Last weekend we spent some nights in the forest again. Another weekend without electricity and without water, but with friendly people, fondue, some sauna time instead and a new adventure for me: Ice climbing.
Few weeks ago, Jean-Nick and I discovered a possibillity for climbing at a small climbing hall. Nothing big, but just enough to practice the sport, that we both like. During our last climing sessions, we met some experienced fit climbers and outdoor lovers with good local knowledge. We got invited and so we went on our way to the Laurentian Mountains* (fr. Laurentides). The area is located about 5 hours south of Rouyn-Noranda. It was already dark, when we arrived at the entrance of the climbing parc, but luckily, the chalet was just a 5 Minute walk from the car. Similar to the DAV at home, the chalet is owned by the Canadian Alpine Club in the Section Laurentides.
In the morning we felt definately climbing-ready, after we got equipped with heavy, essential climbing gear: Climbing harness, ropes, pickaxes and crampons. I felt to be sent to major expedition, but I must say that ice climbing wasn’t on my bucket list at all! Actually I was a bit scared and I would have said “thanks – forget about it”, but once I got convinced by some people, I tried to overcome my inner doubts. I knew that this wasn’t in my comfort zone, but I wanted to give it a try.
After a short walk, we stopped in front of these amazing rocks, covered with snow and ice, of 30-50 metres high, strange and terrifying. What if the ice cracks? Can I trust the ice picks in my hands to secure me in the vertical? At least, we had two climbing instructor in our group, who I could bother with all my questions.
After all the instructions, I ventured to climb to the top, always at the same, slow rhythm. First, pressing the crampons into the hard ice, pushing the hips to the wall and then using the ice picks to make tracks in the ice. Of course, it felt weird at the beginning, but after all, it was a great experience!
After we spent the whole day outdoors, we enjoyed a good and hot fondue. We all felt the need to defrost even more, so we changed our evening location to the sauna. It was well deserved!
The next day, I went for a short snow-shoeing track around the chalet. It is located – of course- in the forest, just in front of the climing walls, which attracts a lot of climbers in summer too. It is a nice area and I’ll be back for sure 🙂
* The Laurentian Mountain range is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. It contains rocks deposited 540 million years ago