The Monkey Tracker

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Finallly! Three Young Monkey's in Canada

So I haven´t released a blog for a while, what with the all climbing, women, fast cars, poker games and travelling.. but Nomad and I are driving 800km from Spain to France in one hit and I have had a little spare time to write the Canada blog.

We noted that Canada is pretty much inhabitable and we don´t know why there are all these poeople here. Its beautiful but still cold in Summer. We hear that come winter it gets down to like minus 50 degrees.


My co writer Steve is in Australia for his sisters wedding. Best wishes to Marrisa and her husband Chris! After I finish this blog my next mission is to sell all the stuff Steve left here.

Now lets get one thing straight, road tolls in France lick the bag.. but thats another blog!! SO.. CANADA! We arrived in Calgary and picked up our brand new V6 Mazda 6. It was a joyous mobile and far more powerful than the soccer mum van we called home back in the US. We noted that Canada was far different to America pretty quickly. Less drive through "Family Restaurants" on the highways.. and too many Australians.. It seems they import Australians here to do all their dirty work at the ski fields and what not.. This had a significant impact on the effectiveness of the Australian accent on the ladies... not that we have time for this with all the climbing..

A few shots of Calgary:

We stayed with a joyous girl called Sarah for a couple of nights and then ventured to Canmore. Canmore is an amazing ski Town in the middle of the Rockies. The Rockies are a bunch of crazy rock peaks that extend from like Colorado up through Canada. The same ones we were climbing in back in March! The peaks surround Canmore and were still covered in snow.

 First we stayed with our new couch host Hannah :) what can I say, one of the coolest chicks we have ever met!!! loco hair and personality ;) We climbed at the local bouldering gym as it was snowing/raining (yes in May). Did I mention I am highly un-impressed with tolls?!
So this bouldering gym was where they held the world bouldering competition the week before so we figured it must be good, but it licked the bag. It had nothing on the gym in Boulder, Colorado. Damn tolls. All our precious savings and stingyness down the drain.

I spent my last 3 dollars at this ice cream bus, took days to find an atm for more money:

Hannah's beautiful house featured a girls slumber party room on the third floor:

In amongst our few weather windows we climbed at Grassi lakes which is 20 mins from Canmore. Some decent limestone routes but certainly not worth going out of your way to visit.

Something about grid bolting, climbs every half meter: 

On the plus side the Grassi lakes canyon is full of grizzly bears and theiving squirels. They are quite tactful and the bears will kill you.

Still in Yosemite mode, I thought bears where scared of humans and I was intent on spotting one to get some good photos. On one day an extremely terrified hiker told me there was a massive grizzly bear on the walking track a few 100 meters away. There was no time to waste. I marched off on a bear hunt.

Ha Ling peak is next to Grassi Lakes and features a huge sport multipitch, nearly as big as the one in Mexico. Don't let the pleasant photo fool you, its north facing, was still covered in snow and has unpredictable weather year round.

Now being the one and only Beric Grylls I have been stashing some knowledge on bears that I received from the locals. Firstly, don't suprise a Grizzly as it may kill you. This is where the bear bell comes in. I didn`t have a  bell so I improvised by clipping lots of quickdraws (linked carabiners) onto my climbing harness which banged and jingled while I was walking. Next thing is you should carry bear spray, I didnt have any of this fangle dangle spray but there where lots of rocks on the ground.. Next you need to be able to distinguish what sort of bear your dealing with and damn quickly. The reason for this is that for different bears the recomended courses of action are different.

For a Grizzly bear don't look it in the eyes, back away and play dead if it comes for you. For a brown bear stand tall and look intimidating, easy for a toned rock climber with scraggy hobo hair. If the brown bears comes for you, FIGHT BACK! I like that. To reiteriate, dont fight the grizzlies, you WILL DIE a glorious death. Now all of this advice may be messed up and the wrong way around. You fight the grizzly bears right? I couldnt rememember, never mind, but I was going to go with the play dead stategy. I must admit once I walked a km or so into the quite forest I was starting to really get on edge. There was definetly a huge Grizzly around and I was starting to second guess this ridiculous camera operation, I saw what looked like a bear through the trees and my whole body tingled and froze. I got the shot and then got the hell out of there.
Our next host was Nicholas and Jody, they were lovely people and their hypo puppy rottwhealer got along well with Rahfiki. Almost too well. Ahhhhh FOX on the road NOMAD!

