The Piolet de Obscure Badge
A number of times a year, rockiesobscure.com, is going to post what our panel of judges believe is deserving of a coveted Piolet de Obscure Badge.
Piolet de Obscures can fall into many categories to be choosen such as Obscure Climbing Destinations, Obscure Climbing Artifacts, Obscure Climbing Books, Obscure Climbing Characters, Obscure Climbing Routes, Obscure Climbing Gear and so on.
Our first recorded Piolet de Obscure Badge goes to the finding of Antiques Roadshow climbing area which can be found in Rock East, and one of its’ relic bolts used as our official Obscure Badge.
Our second inductee for a Piolet de Obscure is the ice route long forgotten in the Sheep River Valley, a grade 2+ tribute route Bobesque. Described briefly in the Albi Sole Ice Waterfall Ice book of 1988.
Our third entrance : The Quaite Slab Line. This slab surely gets an honorable mention for obscure slab climbing, unfortunately we can’t give more details of the route as the season ran out before this printing. But who put it there? The bolts are 1980s old and appear to have a line – the question is if bolts continue after the slight vegetated area up the slab. Park as for Quaite Valley along Hwy#1 and hike the road toward the real sport cliff of Alphabet Crag. The slab is obvious on the left about half way to Alphabet Crag. Someone tell us how it goes please! However I had a drink with a CMC member and he let on about it but we never finished the convo…
#4 Piolet de Obscure Badge goes to FISH Climbing Gear from Southern California for its’ low marketed and promoted but highly awesome dual rope bad, The Snakecharmer! Made of heavy duty material and able to store two 70m ropes easily of 10.5mm gauge. The wonderful thing is if you have a belay bolt or can plunk in some gear this thing works like a charm and keeps the rope off the ground. What’s even better is if you are only using one rope, the other deep, separated chamber can hold your water, camera, extra jacket, food or whatever, so gone are the days of rifling through a pack while your buddy is on the sharp end(always pay attention to your leader!). There is a link to the FISH website here on Rockies Obscure.
#5 This time for our Jasper edition it should rightfully have been Wabasso Slab, however, one of many Jasper locations including Tekarra Lodge, was the 1993/4 German produced TV show Destiny Ridge. It was a busy two summers back then when it was decided to use Jasper as the location of this short lived woodsy drama about Park life in Canada. I personally cooked lunch for the cast and crew a few times while they filmed in front of Becker’s Rapids at Becker’s Chalets. The opening scene that shows the sign Welcome to Destiny Ridge was shot just at the top of the hill on the road above the Becker’s complex. Many locals were used in shots and it was advertised in the Jasper Booster at the time for extras to come out and help be in scenes. The internet has very little info on this show but would be a great collectors piece! Tekarra Lodge was where the main actress worked.
#6 The Piolet de Obscure goes to the Ord Road Boulder in Kamloops, BC – since being born in Kamloops and growing up there, I likely threw a few beer bottles at this rock during my teenage years in the 80s. It’s a nice chunk of stone, despite the limited to bouldering on it.
From the Westsyde Road/Ord Road intersection, drive west down Ord Road about 4.2k and you will see it on the right below a crumbly cliff, about 30 feet from the road.
#7 – car camping at the old Yamnuska Meadow, those fancy-free days of leave the city after work Friday, totally ignore all those pay campgrounds and head straight to the Yamnuska meadow or lake, such as this pic shows circa 1997. That yellow 1969 VW Baja had to have the frame welded back together after going into the North Ghost and charging up the Big Hill. Here it is resting, later that night in that 1992 MEC tent a gang of wild horses surrounded us chewing on grass, it was eerie and calming at the same time. Those new to the area should know that camping in any form is not permitted in the area, go up the road to the campground!
#8 – a fond memory many of us have is seeing Burl Ives as the singing snowman on those old claymation Christmas shows, but did you know he shot an album cover at Moraine Lake?! The boulder he is sitting on can be found in Bouldering West.
#9 – Does anyone recall this culinary obscurity that was demolished around 2004? The Mountain Mecca Cafe, a once classic Calgary pre-mountain getaway breakfast stop which sat near where the current city free carpool lot is just west of the Stoney Trail interchange. Amazing trucker-sized homemade cooking, mountaineering photos adorning the walls, colourful grassroots interior, live jams with such classics as The Co-Dependants whom even recoded a live CD inside this fun bergundy trailer-restaurant. The yellow line around the place in the photo is after it had burned and closed down for good. RIP.