a four-pitch climb on McGillivray slabs on a nice September afternoon
McGillivray Slabs is a small area on the side of the mountain, just above the Trans-Canada highway.
There are a few different routes, but most are at least partly requiring trad gear. Morningside is the only major sport route.
It's a 5.7, but seemed reasonably easy for that grade, with a steady level and no obvious crux

On our way up to the rock, we passed by a random hole in the mountainside, looking almost like an old mine shaft.
Using one turtle light and our camera flashes, we explored what we could, and found a few passages, all of which ended abruptly.
Apparently, it was blasted back in the 50s to build a vault in which people could store valubles under threat of the cold war.
The company ran out of money, and it was abandoned, and has left sitting ever since.


Random unexpected hole.

Chance photo - I was trying to see with my flash.

Keeping an eye on the daylight.

Seeking out our route.

After a bit of wandering, we found the route just before another group came up (they ended up on a trad crack to our left).
Keith led the first pitch, and I passed by to lead the second.

The climb begins on a little buttress.

Keith leads up the first pitch.

Typical belay setup above the second pitch.

Keith takes a break at a belay station.

The third and fourth pitches were on average, a little easier than the first two, and included some interesting different sorts of rock.
We continued to switch off with Keith leading the third, and me on the fourth.

Rachel above the second pitch

Ropes leading up the fourth pitch.

Keith leads up the third pitch.

Keith follows up the last bit of the fourth pitch.

We made it to the top successfully, and enjoyed the view out (despite the highway below us).

Looking west out the Bow Valley.

Neat look up the backside of Grotto Mountain.

I keep a nail cutter on my harness after this.

Rope sorting...

There is a fifth pitch that is not bolted that one can climb to be able to walk off, if possessing only one rope.
It would be possible to climb unroped, but would definitely a disaster to slip.
We brought two ropes, and prepared to rappel the route. We rap in three pitches, linking two in one big 55m length.
The rappelling was suprising, as with 50m of rope weight below you, you have to almost push yourself down, and go slowly for a while.
We managed to sort out our ropes, and successfully survived the descent.

Piglet is ready to descend.

Our rappel setup - hope we know what we're doing here.

Rachel starts down the first rappel

Keith descends the first rappel.

No hands on the long rappel.

Look waaaaaay down the ropes.

Keith finishes up the long rappel.

Keith makes it back down off the climb.


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