Posted by: westcoastice | December 21, 2016

December 21, 2016 Ice Climbing Report

Drew Brayshaw discussed weather, temperature and their local variability extensively on our Facebook Group today. Short story, warming temps mean a change in conditions. His summarizing paragraph and follow-on comment below:

What that data, all combined, tells me (Drew) is that if I’m planning in climbing around Lillooet today, I want to be on a north-ish facing slope at moderate or high elevation to find the coldest conditions and not get soaked or hit by collapsing high-volume waterfall ice chunks. So Marble Canyon, Rambles, Salmon Stakes, Carl’s Berg, or even maybe Night N Gale (assuming avalanche conditions permit) might be good destinations today. Honeyman, Old Dogs, or Texas Creek not so much.

Some lines, like Rambles and Closet Secrets, and especially lines fed by snowmelt like the Bullock/Amelunxen or Last Call, get fatter when it’s warm like this in the day, especially if it freezes at night and the night is longer than the day. The repeated pulses of wetness just build up ice as they freeze each night. Warm temperatures are most damaging to high-volume flows – things like Honeyman or Hell Creek Falls – because they get melted from both directions – from inside by warm water and from outside by warm air.

Highway 99 North – Marble Canyon

Lee Purvis and Francis St-Pierre were at Marble on Tue (Dec 19) and Icy BC was changing rapidly from hard and brittle to wetter and flowing (+4ºC High in Lillooet that day). Yesterday (Dec 20) was +10ºC High and tonight is +9ºC at 8pm… colder in Pemberton. Probably would be wise to have a Plan B (Rambles?). 

Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road

Lee Purvis and Francis St-Pierre went by Carl’s Berg Monday (Dec 19). Looked like no one had been on it since last snow (several days). Seemed climbable (see photo) but a bit more than wanted for us today. Went to Rambles Center instead. Good ice and quite fat except upper curtain that was variable (far left very thin). Everyone must be busy skiing… apparently only 1 party at Rambles Saturday and only one other party of 2 plus us today. No one on Rambles Left or Right!!! Rambles Center was in good shape on Dec 18 with mixture of plastic and brittle.

Ilia Slobodov climbed Rambles Central on Saturday Dec 17. All 3 pitches were in great condition. Super fun! See the pics below.

Highway 99 South – Whistler/Pemberton

Stephen Wright reported on Dec 19 that The Plum was fat. We (Stephen and co.) climbed first three pitches only (slow – I’m a newbie, 3-man team).
Avi risk low to this point. LH line on 1st (WI3) and 3rd (stiff WI4?). Decent tight belay ledge near cave on waterfall #3 if climbing on 50’s/60m’s

Robert Rogoz and Fern Webb checked out the climbs North of Whistler today (Dec 21). Warm day. Blue Moon is no longer in climbing shape (apparently was much better looking on Saturday). Nocturnal Emission was in, but was falling apart by noon.

Wife and I (Jean-Marc Savoie) hit Cal Chek today (Dec 21). Ice had warmed up since last there and is now plastic like Rockies ice in March. No need to worry doesn’t seem like the warm temps did a tone of damage. Both anchors in good conditions with perma biners and trail is packed in. Get it while it’s still here.

Brandywine Falls 80m WI6,M9,M10 FA Tim Emmett & Jamie Finlayson Dec 17, 2016
FA Brandywine Falls from the bottom to the top yesterday (Dec 17), with Jamie Finlayson. It’s spectacular and a very memorable adventure 🙂 80m WI6,M9,M10
Belay in small cave on right to protect from spray. Wet! First pitch is pure spray ice with funky hollow tubes, not hard but serious (more like WI5 but technical). Pitch 2 and 3 are bolted. Abseil in recommended, hard to O/S.

