Posted by: westcoastice | January 28, 2013

January 28, 2013 Ice Climbing Report (Thanks Alan, Marc-Andre and Milan)

Highway 5- Coquihalla

Me (Alan Trick) and a few guys hiked into Box Canyon on Saturday the 26th. The conditions were a bit disappointing. Nothing was climbable in the lower part of the Canyon. Further up there were a few flows of ice (including a somewhat emaciated Engage!), but not substantial enough for any of us to be comfortable climbing. We ended up climbing a pitch of WI2 in the very back of the canyon and then rapping off it. I couldn’t identify the route in the book.

Highway 40 – Bridge River Canyon

On Saturday Jan 26, we (Evelyne and Milan) went up to see what Capricorn looks like after seeing the picture from the Jan 24 report. We broke a trail in through 10 cm snow/ forest / avalanche debris and got to the approach pitch – only to be denied by poor, sunbaked and undermined ice (right pillar) and a left pillar that does not touch in any great fashion. Note that the left pillar will be awesome soon (it’s a little bit more sheltered from the sun). There might be mixed options already to get up this pitch. Also, the whole snow slab on the approach gully has come down, so there is no more avalanche hazard for the first pitch – at least until the next dump of snow.
We then went for Plan B after being denied on Capricorn only to find it in worse condition. The ”ice” was close to being snow on the right side. The climber’s left side was actually pretty good after some digging. A decent size avalanche has wiped out the approach gully on Plan B. I (Milan) would say that anything South-facing in this sector probably took a beating from the last week’s weather, but the ice is still standing and would only need a little bit of cold bite and overcast.
We finished the day on Old Dogs, New Picks. This climb was in awesome shape and still growing (avoid going too much on the right unless you need a shower).

Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road

I (Marc-Andre Leclerc) soloed Synchronicity, Synchrotron, and the upper pillar of Mother today (Sunday Jan 27). Synchronicity was in rad conditions; I took the first pitch of the upper tier on the left which was fun WI5 on wicked ice. The last few meters before the top involved a short vertical hollow tube that I was less than psyched on, but it worked out. Once I was back in the amphitheatre I blasted Synchrotron, which was great fun. The second step wasn’t fully in, but easy drytooling to the right got me around it no problem. Rapping off the top I noticed the back of the final pitch of Mother looked more reasonable for a solo than the front – less exposed at least haha. So I ran up that too and it was in beautiful conditions, finished by squeezing through a hole back onto the front side only to find myself at the top! The ice was heavily mushroomed but not overly strenuous, and what a RAD way to top out; I highly recommend this line.

Sunday Jan 27, we (Milan and Evelyne) spent on Rambles Right. Good ice all the way. We climbed The Column and the gully above it (Not The Ben). The Column is fat and solid and Not The Ben is… interesting. Be careful at the end of the upper pitch as some delaminated ice still stands there. The exit is a mix of turf/dirt/rock/root stuff.


  1. Evelyne, Milan, many thanks for the report. Will you please clarify that it was the approach pitch ice – – that was not climbable, not the pitches above? The pic from Jan 24th shows such a fat column – is it all gone? Any photos?

    Thank you,

  2. I pinged Milan, who sent me the following clarification:

    “Sorry no pictures, we forgot our camera.

    This was about the approach pitch. We did not try to make it further up. The left column from Jan 24th report would be climbable soon or even now (more in the shades). There was just missing a little more time to consolidate the base. The right pillar was the one problematic with running water underneath. The top of the pillar was still attached on the rock higher up, but there was a lot of running water undermining the ice/rock interface. I’m pretty sure this pitch can be bypassed to the left with some easy mixed climbing, but we were not optimistic enough to go see the upper pitches that were even more exposed to sun. We could still see the upper pitches from the road but did not see them during the approach. If anybody goes and finds good conditions, please update conditions. That looks like an awesome climb.”

  3. Another comment – this one from Marc-Andre:

    The ‘approach’ pitches to Capricorn people are referring to are actually Millar’s Pillar and A Four Dressed Up as a Six. These form very rarely so the approach for Capricorn avoids this basin on the left. Headed up there tomorrow will report what we find….

    • Thanks Marc, you rock, dude! Even on ice ;O)


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