Posted by: westcoastice | December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014 Ice Climbing Report (Thanks Lee and Peter)

Highway 99 North – Marble Canyon

Lee, Jeremy and Connor climbed at Marble on Sunday, finding much the same conditions as Francis described previously. On Icy BC, the 2nd pitch is hollow and open; not readily climbable. Deeping Wall was dripping wet, but still fun. Lots of pitches of top roping. Minus 5ºC in the morning. 2ºC Sunday afternoon at the truck. Very warm.

Highway 99 South – Lillooet and Duffey Lake Road

Peter Watson and Fran Roy tackled the Duffey on the weekend. Their report and pics:

Rambles Right was fun; we climbed The Column and the pitch above. We replaced anchor on top of The Column; the upper anchor was doing better. We also climbed Eagles Ears on the Upper Tier  (a Jia Condon mixed line that sometimes ices in, but otherwise goes at ~M7 or something like that). The main dihedral up Rambles Right is dry of ice and the second bolt hanger was missing, forcing a single bolt rap with a thread backup.

We went on to climb Loose Lady, which was in. I (Peter) didn’t make it to the top. Looking at the photo, I should have traversed right before the big overhanging mushroom below the top pillar. The approach gulley ice was falling apart and the approach WI3 pitch was part waterfall.

We climbed Cherry Ice on Saturday evening, finding wet conditions.

Other conditions on the Duffey (from Peter):

Synchronicity looked good and ice can be seen left of Synchronicity (see pics), as well as to right, directly above the bridge where you start the approach.
Carl’s Berg was lean looking, with wet and discontinuous chandeliers.
The Tube looked to be in, but was reported thin by someone we crossed paths with on the Duffey this weekend.


  1. I think us ice climbers need to revise our definition of what it means for an ice climb to be “in”. I always understood for a climb to be “in” its either been climbed successfully by the person posting or he knows/saw someone that climbed it with the recent conditions….without that knowledge the proposed route can only appear potentially climbable or not climbable…

    The post on loose lady is misleading, with the route falling down from warm temps and the top pitch not climbed it most certainly is not “in”…

  2. with the warm temps all of the ice might just fall down, the reason to post is to make people aware of what you could climb. the top pitch was in, it was just above my means and the approach gulley can be scrambled even with the missing ice.

  3. I’m all for posts that give information on conditions and I appreciate when you and other people provide this. Where I disagree with you is that a route is not “in” until it’s been climbed. You have no idea if 30+m above your high point the ice changes to watery chandelierd nastiness that won’t take screws, or rips tools , which would require time and temperatures to solidify. Therefore that route isn’t fully “in” yet… but it is potentially climbable.

  4. Hhary – as you point out yourself, “in” is completely dependent on the climber’s ability. Matt Maddaloni and Marc-Andre Leclerc send me reports of ice that they have climbed (and therefore is “in”), that I wouldn’t go near. Fragile icicle nightmares with almost no pro. But it’s within their skillset.

    I would argue that given the level of inspection Peter did, Loose Lady is definitely “in”.

    In this context, “in” means there is ice there. It’s up to you if you have the skills (and cojones) to get it done. Caveat emptor.


  5. Plus no where did I say that I was 30+ meters from the top of it. I was less than 15m to the top where we rapped out from with the ability to lean out and see all the way up the climb. This is my second time this high up the climb and the ice looked to be 100% more climbable then last year. The top pitch was the only pitch of the climb that looked to be withstanding the warm up

  6. I appreciate the feedback, and I don’t mean to make this long winded. I see Adrian’s point and I do think that for a route to be “in” is also fully dependent on the climbers abilities, and if they successfully complete the route then they verify that it is formed enough to climb. If no one is successful the route may still be formed up, it still might be potentially climbable but if no one climbs it then I don’t think it can be confirmed to be “in”. This fact remains true irregardless of other climbers having or having not the ability to repeat the climb in similar conditions. If Marc or Matt climb a bold line that others can’t follow I would still say the route is “in” based on their success.

    The reason I’m bringing this up is because way too many people pipe up on all sorts forums stating that this routes “in” and that routes “in” and they have no idea what they are taking about, are looking at the route from over a kilometer away, nor have they even touched the climb.

    I know Peter is an accomplished climber and to be honest he is definitely the most reliable individual at this time who could comment on Loose Lady (I also concede that his assessment of the upper pitch is probably correct and I don’t mean to take away from his strong attempt). But to keep things simple, unambiguous and consistent I don’t think people in general should state a route is “in” until they know its been climbed. That way nobody will have any preconceptions of a route being 100% climbable/doable when, for example in this worst case, someone uses a spotting scope/binoculars to look at a route which provides zero information on what the ice is actually like, other then the obvious that it has formed up substantially enough to be able to spot from a distance.

    Maybe this will spur more discussion and we may agree to disagree and that’s okay, but if in the end it only helps other to take more consideration toward how they comment on observations then that’s also a step in the right direction.

  7. Cheers Harry, thanks for the thoughts. I haven’t been back up that way since then but given the forecast and past temps since that time I could guarantee it not to be in. But in following the coastal ice for the past 20years I can say that most minor weeps are solid enough to climb after 3 days of below freezing weather and usually fully leasable after 6days. The point is there is ice/ dry tooling to climb on the “Coast” most of the winter! It’s just always the same stuff after enough time! Unless we get a sustained arctic outflow and we had previous wet conditions, then all sorts of gems appear!


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