Today I realised a dream. I climbed probably the most iconic and one of the toughest ice climbs in the world - Polar Circus (V, WI5 - 700m). Probably my proudest achievement is that I lead my first grade 5 ice pitch on this route. To do this on such a classic climb is something very special to me. It has been the culmination of a lot of work and progress, mostly on the mental side of climbing over the past month.
Bourgeau Left is one of those lines that when you first see it, you stop dead in your tracks. A sprawling flow of ice, 185m in length, appearing like a singular white scar against the Limestone southern face of Mt Bourgeau. It is long, aesthetic, challenging, committing, has a colourful history and is respected. It is a route that provides everything you could look for in an ice climb and it certainly represents the best qualities of climbing in the Canadian Rockies.
After such a long build up I am stoked to finally get underway. The climbing is still ahead of me as are countless moments of joy, fear, respect, comradery, fun and suffering. Several relationships and climbing partnerships are yet to be formed, many existing ones strengthened. So as I venture into the unknown, what are a couple of the challenges at the forefront of my mind?