Mothers Day Buttress/Cascade Mountain (8 pitches)

Rock Climbing
5.7-5.9 (depending who you ask!)
Elevation gain: 400m
Climb up – Hike down (1 Repel)
6-8 hours

I know I said I would not make this an emotional page. But… this was probably the most humbling, nerve wracking, test of mental strength I have ever experienced while doing an activity.

The truth is, I am an amateur climber. And you never know your breaking point until you hit it. Mothers Day Buttress got me there. But also got me through it! And its sticky rocks and multiple hold options, made me a better climber and improved my skills. After I fell (as a second not lead, so not to traumatizing!) I called my bother bailing while hanging – stranded off the side of the mountain. His response “You got this” changed my mind set and put me in a new position to try again. With my best climbing friends above me, one talking me up each step the other on the radio saying “I can do it!!!” I MADE IT!!!! No need to call the helicopter yet!

The pitch that got me was the 3rd one, its rated as a 5.7 but unless we took the wrong route, it was more like a 5.9. The good thing is, this route offers tons of options. Lots of places for trads. So don’t let me experience turn you away! This is a really good climb.

With excellent views over Banff (if its a clear day – not smokey like it was for us) and some sections where you can see Lake Minnewanka.

The other thing I liked about this climb, is you walk back instead of repel. Not that I don’t like repelling!  But its a walk with one section where you hop over Cascade Falls! Super cool to be on top of the falls instead of on the highway driving past it the last 7 years! Please note: there is one repelling section, on the way down. But we just kept our harnesses on and used our hiking shoes. It wasn’t a long or hard section.

Over all, I am extremely grateful for this situation (and my brothers “heart felt words” ). It made reminded me that I am not invincible. Mother Nature is more powerful than I will ever be, and the mountains are not something to take lightly. You must know your limits, push your self only a little bit at a time, hope to succeed but be prepared to fail!

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Valhalla Pure Outfitters Red Deer, AB

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