Posted by: westcoastice | January 4, 2017

January 4, 2017 Ice Climbing Report

Highway 97 – Enderby Cliffs

Scott Wilson and  Jedrzej Jablonski climbed Mythologic (WI6 – 140m) yesterday (Jan 3) and found: “Pretty wild thing you got there in your backyard! Had a great day. It’s all there. Crux pitch was unpicked, pretty much unprotect able and brittle. Crux was sustained 15m maybe a bit more. I did place one screw during the crux but was not confident in it. It did feel better to look at it when I was above it even if it was only mental gear. Generally pro was good on the rest of the climb.”

(Lyle Knight) Rockies climbers are getting on it, although tough choice when the Coast is pretty much going off right now. That said, The Gift and The Theft aren’t in … Google Earth puts Enderby a half hour closer to Vancouver than the Terzaghi Dam and the approach is flagged and brushed at a moderate 1:40 approach.

Another guide who got on it in December notes, “It’s one of the best ice routes I’ve climbed in 22 years of ice climbing.” Think about it, it’s only getting better!

Highway 40 – Bridge River Canyon

Old Dogs, New Picks is in (see pic below)
Steristrip is forming/in. Only bolt visible is in the dark stain midway between the two sets of icicles (see pic).
Capricorn and Plan B have formed.
Millar’s Pillar is in great shape, two separate columns have touched down. Climbed both, WI5 and WI5++. Also Like a Rocket and A Four Dressed up as Six is very fat, see picture.

(Drew Brayshaw) I took a bunch of pictures of Bridge River climbs last year, but Taikonaut was hidden in cloud all day. Managed to get good photos this time around. Approach and details included in the pictures below.


Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road

(Eric Bites) Riley Thrillington and I climbed Synchronicity today (Jan 2). Approach was fun with the cable crossing, but a bit of a pain hiking up the gully: about a foot or more of snow but all light powder just covering the loose talus. Made for a rough hike in.

Lower pitch was rotten and thin, short P2 was beautiful but a tad wet, main WI3 flow was soaking and almost slushy, final tier was fat and only a bit wet. Lots of snow on route made for some onion skin. All in all a fun day.

(Alex Ratson) Got on Loose Lady with Ryan Larkin Sunday (Jan 1). Things were pretty dynamic through the day as temps were dropping. Ended up cutting things short on chandeliered ice but none the less was worth the short approach. In hindsight after rapping, we think we spotted a line of less resistance that would have gone.

Highway 99 South – Squamish, Whistler & Pemberton

(Bruce Kay) Heads up for Squamish: Rainy Day Woman on the Bulletheads is in. 3 pitches, usually runout on thin ice, finishing with a very narrow goulette in a corner. Sometimes the first pitch (Blackbook) is well protected by numerous finger size cams / nuts but not always.

(Jeremy Thom) Next Saturday, January 7, I will have 3 ropes up at Cal Cheak for a BCMC intro to ice course. There will be some coaching (loud yelling) going on. There will be ice falling. Be warned. And don’t worry, I was up there a few days ago and there is plenty of ice to withstand beginners practicing their swings. It’s already a pegboard anyways.

(Kat Voyer) On January 2, Kat and Tom broke trail into Entropy. Knee to waist deep travel made for hard going, but only took about 1hr to 1.5hr. The trail is beaten pretty good now until next snow fall. The climb is in great shape, good sunny exposure and did it in two pitches, 35m and 70m respectively. Usual thin top out with lots of snow. The descent was quick and fast with good snow cover and one quick rap off a small tree (no sling) at the bottom of the gully. Pic below.

Other Approach Notes for Entropy: (Fern Webb) Walk along the tracks until over the bridge. walk into forest towards the climb. Stay in the forest to the right to avoid the yucky talus field under the climb. Carry your packs up and over if you want the mostly walk-off descent down the gully on lookers left side of the wall.
(Riley Thrillington)Bites and I drove past the intended parking a few days ago. If you plan to park at the tracks, you’ll probably need shovels to dig out a parking space.

Other updates from Jeremy Thom (Jan 2):

Roadside Attraction looked fine, but we only had a quick glimpse.
There is lots of ice at Suicide Bluffs, but we didn’t get a good look at it all.
There is basically no ice at all on Blue Moon on Rye.
Fig Plucker looked good (left of Entropy).
Politically Correct Valentine looked lean but probably in. No promises. The low angle stuff higher up looked mostly snow covered.
The Falls (??) directly West, across the valley from The Plum looks great.

