Monthly Archives: April 2012

ACC Top Rope Anchor Building Course

Leaders Need To Sharpen Their Skillz Too!

I attended the Alpine Club of Canada, Vancouver Section’s “top rope” rock climbing “anchor building” course (including advanced instruction on belaying & rappelling techniques), Saturday and Sunday, April 28 & 29, 2012, at Smoke Bluffs Climbing Park in Squamish, B.C.  Now that the snow is gone…expect to see our Scouts stylin’ climbing helmets soon!

Day 1:  Alpine Club of Canada, Vancouver Section, instructor Martin Siegert teaching the finer points of “top rope” anchor building (here showing how to extend the focal point of the anchor over the edge of the rock face to reduce wear on the rope) at “Neat and Cool”, Smoke Bluffs.

ACC Instructor Suzanne inspects the anchor our team built at the top of “Corn Flakes” (one of the many climbing routes available at “Neat and Cool”) before allowing us to rappel down.

No fear. Trista shows her confidence in the anchor that we built at the top of “Corn Flakes”. My turn next….

Trista “rapping” down the wall at “Neat and Cool” while Robert and ACC Instructor Ian look on.

Day 2: We switch crags and go to “Octopus’ Garden” at Smoke Bluffs for a more challenging top rope anchor building environment.

The trickiest anchor built this weekend!  Robert is now ready to “rapp” down the face after helping to build this anchor. To build it, he had rappel down to the bolts, clip in his personal safety line, unhook from the rope and hang by his safety until the anchor was established. Only after the anchor was set and the Instructor and other student had “rapped” down, was Robert able to reconnect his rappelling device and head down. All this took so long that Robert’s feet fell asleep while standing out there on the ledge. Ouch!

Instructor Martin goes into incredible detail regarding the capabilities, selection and care of climbing gear (climbing ropes, slings, cord, biners, etc.) to a very attentive audience. The day was perfect! The sun even came out for us.

Top belayer, Karen, watches as climber, Catherine, completes her climb under the watchful eye of Instructor Martin. Thanks for a truly excellent weekend Martin!

The Year So Far…

Now that the winter camping season is over, let’s do a quick recap of the year so far:


October:          Alice Lake Orientation Camp  (2 nights)
November:      Joffre Lakes Winter Camp I       (1 night)
January:          Joffre Lakes Winter Camp II      (1 night)
February:        Joffre Lakes Winter Camp III    (2 nights)
March:            Joffre Lakes Winter Camp IV      (1 night)
April:              Joffre Lakes Winter Camp V      (2 nights)


October 2:         Sunday Morning Hike @ Alice Lake
October 11:       Night Hike @ Cypress I
October 16:       Baden-Powell Trail Challenge: Part I – Black Mtn.
October 29:       1st Annual Investiture Ceremony on top the Stawamus Chief (1st peak)
November 8:      Night Hike@ Cypress  II
January 10:        Night Hike @ Cypress III
January 28:        Snowshoe Hike @ Garibaldi Park I  – Recon
February 4:        Snowshoe Hike @ Garibaldi Park II – Red Heather Shelter
February 7:        Night Hike @ Cypress IV
February 18:      Snowshoe Hike near Upper Joffre Lake (+ Scout Investiture)
March 6:             Night Hike @ Cypress V
April 14:             Snowshoe Hike to Upper Joffre Lake & Matier Glacier (+ Leader Investiture)

Special Events:

April 3:                Tour of North Shore Rescue’s Operations Centre
November 11:      West Vancouver Remembrance Day Parade
September 10:     North Shore Candlelight Tribute to Veterans

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We still have a lot to do before the regular season is over.

We’ve got the North Shore Area Camporee next weekend and then one last regular season camp in June.

After that we’ve got the whole summer to look forward to!

Who wants to climb what mountain?

Let’s bag Black Tusk….and what else?

Remember:  Any registered member of Scouts Canada is welcome to join us on any of our activities!

