Team Smiles. photo: Kinley Aitken
Kinley! photo: Jasmin Caton
Sarah! photo: Kinley Aitken
Jas! photo: Kinley Aitken
I received the Facebook message from Jasmin sometime in March.
“Do you want to climb in Waddington this summer? You, me and Sarah?”
I was deep in daily life at my winter job as cook and ski bum at a ski touring lodge in B.C’s Chilcotin Mountains. It was about the time of year when the skiing had been epic week after week, the days getting longer and the mind just recently had been tickled with thoughts of the climbing season that was just around the corner. Although I was in no rush to stop my daily work/ ski/ sleep/ repeat schedule, my mind easily drifted back to memories of the range almost 9 years ago. I remembered surprisingly little of the daily details, but I could almost see the endless granite ridgelines, feel the gorgeous splitter crack systems and hear the constant thunderous icefall from the toes of all the hanging glaciers. The raw feelings of hanging out in such an intensely wild and beautiful zone came back quickly.
“Yes.” I typed back and pressed send, smiling to myself.
I had visited the range as my first alpine trip. The group had consisted of five bad ass boys and me, a so-called alpine virgin. After twelve days during that glorious August I left the range having sat atop 3 summits under perfect blue skies.
With that one Facebook message, the seed had been planted and I couldn’t help but daydream of heading back into the Wadd. This time however with three ladies and decades of climbing experience between us, the possibilities were endless… had anyone ever had a pedicure atop Sunny Knob, done yoga poses atop any of the Serras or had a pillow fight to decide who would lead out the next day?
Fast forward to mid July, Jasmin Caton, Sarah Hart and I were poised and ready to leave as soon as the weather looked steady. We were well aware that, with the late start to summer the alpine had not really had a chance to heat up and were all interested to see what the range had in store for us. We had objectives that we were all psyched for but agreed to see what conditions the range was in before zoning in on just one. We were stoked to have a late addition to our trip. Firefighter, photographer and all around great guy, Chris Christie. I am not sure if he knew what he was in for hanging out with three chicks for two weeks but I was reminded by my male friends a mans perspective of the opportunities, ‘Taking pictures of three chicks getting sweaty and then cuddling on tiny bivy ledges, only to come back to camp and bathe in freezing water and then laze around camp in boy shorts… ” Hmmm, alright. Noted.