adventures with Jen Olson

Posts tagged “climbing

Dolomites with Sara and Geoff

Meet Geoff and Sara, a happy couple

I was fortunate to climb with Sara and Geoff in the Dolomites this past September. This trip allowed me to experience the magic of these historical mountains in the eastern Alps.

Bad Timing

Unfortunately, we timed our trip perfectly with some of the worst weather of the summer. Every day, tough decisions were made, but we made the best of it and managed to climb some rocks!

Sport Climbing near Sands in Taufers

Our trip started with a three hour traffic jam on a Saturday morning driving over Brenner Pass from Innsbruck. In the future I will try to get an earlier or much later start. We were chomping at the bit, but by the time we found a crag in the late afternoon, we found it seeping from recent rains.

The next day we awoke to rain and we ended up making a long trip to a dry sport climbing cliff, where we got in a really good workout!

Not my photo, as the day we climbed the 3rd Sella Tower we did not have any blue sky.

Summit of the second sella tower and the famous Messner route

We enjoyed the first half of the Vinatzer route on the 3rd Sella Tower and everyone enjoyed the crux pitch up a finger crack and through a roof, even though it was a little bit moist.

Then I made the tough decision to go down, as the weather wasn’t improving, and I was worried about some technical scrambling on the descent in the rain. So we rappelled from there and found our way into the descent gulley.

arriving at the big ledge before the crux pitch on the Vinatzer route

Getting a bit discouraged with the weather we packed up and headed from Val Gardenia to Cortina. On the way I managed to get a 170 euro speeding ticket for going 11km over the speed limit while trying to pass a dump truck. I was getting passed by locals all the time as I get car sick when I drive fast on windy roads! Nice italian hospitality.

rain on Sass di Stria, we managed to climb the left hand skyline route later in the afternoon, called Hexenstien

When we got to Falzerego Pass it was raining so we headed up the cable car to the top of Lagazuoi

The information in the cable car and for tourist about WWI was fascinating

The tourist book told us to take the cable car up and hike down the tunnels to avoid going against the crowds, but on this rainy day–it wouldn’t of been an issue to hike up the tunnels (which i would of preferred).

Enjoying Italian hospitality at the Rifugio Lagazuoi before descending the mountain

I loved the ledges, trails, paths, tunnels, trenches all initially built in WWI. It was not difficult to imagine what it might of been like

Helmets and headlamps required, i kept bumping my head!

Unfortunately, i am claustrophobic (felt nauseous, and headachey) and I didn’t really enjoy this experience. when there were opportunities to go onto ‘balconies’ or walk outside on exposed terraces, i was very happy.

ahhh, the relief of getting outside, scoping climbs and ski lines : )

In the afternoon, we managed to squeeze in this climb on Hexenstein.

the second to last pitch involves climbing over a chockstone into a rock crevasse, a very cool location on the mountain. These mountains provide lots of natural hiding places.

Savouring one of our few summits on the trip before hiking off through many trenches and walls built in WWI.

The next day we through our hands up in the air and headed to Venice to escape another day of rain and indecision.

In our short time visiting Venice, we did some great sightseeing, but mostly ate and drank wonderful food and wine

And of course we went to find the Glass Blowers on the island of Murano, we missed them, but bought some gorgeous glass jewelry and vases.

The Yellow Edge in the Tre Cime was our next objective. We shared the route with a few other parties. What a spectacular location!

Fun corner climbing for the first couple pitches

Crushing the stone

Shortly after this pitch the route traverses left and up into the final crux dihedral.
We got passed by a local which was also, a classic European experience for us!

We had a good day out at the Cinqui Torri after this and really enjoyed the route called the NW corner on the Torre Barancio.

Superb classic climb on this Torre up the obvious corner in the sun (photo from

I want to thank Sara for being so adventurous and strong and trusting me on this trip. I want to thank Geoff for his patience and care of Sara and ability to be supportive through bad weather and help with the details of guiding. I appreciate them both for all the amazing wine and fantastic food we devoured!


Classic Chamonix Climbs with fellow Canucks, Joanna and Tom

get your game face on for the Aiguille du Midi arete

the Cherie Couloir on the triangle du tacul... beside the trois mont route on mont blanc

the crux pitch ~ WI 3-4

Joanna cranking out the crux

Tom is happy not to be under Joanna or any other parties for that matter : )

the last pitch of perfect ice and stone

an impressive glacier and valley far below

riding the Helbronner to the Torino hut, a mountain guide's dream of transportation

Bonjourno Dent du Geante and Torino rifugio

"getting dressed" in the morning

Aiguille de Entrevs ridge traverse from right to left

So many great ridge photos!

Joanna coming to grips with her fear of exposed places! WOW! impressive...

great views from the Helbronner


its all about the vistas

Traverse of the Crochues follows the ridge from left to right starting at the 'V' notch

a superb ridge traverse

Next stop... Lac Blanc

the popular Lac Blanc, well worth the hike

sit down, relax, eat and drink: croute, omlette, tart, beer, wine and rose!

a tipsy bumble back to the top of the Index lift

a sweet ride down before the evening storm

Mt. Assiniboine in all its Glory

the mission

Michael and Jen

Barry Blanchard

Kai Larson

from the hind hut

perfect cramponing for the first third : )

Wakey Wakey, the sun is up and its a glorious day

takin a coffee break ; )

where the difficulties begin : )

Kai gettin busy

such a hard life, this mountain godding : )

Nearing the summit ridge

Yea! We made it... half way ; )

the spectacular east face beckons

you're faking it well, Michael ; )

A photo essay of an amazing trip to Mt. Assiniboine September 29, 2010. Unexpected good conditions and travel partners made this ascent serendipitous…..

A big thanks to Michael Penny who brought us up here, and my fellow mountain guide Barry and partner, Kai for blazing the path whilst entertaining us.

A big kudos to Sepp Renner and the lodge staff for all the support, including heli’s!


Chris, the Bugaboos and a Grizzly Bear

Chris and I recently went to the Bugaboos and had a great adventure involving lots of fresh snow and a hungry grizzly bear.

starting in the RAIN

It wasn’t too hot or too buggy on our rainy hike up to the Kain Hut : )

a rest before the final leg up to the hut

its not hard to get your pack on the hangar with a meter of snow under your feet

On July 3, we hike up to Eastpost Spire via Appleby campground where there was a meter of snow still! We had about 20cm foot pen in the new fresh snow. Very skiiable.

a wee bit of neige

Summit Photo!

I summitted too!

We decided to make a day of getting back to the car and so we headed over the Brenta-Cobalt Lake Sattelite Spire Col to Cobalt Lake.

Chris said he would of gone for a swim if it was warmer ; )

Then the Grizzly incident. He was not scared of us. There was no bluff charge. He just wanted what he smelled and it was coming from our direction and that was all.

hungry bear

After Chris scared the bear off we got ourselves up and over Black Forest ridge and onto the donkey trail back to the trailhead. Good times.

we hollered for bears all the way back to the trailhead ; )

Thanks for the trip Chris. A Grand Adventure.