Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Up the Long Ladder

So...Last week I told you I almost died on Norquay. I never saw the end of my life being so close! It was litterally under my feet. Meters and meters of freefall down a cliff...

Here's what happened: J-D and me went to hike the mountain. We started quite late, around 1PM. We stopped for about half an hour at the top of the ski hills, climbing the chairlifts poles and the shack, taking pictures. Here's a few:

JD on the chairlift wheel.

Me on a chairlift pole.

Here's what beautiful Rundle mountain and the town of Banff look like from Norquay's ski hills top.

Then, we decided to climb the last part, made of cliffs. It was a lot of fun and didn't take us more than an hour to get to the summit. Here's more pictures from our ascension:

Me as a diver, over a cliff. My speedo goggles were in my pockets...Not intentionally.

Basically the same idea, but from an antenna close to Norquay's summit...It was quite cold up there if you know what I mean...

At the summit, we signed the Alberta centennial mountain register(I also shamlessly plugged my blog), left a few caramels for the next ones and smoked a joint. Bad idea.

A mere idea of the cliffs at the top.

Being both of curious nature, we then followed the ridges and explored a little before deciding to go down towards a nice looking valley, preceded by quite a cliff. Already underway, in the cliff, we realized the precarity of our situation, unnapropriate equipment, no safety devices, in the middle of a cliff, high in many ways, snow, wind, wet rocks and worse, rocks detaching from the cliff. At one moment, I was facing a dead-end (Got all the meaing of that expression) but couldn't turn away or stop, since the rock was wet and I didn't have a lot of grasp. I felt for a few seconds like my life wasn't in my hands anymore. Luckily, at the end of where I could go, I managed a risky turnover and was able to get back to a relatively safe position where I calmed myself down. We realized there was only one solution, get back to the summit and find another way down. It was still a risky business, but a walk in the park in comparison to what we faced. While on our way, J-D realized he lost one of his $100 gloves. He wasn't sure he wanted to go back but I offered and we found the glove a minute after J-D suggested to abandon.

We started to climb down by a safer spot, but darkness was catching on us. We were stopped by a cliff and we wisely decided to find another path. The same situation happened 4 times. Cliffs were stopping our descent and there was no way we wouldn't climb down in the dark. We got discouraged a few times but never ceded to panic or impatience. (The park warden later told us that a shitload of people got killed that way on that mountain). We decided to try one last time, if it was unsuccesful, we would find a safe spot, start a fire and wait til morning. We finally found a relatively safe path down and got back to the ski station we glimpsed all the way but couldn't reach. We rested there a little, thinking back on the risks we took and the relief of being alive. We then went to hike down the longest, but safest part of the mountain and got back on the valley road by 11PM!!! By then, of course, our friends were worried and had called the RCMP and the park wardens. A warden found us on the road and offered us a much-appreciated ride back home. You never saw kids that happy to get found by the police and park wardens!

I talked about racist comments in my last post. Well, new guys got hired at the hotel. They are from Quebec City and are nice, fun guys for the most part. they are hotheads though and will sometimes go overboard. They did make a few racists comments/jokes and the first time I just left. But the second time, while at lunch at work, I decided to make them realize what they were saying. I first decided to couter everything they said and they quickly changed the subject. But the moment I the most proud of is when, a little later, I had a discussion about english people hating us french. The remaining kid said he didn't like people to comment one cultural differences and I took the opportunity to tell him he did that himself minutes before. He aknowledged that he talked before thinking and that he was wrong. One checked, billions to go!

What else is new? Well, my ex-girlfriend, Amy, is getting married to Lars! She wrote to me, hoping she would get my blessing despite not needing it. I gave my unnecessary blessing with more pleasure(I actually never thought it would be a pleasure...) than I thought it would. I surprised myself being genuinely happy for her and allright with it. I have a problem with people getting engaged at 21, but that's not because of her, I just think it's too early in most, if not all the cases...

I'll end up this post with a few pics taken the night prior to my near-death experience...A safer climb: The walls of our staff accom!

Me, up there...

Geoff and me, in the staircase going from the basement to the floor...Quite higher than you think.

My butt.

Kids in the Hall. Me, J-D, Steph, Phil and Geoff. Nobody's touching the ground.

That's it for me, I'll post more frequently, I have money now!


At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Matthieu rants...

Tu me fait mon esti.
Prendre des pics sur les chairlifts dans l'ouest:(
Quain quain pis re-quain

Comment se nomme les habitants de la municipalité de Mayo au Québec?
Attention c'est une difficile.
Et non ce n'est pas les mayonais et les mayonaise

Mais bien les mayolais et mayolaise

Signé Matt avec 2 T

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Tupperfan rants...


M'as en remettre d'autres demain debor!

Les Mayolais! Moi qui pensais que c'était les Belges!

At 12:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous rants...

Fait attention Math batinsse..

J'veut pas qui t'arrive de quoi, j'suis inquiet moi la!

Viens ten a maison, ma te faire une bonne soupe!

M'ennuie de toi mon gars serieux.


At 3:46 PM, Blogger Charlotte rants...

ummmm, right. so great pictures! and that's really cool of you to point out when people are being racist and hypocritical. GOOD JOB!!

i wish i spoke french :(

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