I’m off to an Alpine Club climbing course this weekend at Smoke Bluffs in Squamish….

Everyone play safe and have fun!

Under the Matier Glacier, Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. April 14, 2012

DEAL ALERT! 50% Off Everything @ GoLite


Just announced by GoLite:

“In celebration of spring (and hopes of summer peeking right around the corner) we have expanded our 50% OFF SALE to include our ENTIRE LINE OF PRODUCTS! That means packs, tents, sleeping bags, and apparel are all fair game!”

“Unfortunately it is only through GoLite directly (either in stores or online) that this sale is valid so it will not apply to international dealers.”

No problem:  have your purchases shipped to one of the many border town establishments that will receive your goods and hold them for you to pick up when convenient (they do this for a very modest fee).

The Shangri-La 5 tent in the photo is an excellent winter camping group shelter that we’ve been wanting to get for months and now it’s half price!  Woot!

BTW:  to use these type of tents in winter camps you set it up on the snow and then dig a 4′ pit inside of it and use part for a kitchen and the rest for seating.  A very nice place to have dinner while the wind and snow howls outside.

April 13-15, 2012: Joffre Lakes Winter Camp V

Well, we had time for one last trip back to the ‘Joff before the winter snow begins slowly disappearing from the Mountains.

This time we had guests from Pemberton joining us: Jason Gadd and his son Ben.  They had such a good time that we’ll have to find a way of creating a Pemberton branch of the 5th West Van Mountaineer Scouts!

We also had 19-year-old Sam Lotzkar and his friend David join us.  They also had an excellent time winter camping for the first time in their lives.  Maybe we’ve got our first Rovers for our group?

Saturday morning we saddled up and snowshoed into the mountains.  We ate lunch in the sun at Middle Joffre Lake and then continued on to Upper Joffre Lake.

After five camping trips to the park since November, it was the perfect end of a perfect season to finally put our snowshoe prints into the snow on Upper Joffre Lake below the towering Joffre and Matier Peaks and the stunning Matier Glacier!

We took the opportunity to do a leader investiture ceremony on the lake under the glacier for our new leader, Scouter Alan!  What a spot for that ceremony!  It was like being in a cathedral with the rocks and ice towering all around us.

The weather began socking in and it starting snowing so…with heavy hearts after only a short visit to the “Joffre Cathedral”…we had to turn around and head back to basecamp.

But you can be sure we’ll be back and next time…let’s camp at the Upper Lake!

With all the Scouts in bed on Saturday night, the adults sat in our carved out snow living room and chatted about the day’s adventures.

At 11pm our conversation was interrupted by a sound from high up in the mountains that crackled like rolling thunder for over 5 seconds…something very large, heavy and hard broke loose up there and crashed down the mountain…this was no mere avalanche…it sounded as if half the glacier had broken off.

A good reminder for us to be ever vigilant out there and to take the mountains seriously every time we go out.

UPDATE – 04/16/12:   I just got this wonderful message from Jason Gadd regarding this weekend’s trip up in the mountains:

“HI Jody – Thanks for having us.  Ben said that Saturday was one of the best days of his life!  It was pretty great.”

Our Tour of North Shore Rescue’s Operations Centre

What a special treat.  Thanks to Connie DeBoer of North Shore Rescue for arranging for the Scouts to have a special tour of North Shore Rescue’s Operations Centre tonight!  The Scouts enjoyed the special honour of being allowed into “The Embassy” (NSR’s command centre).  After the tour we were scheduled to stay and watch the team during a triage and stretcher rescue training session.  Unfortunately for us, however, the tour was cut short when the team received a “call out”.  No practice tonight!  Time for the real thing!  Everyone there, including Connie (a team member herself) had to respond to the rescue call and so we had to get out of the team’s way and let them do their job.

Thanks again, Connie, and all the other team members for giving the Scouts a really special experience tonight!


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