I was beginning to have serious reservations again about scrambling alone on such bad rock in mountains I was unfamiliar with when suddenly a number of large rocks came bouncing down the chute I was about to come up. Helmet or no, this gave me a good excuse to turn around and come down (I had taken about 2 hours to get to my highpoint here from Niblock, so not much was invested here). After descending a short ways, two climbers emerged from the chute, being the cause of the rockfall. Still not too encouraging, and I figured I might as well call it an easy day and descend with them for some company. Reversing the lower class 3 section was plenty easy technically, but because the route wandered so much in the cliffs, it was very easy to get lost since it was hard to see over the ledges.
The older man was Adrienne, a financial analyst from Edmonton and an avid mountaineer. He had led many outings for the Canadian Mountain Club, and on our descent he filled me in a lot about the club’s activities. He was leading Barry, a visiting Irishman, young guy, who was the boyfriend of a co-worker of Adrienne’s. They had summitted Niblock and said I wasn’t too far from it (doh!) but that the linkup to Whyte, which I had considered, had considerably more loose rock and exposure. In light of my nervousness with all of the cruddy rock, as we descended we bantered back and forth about mountaineering accidents and close calls in the mountains (which Adrienne, as a regular trip leader, had many in the Canadian Rockies to talk about).
I made it back into town early, so I used the time to stop by the bike shop to address some bike issues. My bike had started to make nasty crunching noises, and as it turned out, my chain had become stretched, which was fixed, and the teeth on the chain ring were dulling, which couldn’t be fixed. Also, my index shifters had been getting stuck in the clicked position, requiring me to push them back into place. This would require new parts which the shop didn’t have, so I’d just have to live with the irritation. I asked the shop to look over my bike to make sure nothing else was wrong, since this would be a convenient place to work out newly manifest issues, but all else seemed well (as would be apparent later, was they weren’t).