Posted by: westcoastice | January 24, 2018

January 24, 2018 Ice Climbing Report

Highway 40 – Bridge River Canyon

(Peter Watson) Played some roulette today (Jan 19) and won. Got Bitcoin Billionaire’s 3rd ascent. Thanks @brentnixon for the quality outing.. Temps around the Bridge dropped briefly below 0ºC today. If things don’t cool down lots of lines are going to disappear.
*all routes need to heal with cold
Capricorn in
Four Dressed Up as a Six / Millar’s Pillar area all looking in
Old Dogs, New Picks in. Upper pitches if healed are well formed
SteriStrip ???
New route to left ???
House of Cards not in
Silk Degrees not in
Silk Worm in
Salmon Stakes in
Bitcoin Billionaire in
New Leash On Life looks in
The Gift is huge and wet looking
The Theft is not touching down on either tier (both tiers have bolts, so mixed variation may go??)
Little Sumthin Sumthin looks good
Stoner Falls in
Shriek of Sheep in
Black Bird in
Night N’ Gale in
Lots of other ice could be good around Terzaghi Dam if it cools down

(Henrik Hinkkala) Climbed Capricorn today (Jan 20) with Graham Rowbotham and Hunter Lee, to the top. The very last pitch was a rambly WI2/2+ to a tree with red webbing that we left behind. Definitely getting warm, +5ºC at the truck when we returned. Hopefully it cools down. Most routes in the Bridge River Canyon lower down were struggling. Crux pitch on Capricorn was raining water on the right side, otherwise it was solid. Felt like spring ice climbing in the Rockies.

For the approach, we went straight to the Millar Pillar area (climbs were quite wet and chandeliered). We headed up and right into the very next gully/slope and went up until we were maybe 60m from being cliffed out, then we traversed leftward, following faint tracks from Doug and Wayne (thanks for your guys approach info!).

Notes on approach, I tried this last year when the ground was frozen with a few inches of low density snow. It was brutal, ankle twisting and we got lost up the left side. It was also much more hazardous since a fall would send you quite a long way down the frozen scree slopes. Today, we had about a foot of heavy snow which made the walk up an absolute breeze, night and day compared to my last attempt. In my opinion having decent snow cover is a significant factor in making the approach we did viable.

Some gps coordinates, take these with a grain of salt since they are from my phone app, and I haven’t double checked them…

Parking/start 50.845069,-122.214176
Start of the traverse (approaching from right side of Millar Pillar area) 50.846331,-122.213985
First pitch of Capricorn 50.846086,-122.218207



Highway 99 North – Marble Canyon & Oregon Jack

(Henrik Hinkkala) Conditions on Oregon Jack today (Jan 19). It seemed like it would have been wet, but we found a dry line to the top, on the left. Really funky fun climbing. The top had some delicate moves to avoid busting into the hose, but it all turned out nice.



Crowd Warning: (Nick Hindley) VOC group of ~15 will be up at Marble Canyon for February long weekend (Feb 10-12th). Happy to share ropes and space around the fire, but expect guppies learning to climb on the lower tier. Thanks for the tolerance!

(Jeremy Thom) Marble Canyon on Sunday (Jan 21) was fat and plastic. There were soaking wet dripping lines, and several mostly dry lines. It was about 3ºC at the car at 9:00am, warmed up from there, and then down to about 1ºC by 4:30pm. Assuming the temps do drop a bit as forecast, it’s going to remain in great shape. We stayed on the lower tier, but most of the mixed lines down there (especially No Deductible) had loads of thin ice and looked super fun. Icy BC had a host of awful, brittle, fragile-looking mushrooms in the top 1/3 that looked as if you’d be knocking big chunks off if you tried to climb them, so we stayed on the lower half. There’s a v-thread on the right in the mid-height alcove. After the top of the pitch solidifies again, if anyone rapping from the top would like to clean up my litter, I’d be grateful.

Ran into Gary Brace who had been working his latest M-hard on the second tier and he reported that tier to be in generally good shape. I believe he said Body Shop looked great, if memory serves. 2nd Pitch of Icy BC was thin but in. 3rd pitch had big holes visible from the road and was not in.

Just another friendly reminder, for people who haven’t been there, that the trees at the top of the first tier should all be considered suspect (see the burn/char all over lots of them). There is a reason there is a spiderweb of cord up there linking many of them together. Bring lots and lots of extra cord with you and don’t rely on just one, no matter how big it looks. Or better yet, lead and build an ice anchor, then clean it from above and walk off. And I’ve never actually played on the second tier and don’t know the anchor situation there, but if there are trees, I’m sure the same caution applies.