Highway 99 South – Squamish

(Dec 16, 2016) Jia Condon and Brent Phillips climbed the first obvious ice line at the upper Pet Wall (Murrin Park). I believe it follows the summer climb Czech It Out. Mainly stubbies with the potential for one or two 15/17 screws. Slightly delaminated at the top but great hooks in a finger crack to the anchor. We replaced the old, rusty quarter inch bolts with stainless. Of note this climb is a.m. shade p.m. sun. We witnessed the climbs to the left staring to fall down after 1pm.

Alex Ratson went for a true Squamonix adventure on Dec 20 with Jean-Marc Savoie and Ryan Larkin. After excessive bush bashing the day before, we opted to ride the Gondola up and rap in and bag A Scottish Tale before things totally warm up. Things were in great shape making the climbing quite enjoyable.
We left two fixed anchors for the raps if your approaching via the gondola. On top of these two stations we also had one V thread. This approach was much nicer then the bush bash in via the book’s beta that we did the day previous.

Dick In A Box 25m WI3 FA Dec 17, 2016 Matteo Agnoloni and Artem Bylinskii
Matteo Agnoloni and Artem Bylinskii crossed the Squamish River this past Saturday (Dec 17) in hopes of finding a frozen Box Canyon. The most frozen bit was the river itself. Did nab a consolation FA of a random flow just looker’s left of the canyon. Monmouth was coming in nicely, but would need another week of cold temps or so. Many gaps all over the place and quite snowy. Probably will mostly come down with the warm spell.

Highway 1 – Hope

The Gizzardgulper 70m M8 WI4+ FA Dec 19, 2016 Marc-André Leclerc
Park and approach as for Janice Ales just west of the Peters Road exit between Bridal Falls and Hope. Highway #1. The Gizzardgulper is the most obvious line on the wall above the highway, and climbs the large dagger that never touches down about 100m east of the Janice Ales flow.
The first pitch is a 30m WI3 with some fun mushrooms formed by the drip hanging above. Belay at a one bolt one nut station slightly to the right of the large dagger.
P2 traverses left to a hanging icicle seeping from a horizontal crack. One fixed knifeblafe and one bolt protect the moves gaining this icicle, and from its top bouldery dry tooling moves on dubious holds gain the ice (one more kb and three more bolts)
Once the dagger has been gained, one further fixed angle in the rock can be clipped to the left before transitioning to the front of the dagger and easier flow ice above. The final fixed angle protects the leader in the event of the dagger snapping.
Double ropes are helpful on the crux pitch.
Rappel from abolokovs.

Jeff Aslan and company got on Jet Lag on Dec 18. The parking and approach were the crux. The climb itself was mostly in great shape. Pitches 1-2 were solid blue ice with great sticks. We took the far left line, heading up over a pillar on pitch 2. We broke through in a couple spots on pitch 3 and ended up backing off. The Cure was also looking good.
We parked off the highway in the pipeline access road and came back to find that our car had been towed leaving us stranded. We were informed that when it’s snowing, no parking is allowed on the highway, even if the vehicle is fully pulled off the road. Calling ahead to the highway patrol, leaving a note and/or Canadian license plates may increase your chances of not getting towed, but no guarantees.

Highway 97 – Enderby Cliffs

Sebastian Taborszky and Maarten van Haeren made an attempt on Mythologic in Enderby on Friday (Dec 16). Despite the -12C temps overnight, there was an enormous amount of tension in the ice: the lower WI4 pillar settled 3 times while I was leading it. Made the decision to go down pretty quick and easy after trying the next pitch with all the hang-fire overhead. Probably slightly harder than the grade, but the route is all there. Features look hard but climbable, just not when it’s fracturing.

For those keen on exploration, you might want to shelve any mixed climbing expectations: Enderby Cliffs makes Yamnuska look like the Chief, biggest pile of vertical dirt I ever saw.

Mount Baker – Washington

Kyle Breakey reported (on Dec 18) that… Pan Dome Falls is in the best shape I’ve seen in a few years, but keep in mind the ski area doesn’t permit approaching from above anymore. There are several other flows in the greater Shuksan Arm area that seldom form currently looking quite fat. Adventure on.


Pan Dome Falls (Kyle Breakey)


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