Frank Whittaker and I (Jeremy Thom) climbed White Blotter Monday (Jan 2). It’s harder than it looks, standing below it; despite the obvious inviting groove and the illusion that it eases off as you get higher. It deserves the “sandbag” moniker from the guidebook; I hung on several screws to rest. The ice was mostly OK. Quite aerated and chandeliered in places, sun-rotted in others (it seems to be rotting pretty fast – get on it soon!), very brittle/fracturing/hollow in others (especially the top pitch), but adequate protection.  The top out involves a very thin hollow tube with water running underneath, with solid enough ice on the right. We climbed it on the right.  Everything to the left is basically huge hanging daggers.

We couldn’t find any rap anchors at the top so we placed a single red sling with no hardware around a small tree, about 5 m into the forest over the lip. I’d (Jeremy) recommend taking more tat along than we had, picking a bigger tree (the rap line from our tree was about perfect), doubling up the webbing, and leaving some rap rings. Or is there a walk-off?  We couldn’t figure out how people had been getting down from the top.

(Jeremy Thom) On Sunday, January 8, the BCMC group will most likely descend on the first pitch of The Plum for our ice climbing clinic (6-7 climbers). We’ll just be TR’ing, so it would be no problem for anyone who wanted to “play through” to the upper tiers.

Hilary Matheson, Carl Reilly and I (Jeremy Them) climbed the first two tiers of The Plum last Friday (Dec 30). It’s huge and fat. Quite drippy and wet in many places, and snow covered. In combination, it made for a layer of surface crud that had to be cleaned. The second tier is in the easiest condition I’ve ever seen it. WI3+ at most. (Though we only made it to the top of the steep stuff, we set up a TR, and then descended after). Photo of second tier below.

On Monday (Jan 2), Dan Canton and I (Wes Dyck) were beat by a very efficient group of 3 to the base of The Plum. We followed them up to the base of the last ice and then bailed due to time. Snow was deep and temps. Were -15ºC the whole day. All ice was in and the WI4 pitch was worth the trip out there in itself. The last pitch looked easier than normal, but was still quite challenging according to Mike Burke, who led it. Thanks to Mike and company for finding an ice tool that was dropped at the beginning of the trail down. I hope all west coast climbers are as sore and happy as we are with these cold conditions we have been blessed with. More pics of The Plum below.

Highway 1 – Hope & Fraser Canyon

Fairley/Redekop 1981 route – Silvertip Mountain Area, South of Hope – (Matt Kidd) This one is from a couple of years ago in the November cold snap of 2014. Headed up there with Nickolas Grabovac. Approach as for Zero Gulley but stop at gravel bar beside what I think is the north side of Silvertip Mountain. This basin had a LOT of ice in it at the time we climbed. It is very much a low snow area as most of the routes drain big avy slopes above. But early season there are lots of lines to do including what I think would be a better variation of what we did if conditions were similar. 

Approach via obvious creek bed until in avy debris, and then bash up through scrub until at the base .
P1-2 Steppy Grade 2 ish, (120m I think, but best soloed by capable parties)
P3 45m Grade 3/3+
P4 Grade 2 ramble to base of pillar
P5 30m Grade 3 pillar
P6 60m Steppy Grade 3- (First potential to turn right here, was not touching. If down looked like would be a short, steep grade 4)
P7 60m Grade 2
P8 60m Grade 2 with maybe some easy grade 3

We resorted to hip belays by the end… our ropes were so frozen we couldn’t get them through the belay devices. Much of the route would be best soloed, but was not appropriate for our party. We climbed left at each of two options until it petered out on grade 2 terrain. Reviewing the photos it looks as if it would have been better to climb right at the second possibility, which would have made for likely 3 more interesting pitches. Our raps were frozen in at each pitch and at the end were stuck beyond retrieval. Both of us have jobs and families and abandoned half a rope for the first time in my life.

Highway 5 – Coquihalla

(Wes Dyck) On Jan 1, Alan Trick and I got started on our New Year’s Resolutions and punched a trail into Box Canyon about ¾ of the way to the end of the Canyon. Deep powder snow prevented us from going further after about 3 hrs. Climbs were not as appetizing as hoped so we did not do any climbing, but I  am still optimistic that Scotch on the Rocks and Engage would be good. Brent Nixon and party, who we met on the way out was hoping to go in and climb the next day. Pics below.

(Brent Nixon) We climbed awesome ice on Emerald Wall (pic below). No idea what it’s called. The track is laid all the way in there. Use snowshoes. Takes 45-60mins to reach Grim Reaper – easy peasy. Parking is plowed with a break in the meridian to access it when heading north.


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