Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road
I (Sean) climbed Belmore Gully on Saturday(Jan 4) with partner, and shared the route with another party. We forded the river at the base of the route on arrival, not noticing the tenuous ice bridge about 20m upstream that the other party found… you can guess which way we left at the end of the day. The route was in great shape, with lots of good ice, little snow, and only a few small open holes with water that were easily avoided. We descended with a combination of raps from slung shrubs and v-threads, and a walk-off on the bottom third of the climb. Great day! Some pics from the road below.
Isodorth Gully also appears to be in, as observed from road (pic below).
Note added (Jan 8) about Avalanche Conditions – Up to now, there has been almost no snow in the bowl above Belmore (or Isodorth). But as I look outside today, it is raining like crazy in Vancouver. Friday’s forecast calls for almost 70mm of rain in Vancouver!! So how much is that up on the Duffey, converted to snow? It is dryer up there, but it’s best to find a reliable source for avalanche conditions on the Duffey before heading out.
It’s definitely getting worse – http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest/south-coast
Highway 99 South – Pemberton/Whistler/Squamish
Not a good story for these lower elevations…
The Plum – Second pitch might go, but looked pretty thin and wet. Upper pitches looked fine. Through binocs, the first pitch looked very translucently thin and had multiple channels of running water, top to bottom more or less. The picture (below) does not do justice to the misery. It was -5°C at the time, too 😦 If it warms up much, I suspect the first pitch is at risk of collapsing.
White Blotter fall down go boom.
Politically Correct Valentine – Upper pitches not in. Lower pitches look (photo below) like there might be a line to the left. Don’t be fooled. Through binoculars you’d have to levitate up a thin tendril of poorly supported and totally detached ice for a few metres, with running water underneath it, just to reach the slushy icicles. The right side is totally thin and discontinuous, despite how it looks here.
Mystery Roach Hotel. Or Cal Cheak. Or Entropy. Or the Suicide Bluffs. Or Blue Moon on Rye. Or Roadside Attraction. Whatever. It’s all the same garbage. Though those are better than either of the Giblets, or Fig Pluckers, or Candlewax.
Washington – Mount Baker
Brian sent in this condition report for Pan Dome Falls at Mt Baker. It’s currently a two-tier climb. There is a nice fat bulge of ice on the lower tier, in great condition. It’s clean and solid. Above that is some snow-covered ice and a short step to the base of the upper tier. Screwing your own anchor at the base of that tier makes for a good top-ropable 25m section below. The upper tier has a cave in the middle that is pretty thin around the edges. We heard a large crack when we were climbing too close to the cave, so we moved left. Others moved right. On the left, we had to knock off thin snow-frosted ice to get to the good ice below. It was not kicked out at all last weekend, but it saw several roped parties. The sun does not reach this cliff at all, so it should stay in unless it warms up a lot. Stage gear and belays off to the left to avoid ice and snow fall. A ski patrol came by and said that they no longer permit climbers to walk across the upper slope because it’s a closed area. But not everyone got the news. We saw tracks up there as we skied on Sunday. The lower section feels like WI3, and the upper definitely rates WI4. Pics below.