opted on questing out towards a somewhat drier line on the left of the slabs. So it was that we began our exploration of Filthy With Minerals. Climbing the route was very fun – pitch 1 climbed through clean slabs with some traditional protection to a crux with very cool runnel features that lead to a comfortable belay stance. I seconded this pitch and took the lead for pitch two.

My lead was fun, wet, and slippery but reasonable to lead on wet rock. We were at the base of an excellent groove feature, the pitch that had caught our attention from the ground. The groove reminded me of Hidden Crack and Ultimate Nordegg Thing, and it did not disappoint. One tricky move right after the belay sends you on a moderate ramble to a small chimney and a great belay stance. The rock was beginning to dry and cumuliform clouds were rising on the horizon. We quickly climbed a scrappy pitch four to position ourselves above Rockies Ringlock for a rappel and cleaning pass. By this point in the day I was feeling thirsty, but we were excited to climb Rockies Ringlock and see how the crux pitch played out.

We quickly rappelled the route and started back up. Pitch one and two were fun but nothing about them stands out. As we arrived at the base of the ringlock pitch the clouds were towering in a serious way and we were pretty motivated, so we punched the clock a bit harder. Ethan led the fun pitch and I arrived at the belay station as graupel began to fall. I climbed the last pitch as the graupel turned to hail and we topped out with smiles on our faces. As we began our descent the entire face of Tansi Tower was covered with a layer of quickly melting snow and ice. Thirsty as I was, I did the only natural thing – I stopped on rappel to enjoy a spring of fresh melt water trickling down the rock face. As Ethan made his way to my position at the belay he looked down and hollered “Tim, that’s filthy!”. I turned my head up towards Ethan and retorted, “Filthy with Minerals!” and so the route was named.

Hiking to Tan'si
No Lights On Fridays
No Lights On Fridays

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