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Wildflowers of the Rockies

This page is dedicated to you, Aunt Annette!

K’s become obsessed with wildflowers. The 5 mile hike to Wilcox Pass (next post) turned into a 3.5 hour journey as we captured not only the stunning glacial views, but tried to identify and photograph each type of wildflower!

Western Anemone (maybe Globeflower)IMG_0844

Moss Campion   IMG_0838

Poorly photographed Alpine ButtercupsIMG_0851

Alpine Forget-Me-NotsIMG_0847


IMG_0865 IMG_0861

Pink Wintergreen


Arrow-leaved GroundselIMG_0885

Leafy Asters



Orange AgoserisIMG_0887

We’ve seen endless stretches of these Fire WeedsIMG_0873

And of course, in all shades, Indian PaintbrushIMG_0877 IMG_0878

And an abundance of these… yellow flowersIMG_0866



More Banff Climbing

Another inspiring day of climbing at Grassi Lakes, just outside of Canmore.

Here’s K on an over-hung, pumpy 10c on super pocketed limestonephoto

Not pictured: Jason’s several bold leads of the day!

The Radical Reel films at the Banff Center only inspired more climbing! For now, we’re off to music festivaling in Calgary…

Banff Climbing

After leading the day off by making my handsome man some coffee in bed, I (Karina) finally stopped being a wuss bag and did some leading on an INCREDIBLE 9 pitch bolted route on Take it for Granite at Guide’s Rock, just outside of Banff. We’re both beaming, a little ragged, and now re-hydrating at Grizzly Paw Brewing.


Our route up Aftenroe on Take it for Granite wall IMG_0536

Mentally preparing IMG_0543

All smiles mid-routeIMG_0545


Rappelling our way back to Marge with gorgeous views of Bow River, the Canadian Rockies and freight trains snaking their way in between




Chasing Smoke and Sunshine

We seem to be keeping apace with the sun the further we head north with steady 10pm sunsets. LOVING the long days!

Unfortunately, we’ve also been chasing smoke since Wyoming, with several Canadian fires and winds blowing smoke south. The hazy views started in the Tetons, and are pretty regular up here in the Canadian Rockies. That said, this is still absolutely stunning country with climbing, hiking, mountaineering playgrounds abound!

And while the hazed pictures don’t do the place justice, here’s a few shots of our climbing walls on the far side of Lake Louise in Banff National Park:IMG_0493


(Karina hiding on the rocks, Where’s Waldo-esque)IMG_0755

Canada’s Glacier National Park in the Selkirk mountain range is just one ridge over from the Rockies, but an entirely new world of lush green





Glacier National Park

Glacier is a great tribute to America’s national park system. The trails, roads and campsites are beautifully architected to accentuate the beauty of the northern Rockies. 2 Nights in the park gave us time to explore the snow capped Logan Pass and enjoy a hike crossing the Continental Divide and the park from West to East.

Though a late storm had close the trail we planned to hike, it was fun playing in the snow on Logan Pass.IMG_0677




And the mountain goats know that they rule the mountains of Glacier. They have no fear of heights or tourists.IMG_0673

Day two’s hike across Swiftcurrent Pass brought sweeping views of the Western slopes of the park with lush forest’s, jagged peaks and fields of wildflowers reminiscent of the Swiss Alps.IMG_0697

Unabashed Hoary Marmots!IMG_0693

Endless stretches of glowing yellow Glacier Lillies.IMG_0703


Cresting the Continental Divide and looking east into a completely new landscape of rocky peaks and colorful valleys.IMG_0711




The blooming Bear Grass dominated the eastern slopes.IMG_0736


After good luck hitchhiking back across the park a few hours with AAA got us back into our car. It’s still unclear how the keys got locked inside 😉




Welcome to Montana

We were provided with underwhelming reports for climbing in Montana, but we hit our stride on these fun rocks of Gallatin Canyon straddling either side of the main road into Bozeman.


(If you look closely, you’ll see Lloyd’s Lads on this wall)20140710-223153-81113846.jpg

Bozeman kindles daydreams of living in a relatively small town, with weekly summer festivals sporting signs like these… 20140710-223028-81028131.jpg

… and local breweries

IMG_0797  IMG_0798

… where you may find old friends of friends (Hey Scottie!) IMG_0791

(Not pictured: Us floating down the Blackfeet River with Montana brews at sunset)

From Jackson, WY to Montana

The lulls (mechanical problems) and delights of a road trip endeared us with, impatiently at times, some adventures and misadventures as we meandered from Wyoming to Montana.

A key highlight was connecting with our new friends, Sparky and Andy, in Jackson who, after a brief meeting on the climbing walls in Wild Iris, invited us into their home (Thanks, Sparky and Andy!) And one of the nice things about being ‘stuck’ in a place is exploring places you otherwise wouldn’t…

We found ourselves on the bouldering walls in a Jackson park. Not a bad way to kill time.


Obsessing over the endless fields of wildflowers in Granite Canyon that led to hot springs.IMG_0654

IMG_0657  20140711-105016-39016268.jpg


Post hot springs in the mountains.20140710-223156-81116101.jpg

Devouring watermelon, down by a river.20140710-223154-81114214.jpg

Up close and personal with the elk in the Tetons.20140711-105018-39018868.jpg

And our goodbye to the TetonsIMG_0659

And goodbye to Wyoming with a sunset in Yellowstone20140711-105025-39025880.jpg

Left in Wyoming, on the bucket list: Climbing Devils Tower, Ten Sleep, and Grand Teton

Climbing in the Alabama Hills

The Alabama Hills are not actually in the Deep South but rather at the base of Mount Whitney just outside of Lone Pine. Called by some the Poor Man’s Joshua Tree, we found that they offer incredible sport climbing on sharp, featured granite, in a setting straight out of a John Wayne movie (literally). The views are exquisite with the largest peaks of the sierras as a back drop. And the climbs require no approach. You can literally park your van at the base:


climb a route:


and then grab a delicious skillet at the Alabama hills cafe afterwords:

Just watch out for the wildlife: