Posted by: westcoastice | February 4, 2011

February 4, 2011 (Thanks Lee and Francis)

Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road
Lee Purvis and Francis St-Pierre climbed Synchronicity on Thur Feb 3 – and both sent me reports :). We (Lee and Francis) approached from the bridge, as the log crossing doesn’t seem to exist anymore and it has not been cold enough for any ice dam to form. About 1.5hrs to the start of climbing, following the creek and scrambling through snow covered boulders in the talus field. The route is much thinner than in early January, but the recent cold has grown enough ice to make it climbable.The first and second pitches were thin with ice delaminating from the rock. The top pitch was fat and fun, but sun-baked ice with a bit of a nasty crust on top. The route probably went at mostly 3/3+ with the top pitch at WI4 (on the easy side). Some of the ice was sunbaked and crusted requiring cleaning for screws, but other portions were super plastic.

Weather was relatively cold in the morning and then it really warmed-up in the afternoon. Ice conditions were significantly worse on the way down in the afternoon. When the sun hit the climb the water started running like mad. Lots of rockfall on the walk back to the car (no ice shelves to cross the river) — even the car got a few dings from fallen rocks where we parked at the bridge. With the forecasted warming trend this climb is not likely to last long and we might have had the last ascent of the season unless we get a solid cold snap.

Start of Synchronicity

Start of Synchronicity

Sheared ice on the middle pitches

Sheared ice on the middle pitches

Angling ice heading up to the last pitch

Angling ice heading up to the last pitch

The Grand Finale

Synchronicity's Grand Finale


  1. Hey, we had a group up there from Seattle Fri 1/4 thru Sun 1/6. Here are our observations from climbs we did and those we just scouted from the road:

    Loose Lady: the WI3 pitch was in good shape but some of the lower approach pitches were thin or nonexistent for a short stretch, requiring a 15 ft unprotected drytool lead over smooth rock (went OK, scratching up it with crampons). WI5 above looked a bit scary, stuff coming down, wasn’t climbed.

    Isodorth Gully: soloed this WI3 climb, it was in poor to fair shape–fair where you needed it to be on the steep steps and poor on the lower angle terrain where it was half running water and thin ice. But it was fun and seemed within the bounds of safe. We crossed the river directly to the climb using waders–that was more frightening than the soloing! Last year we tried the guidebook approach–parking at the bridge and traversing back along/above the riverbank. Spent two hours on high angle, brushy, hard frozen slopes and never even hit Belmore! Crossing the river is the way to go provided you can do it safely.

    Oregon Jack: colder out there (just below freezing) and the climb was in decent shape–go get it!

    Rambles L/C/R all in good shape.

    Marble ice wasn’t widespread or fat but Icy BC still leadable and Deeping Wall getting a bunch of TR’ing.

    Observations made driving by:

    Honeyman: looked like still quite a bit of ice on RHS but flowing hard on LHS. Bottom had some major holes; it was pretty warm so we stayed away–might be OK if it gets cold again.

    Cherry Ice: not in shape–thin and discontinuous

    Three Ring Circus: looked climbable but narrow down low; hard to tell if thin too–perhaps not?

    Synchro: looked pretty white but there’s a continuous flow; narrow down low, thin in spots. Someone climbed it last Thursday, though–see below for their account.

    Carl’s Berg: overall looked OK, some holes for sure but seemed to have enough ice…didn’t see anyone on it over three days so maybe my quick take on it is off base, then again, there weren’t many climbers around, especially outside Rambles or Marble, due to warm weather and not much in shape.

    Belmore Gulley: most of it looked good but there’s one steep looking section that appeared discontinuous from the road through binocs. Could probably skirt that or climb through on rock.


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