Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Banff - WI6..?

So Ryan thought the WI4 and 5 climbs we had been doing were a little too easy (second pitch of Wicked Wanda excluded), so we went for some WI6 climbs. This went well, except that none of them were really in WI6 shape. The ice is just too fat this year.

Ryan on Whiteman Falls, another party on Red Man Soars, a mixed climb we had done earlier in the day.

Kananaskis Country

Whiteman was largely composed of a translucent layer of ice, maybe 5 inches thick, under which flowing water could clearly be seen.

Fearful Symmetry in unusually fat shape, also completely hooked out, making for very fun, easy climbing.

Rainbow Serpent; apparently in Australian Aboriginal folklore the Rainbow Serpent is a mythic deity know particularly for bringing rain. The name is fitting, the first half of this climb was a goddamn river.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Back in Banff - More Beer, More Ghosts

Forgot the camera cord this time, so updates are going to be somewhat more infrequent [gasp!]. Anyways, yesterday we went to the beer climbs outside Field and did Guinness Gully and Guinness Stout, and today we went to the South Ghost and climbed Wicked Wanda and Malignant Mushroom.
Ice is fat, temps cool but not frigid, and we've only had one unprotectable death pitch! Unfortunately avalanche danger is relatively high, so we're having to put the Icefield Parkway climbs we wanted to do on hold, but there is plenty to do elsewhere.

Guinness Gully crux pitch (3rd of 3)

Ryan on Guinness Stout

Ghost River Wilderness

Wicked Wanda, 1st pitch (WI4) ends at obvious ledge, second pitch (WI4+++) was very techy and weird.

Malignant Mushroom alternate start

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Marble Canyon (BC)

My first trip up to Lillooet, apparently our nearest, closest, center for quality ice climbing.
We climbed two lines on the Deeping Wall, the first and third pitches of Icy BC, and Body Shop.

From left to right, Deeping Wall, No Deductible (lower bolts covered by ice…), Icy BC (pitch 1) 

Rafael leading/soloing, ice was very chandeliered and screws were suspect at best

Icy BC (pitch 3), and Body Shop to the right. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Beartooths + Cody

Before Matt was unexpectedly called back to work, we climbed for a couple days in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana and got one day on the South Fork of the Shoshone River, outside Cody.

First (above) and last (below) pitches of Woodbine Falls - WI3, before the first pitch and between the two we soloed a fair amount of WI2.

Hellroaring Falls (WI4)

Crux pitches of California Ice, first pitch was about a 50m WI3, second doesn't look it from the photo but was a solid 60m WI4, instead of doing the WI3 pitch above and walking around we rappelled from a piton anchor to the right and then made a v-thread about halfway down.

Stringer (WI3), in the Slow Turning drainage outside of Cody. First pitch of Slow Turning goes at WI4 and was not in, Matt claims that after I left to scout up the valley a chunk of ice the size of a refrigerator fell off.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Banff Day 6 - Kitty Hawk

Our biggest climb of the trip. Snow conditions made for a frustrating hike in, it appears we are the first on the climb this season. First pitch was a couple short WI2 steps that we free soloed, second was an impossibly thin, delaminating, WI3/4 death lead (no one died), third was the best ice we encountered all week (WI5). I belayed both leads so not many photos this time.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Banff Day 5 - Carlsberg

After an accidental detour to Pilsner Pillar, we climbed Carlsberg Column (WI5): one WI4 step below the main pitch, and some wandering WI3 above. Looking at the climbs from across the valley later we agreed that we should have gone for Pilsner.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Banff Day 4 - Bourgeau

Climbed the left-hand route (WI5 - actually WI4 for us, as we skipped the last pitch). Ryan got his WI4 lead, I got my WI3 lead, Rafael didn't take his WI5 lead, as the ice was so rotten it would have been basically a free solo.
For those of you who have been on one of our Assiniboine trips the first photo might look familiar, this climb is just across the valley from that trailhead.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Banff Day 3 - Devil's Gap

At last, the Ghost River; we climbed Sunshine (WI3) and Aquarius (WI4). The highlight of the day was checking out the Recital Hall above Aquarius with its two WI6 routes, Fearful Symmetry and Rainbow Serpent.