Highway 12 – Stein Valley
(Drew) attempted Christine Falls with Jackie B. on Sunday the 6th of February. I had hiked the lower Stein in 2009 and seen a fair bit of ice left on these falls at the end of March, so figured they might have a long season.
About a 2 hour approach hike/5km from the parking lot in consistent snowfall, not quite a blizzard. The trail required crampons in a few places, to cross icy seeps with the river right below.
When we got to the falls, the first pitch (15m 3+/4-) was very featured but also very rotten, so we elected to set a TR. Access to the top of this pitch is easy if you hike around on climbers’ left. Made a deep Abalakov and backed it up with two long screws, and that seemed to hold without too much melt.
After lapping the first pitch we continued up the drainage looking for more ice. There was about 200m of snow slogging, with mostly short WI2 steps including a 30m one in the middle. Above this we found a 20-25m curtain over a cave that had large spewing holes in the top which we elected not to climb. Walked off, first to climber’s right, then crossing over to left. About an hour and a half walkout back to the cars.
Obviously some of the poor ice quality can be blamed on the wild temperature swings in Lytton over the last few weeks, with cycles from -10 to +17C. Under more consistent cold this might be a better route. The overall nature of the climb was quite similar to Rambles Center.