Our next Couch Surfing hosts were Nathan and Colleen. And they rocked the Casbar!!

We had a great time with them, they took us to watch a Hockey game at the local pub which was interesting because Canadians are very serious Hockey fanatics. In fact the Canada lost the cup against the USA which resulted in a massive riot in Vancouver. I'm not sure why, but the mobs of angry people seemd to think it was a good idea to smash and burn their own property and town. Genious! This actually happened in Vancouver back in the 90's too. 

While we were in the USA at Indian creek we met the famous rock climber Jim Donini. THis crazy old man is like 70 and climbs way harder than us. He has done it all and is a real pioneer for the climbing community. These days Yosemite is a joke to him so h spends his days climbing first accents at Patagonia, Chile where the weather is highly unpredicatable. In the few hours we spent with Jim Donini he told us that if we go to Canada we have visit the "back of the lake at Lake Lousie". As far as he was concerned no other climbing locations existed in Canada. He was right! appart from Lake Louise being one of the most famous lake landscapes in the world the climbing is amazing. It is pink quartzite, nice and steep, and the lake falls away below you.


As with any famous lake, there were 10,000 noobs with cameras, this group of Asians sums it up:

 This Marmot knew the score:

That day we were lucky enough to see two baby grizzly bears. No sign of the mother grizzly bear. You have to be super careful around grizzly cubs as the Mothers are extremly protective and if you get between them and the cubs its definetly game over.

We also saw a massive Elk..


These Elk can be very aggresive to so its best not to get too close.......

Another crazy thing is that the highways in Banff national park have nature bridges, where they build a bridge with trees and dirt so the animals are kept of the roads. Its a pretty big bottle neck and they look ike a good spot for animal predators to chill out and ambush their prey.

A few km's out of Banff is a huge haunted mansion Hotel thing. It used to close down for the winter and this is actually the Hotel that Steven King got his inspiration for the movie 'The Shining'.

They didn't film it here but he based the idea of the movie on this place. The staff in the building are terrified to talk about ghosts and the Spanish maids will only work in groups of 5 after a number of incidents and ghost encounters that have occured over the years. There are two rooms on like the 6th floor where a man killed his entire family many years ago. The doors to these rooms have been blocked off with bricks and painted to look like normal doors that fit into the hall way. Another famous story is about a lady who mysteriously fell down a set of stairs in the Hotel on her wedding night. Apparently she is frequently seen screaming and crying around the stairs in her wedding dress.

Anyways, I spent a number of hours playing Golden Eye and Zelda with Nathan on his Nintendo 64. In my opinion these hours and the hundreds of hours I have spent playing these games in the past were not wasted by an means, I would do it all again! My Mother would probably not agree.  She witessed by childhood nintendo addiction for many years and helped me escape. A small relapse in Canada can't hurt right?!!

Now while I am getting all sentimental I have decided to throw in a rare and super special video of the Younger 3 lost monkeys. This is a video from way back in the year 2003 when we went camping one long weekend at Running River Gorge. Running river gorge is North a few hours from Townsville past Paluma. We were 16 and didn't have licenses so good old Georgey dropped us out there with a stash of food, abandoned us good and proper. One of the highlights was the death flying fox across the gorge which has a pile of jagged rocks for the first few meters, so you gotta hand on tight! If I recall correctly, a severe thunderstorm threw in some excitement too one night. Man we had it all back then, and we threw it all away! We washed it down the drain dammit. Now look at us. We arn't gunna get those days back Nomad and Steve. We're all washed up.

Yep we were crazy back then and we are still crazy now. This whole ridiculous movie making thing has been going on for many years let me tell you. We have media dating back some 12 or so years, most of which will need to remain hidden as it is highly incriminating. And back in those days it wasn't so simple, no fancy spancy USB drives and flash memory. You had be some crazy Steven and spend days messing with elaborate AV cord setups and specialized illegal software.

~~ BONUS PHOTO ~~  Nomad and some wierdo reading the paper in the Banff Mcdonalds, its Nomad in 10 years!

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