Posted by: westcoastice | January 19, 2018

January 19, 2018 Ice Climbing Report

The last few days have brought a lot of precipitation, both rain and snow, in BC. The Duffey was closed for a time yesterday (Jan 18) due to heavy snow and avalanche conditions. So please consider avalanche conditions & risk if you are going out there. Combined with warmer temperatures, most areas are showing Considerable risk at all levels of the alpine. Choose your lines carefully and check

Highway 95 – Kootenay Highway

(Adrian Burke) Not technically West Coast, but still in BC, I climbed Gibraltar Wall with Connor Brown last Friday (Jan 12). Connor chose the hardest line on the wall, ending up at about WI4+/5- in difficulty (over 3 pitches). The first pitch was WI3, wet and plastic. The second and third pitches chandeliered and steep, making protection challenging and the climbing pumpy (WI4+/5-). Gibraltar Wall is 27 kilometres down the Kootenay Forest Government Road / Settler’s Road, East of Canal Flats, BC. You can find it in the Canadian Rockies guidebooks.


Connor leading a free-standing column of ice on the Gibraltar Wall (Adrian Burke)

Highway 40 – Bridge River Canyon

(Don Serl) It seems like this is turning into a fine ice season, with plenty of possibilities. As I’m no longer active and therefore have no need for ‘secrets’, I thought I’d toss this one into the mix. The Gift is one of the finest lines within the West Coast Ice area, but because the huge first pitch almost never forms ( or even touches down), I think it’s had only 2 ( or 3?) ascents in the two decades since Lyle and I snagged it. That’s a shame… but I suspect there’s a ‘work-around’. There is a huge ledge system that leads in from the left, thereby avoiding the first pitch. This ledge carries a few trees, which I reckon could be used for belays and/or pro, and while it’s hard to tell from a distance, I sorta thought that one could scrabble across it up near the wall above, probably even getting bits of pro there too. Four or five great pitches await above… Just a thought…


The area, circled, of the ledges alternative to climbing pitch 1 of The Gift (Don Serl)

(Carolyn Graham with Jennifer E. Carter) Conditions update from Sunday 01/14/2017 (Bridge River area): Good (but wet) climbing conditions on the central line on Cedarvale Falls (WI2). There is still open water on the right and left sides. Just down the road, we tried to find the climb located at the Falls Creek bridge. We hunted around on both sides and under the bridge, but did not see any terrain that looked like WI. Has anyone ever located or climbed Falls Creek (WI2)? A bit further down the road we located the route Bighorn Creek (WI2) – this route is mostly formed, but not quite in.

Highway 99 North – Marble Canyon & Oregon Jack

CROWD WARNING: Jeremy noted that they are “gonna pack our umbrellas and take another BCMC course up this weekend. Oregon Jack Saturday (Jan 20). 2 top ropes all day, but we can make way for people to play through. Sunday TBD. Wish us luck.


Highway 1 – Spences Bridge

(Carolyn Graham with Jennifer E. Carter) Conditions update Tuesday 01/16/20018: Climbed Private Idaho near Spences Bridge. Car thermometer said 37ºF (3ºC) where we parked at the pullout for the trestle crossing. Departed the old railroad bed between 2 streams (as shown on Gaia) and before a cattle gate (and associated barbed wire). Followed tracks in the snow toward a narrow rocky outcrop above and to climbers right. Scrambled the first 15′ ice step. Keychain thermometer said it was ~32ºF  (0ºC) in this shady slot between the rock. Route is in decent condition (and was dry), WI3, with a full value top-off to a tree anchor. Uppermost step sounded hollow and had water flowing behind, requiring delicate climbing. Heavy rain started 20 min after we were back at the car and headed down the road. Rain continued all the way to Hope.


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