Matt's Diary: Day 10
After rain throughout the night, we poke our heads from the tent at 4am to find the mountains blanketted in cloud. Back to bed for an hour to see how the weather develops - Matt sets the tacky 'Lake Louise' alarm clock forward to 5am, then forgets to turn the damn thing back 'ON' again. We promptly fall asleep. At 7am Steph wakes and realises it blatantly is not 5am, what's more, the clouds have lifted too, so we decide to do a double shuffle to the mountain. After all, the Presidents are supposed to be easy after the likes of Cavell and Victoria! We'll just shoot up there and be back in time for breakfast!
However, early indications were that this would not be the case - the sign at the parking lot  reads 'Emerald Lake 1302m' as we scoot past at 7:45am. El Presidente towers above us at 3138m. 1836m of climbing to go. Doh!!
Now thinking in blocks of time the size of 'Do approach' or 'Get to col', we make speedy progress without needing too much in the way of breaks. After a 2hr march to the base of the couloir , the clouds are low again, and Matt suggests binning it and going back to bed. Steph charges up the couloir before Matt has chance to argue / beat him up. As we climb higher the clouds lift over the glacier, and the sun appears. At the top of the couloir we engage in some charming (NOT!) low 5th class on exposed and very loose rock. Fortunately when we reach the top we find a rap station equipped with pitons, although perhaps we were climbing the descent route and should have ascended the rocks to the right? Anyway, surprisingly after all this sketchiness, the loose stuff disappears and we climb beautiful steps made out of stripey beige and white rocks.
This leads to the easiest glacier we've ever seen, and Steph patiently hacks a 2hr lead to the col (2875m, ), which we reach at 1:30pm. At 2875m, we're pretty tired of climbing, so we mentally delude ourselves that the false summits we see are in fact the real ones. First, the President (3138m) is an easy climb except for the very top, where Steph insists we climb up the dodgy cornice to the 'true summit' . Then the Vice President. After a weary argument over the relative merits of loose rock and 45° ice, we opt for the latter, but fortunately it turns out to be snow, and half an hour's step kicking puts us on the summit (3066m ). The view is great from up here, and there is no cornice to fall off! Nutella bagels are consumed and then down, down, down we go.
In under 1hr we are at the foot of the glacier. Then it's all good fun rapping off the pitons and boot-skiing down the couloir. We're surprised to see a couple more climbers headed up, camping out below the couloir. We give them the beta, discuss mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies (which by now we know something about!) and roll on to the lake. The sign at the lake reads "You are now half way round".
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