Thanks to all the other parties there throughout the day – there were enough of us there to turn it into a circus, but everyone there climbed harmoniously. And thanks for tolerating my continual stream of shouting at my students! Great climbing with all of you.


First pitch of Icy BC (Jeremy Thom)

Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road

(Matteo Agnoloni) A group of us climbed Synchronicity on Saturday (Jan 20). More or less fat and in decent condition. The flat sections of the lower tier have thin ice and small open holes. Mid and upper tier were thick, but with very sun affected ice. The top out of the upper tier was a tad spicy; less than inspiring ice transitioning to non-existent ice.

When rappelling the second tier from the lowest tree anchor, we just barely touched down with 60m ropes plus stretch. If the snow continues to melt, you may find yourself taking a 12 inch leap-of-faith off your ropes.



(Jeremy Thom) Carl’s Berg was very wet, but reasonable looking today (Jan 20). We just TR’d the low angle apron at the bottom, but a central line would go at tricky, delicate, mushroomy, unconsolidated, chandeliery WI5. It was +3ºC at 9:00am, +1ºC at 5:00pm. Was well warmer than that during the day. Little bits of icicles came down, but otherwise it seemed solid. There are big holes at the top though, and I doubt it’ll last long if it stays this warm. And much warmer than today and I’d stay away.


Carl’s Berg over the weekend (Jeremy Thom)

(Eric Bowes) We went to Rambles Center Saturday (Jan 20) and Rambles Right today (Jan 21). Ice on that side of the valley was better than the stuff on the Carl’s Berg side. No rockfall at all, despite the warmer temperatures. It was hovering around 0ºC, I think. It was snowing up there, but raining at the base of the first pitch. Rambles Center was in good shape, top of P1 was a bit hollow/thin, but the upper tier was great and mostly dry. Rambles Right was wet, but fat. Dihedral in corner was still in, and the pillar on the left looked rad and dry, but sadly I wasn’t up for leading it. Photos: Justin Krawetz
(Robert Rogoz) Eagles Ears and Public Service have more ice then usual (at Rambles Right). Both are vey good routes and someone should climb these rigs. Public Service has a couple of bolts on the bottom, but will require some cams. Eagles Ears has bolts all the way, but looks some of them might be covered with ice. Eagles Ears looks like an easy tick this year- basically an ice climb with bolts.



(Ryan Larkin) Made it to the top of Shreddie on a warm and very wet day (Jan 21). The route was spicy at times, but didn’t feel crazy hard, ended up doing a half corkscrew on the pillar by attacking it from the backside then through the nick named “birthing hole” and up to a reasonable tight belay halfway up the route. The ice was chandeliered and steep, but fun nonetheless. Climbers: Ryan Larkin & Chris Elliot. Photo: Alex Ratson – Instagram @aratson

(Eric Hughes) Went for a quick Duffey road tour (Jan 23) with ice connoisseur Jean-Marc Savoie. Did a lap on Shreddie and Closet Secrets. Both are in great shape.
Shreddie: The ice has consoldated into good plastic ice with the flow pushing left so the climb is dryer. Two bolts are not covered and the mushrooms kept the steepness in check. Its one amazing 40m pitch from the cave to the top. Go get it as this rarely forms this fat.
Closet Secrets: Is wet, but protectable with screws the whole way. (Take a red) Jean-Marc upgraded the anchor tat on both. Currently in WI4 condition.



Highway 5 – Coquihalla (and Canadian Rockies)

(Wes Dyck) Dan Canton and I climbed 4 days starting with only the first pitch of Grim Reaper in Box Canyon on January 13. Conditions were very wet with thigh-deep, wet powder snow on all low angle sections.The trail to Grim Reaper was punched in on Sat. January 13.
We climbed Moonlight in K-country on Monday, January 15. On Tuesday and Wednesday we climbed Nothing but the Breast and Kitty Hawk in David Thompson Highway. This is the dry zone and therefore very low avy conditions. Temperatures were a comfortable -3 to -5ºC all three days. Very dry compared to coast standards! The ice was fat especially for Kitty Hawk this year, according to our very helpful Banff N.P. safety specialist. Thanks Conrad! The Rockies continues to be a stable, dry, location that never dissapoints. Get out there if you can swing it! Pun intended.




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