Issue 13

Tales of Vertical Trails

Ultimate Nordegg Thing

Liz Taylor and I had some time in the West Country with no work and no younglings. It was summer, the days were long, and we had a vision. For twelve years I had hoped to climb a route on the completely untouched southwest shields of Mount Abraham.

Issue 13

Ultimate Nordegg Thing

During my early years of development, I had added two multi pitch routes to the Yambraham area. I knew we could get a lot of climbing on the way up the southwest and have six short rappels to exit off the eastern Yambraham side. The day promised to be hot and we had a big mission planned.

Leaving camp at 0400 with huge packs, 50 bolts, rock racks, and 3 litres of water each we headed up the approach to Abraham Slabs. The route finding to the base of our target was easier than expected and we were racking up at 0545. The climbing looked amazing, the first few pitches were a continuous sixty metre groove almost identical to Hidden Crack, but a bit steeper and longer. I looked at Liz and noted, “well, I don’t think I can lead this with the drill, a rack, and a pack, we might have to haul the pack unless you are feeling strong.”

I bolted the first pitch putting in a single bolt for a landmark near the start and then marveling at the high quality gear placements. Liz was on belay and we were away! She managed climbing with both packs on her back to pitch six that day! Every pitch on the route could be described in detail, but I will leave that to the route description. I just kept saying, “we could be climbing in Squamish, the rock is so good up here”. Admittedly there were a few pitches with the typical rockies choss, but all in all this route is extremely high quality.

The final pitch was an incredible 50 metre chimney pitch that finishes at two bolts on low angle terrain. Liz and I walked from here to the grassy glades on the east side of the big step on Abraham Shoulder. We could not believe how good the route was, and enjoyed a late lunch in the sunshine. We eyed the shoulder route but decided to use our extra hardware and add a few more bolts to my mixed route on the Yambraham rappel rather than carrying hardware to the summit of Abraham. This was a great day!

Tim Taylor establishing a new route with a hammer drill in the Nordegg/Lake Abraham area of Alberta
Liz Taylor walking up to Ultimate Nordegg THing

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