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.

NEW ROUTE
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.

NEW ROUTE
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

NEW ROUTE
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_21dec16

Pan Dome Falls (Kyle Breakey)

Posted by: westcoastice | December 16, 2016

December 16, 2016 Ice Climbing Report

Highway 99 South – Pemberton & Whistler

The Plum (Eric Hughes & Sean Draper, inc pics) is in, good to go. The approach, as of Monday morning, had pretty thin snow cover over ice making travel tedious and treacherous. Took about an hour from the car, following a sparse line of neon orange flagging. Pictures of all pitches below. Last pitch felt like a west coast chandaliered 5… but better than last time, no mushroom at the top. Last anchor needs some love.
White Blotter has touched down… just (see pic).

Entropy in Soo Bluffs is in really good shape. Me (Mike Gallimore) and Bradley Ransom climbed it yesterday in 4 pitches as we only took 5 screws. Brad’s first ice climb, top effort! Was an amazing adventure for both of us. Looking forward to doing more BC ice this week.

(Matt Kennedy – Dec 15) Sometimes you’ve gotta bail… We bailed from Entropy about half way up when some ice bombs came down on us. Other than that, the ice was in great shape (if maybe a bit wet in the sun). I dropped my v-threader while messing with the tat, and we had to leave behind some gear. If you feel some kindness, we’ll give a 24 of your beer choice if you return our anchor. Otherwise, let the booty race begin…

Highway 99 South – Squamish & Cal Chek

Kris Wild & Fern Webb got in a little winter sports action near Shannon Falls on Thursday. Approach pitch on the left to Lorelai looked reasonable, except for the 5m we couldn’t see from the bottom… Lorelai itself was quite wet from the drips off the steep left wall, but climbed quickly. The gully above was startlingly devoid of ice and thick moss. Lots of scratchy stemming. Two 35m raps back to the base of Lorelai, then another 35m over the roofs to the base of the falls.

(Alex Ratson) Shannon Falls is still far from being in (pic). While at the base a moderate size ice dam broke releasing more flow… might be cold but the solar effect is having its toll.

Alex Ratson (with Ryan Larkin & Kenzie Ann) were up at Cal Chek Thursday (Dec 15) where the ice was in real good FAT form. Worth the stop for sure. Pics below.

Highway 1 – Hope & Fraser Canyon

Noah Been and I (Matt Kennedy) abandoned an attempt on Cruel Pools (Dec 15) when I broke through into the creek below the first flow. The gully to climber’s right also had some sketchy holes, and we didn’t make it far up. Deep powder with no base made for tricky and treacherous travel. We bailed and climbed the first two pitches of Mousetrap with our remaining daylight.

Marc-André Leclerc established some new routes over the week at Superheroes Cirque to the right of Mr. Freeze. See the topo image below. The lines are longer than they appear in the photo.

NEW ROUTE
Antifreeze M6- 30m FA Marc-André Leclerc and Tim Nielsen Dec 14, 2016
Climb a thin ice smear right of Mr. Freeze, then climb left through an overlap using a small frozen tree to reach the ice of Mr. Freeze.

NEW ROUTE
Venom
WI6+ 35m FA Marc-André Leclerc and Tim Nielsen Dec 14, 2016
The steep yellow pillar 20m right of Mr. Freeze. Somewhat fragile and bold, the upper 12m are about as technically interesting as pure waterfall ice gets! This is a super sick line.

NEW ROUTE
Dr. Octopus WI7+ (M?) 35m FA Marc-André Leclerc and Tim Nielsen Dec 14, 2016
Unsure of how to grade Dr. Octopus. There are two moves on rock, but it is hardly a dry tool line. I think a water ice grade is more applicable although protection is mostly in the rock (fixed KB, one bolt and cams to #1). All the hard climbing is on ice. The two rock moves are not so hard. M4 traverse to the daggers. Most M routes seem to involve substantial dry tooling with easier ice. It’s no big deal; M7 is also fine. I hope someone tries it this weekend it’s sick.

We also climbed Mr. Freeze which is in excellent shape!

(Peter Watson) Today (Dec 14) we climbed Where is Ultrawoman with Chuck Norris variation to the pillar.. as I was not stoked on the main climb’s shape after attempting to lead it and down climbing after no good gear could be found. Chuck Norris is a fun variation only brought 2 beaks with me and used them both (yellow or blue tcu and a number 2 would give you some gear for the dry tooling around the chock stone). Made a belay under the chock stone by slinging it. M6 R is a good rating to the variation. Lots of snow on route made it feel like a small alpine outing. Lots of rotten ice with water running.

Posted by: westcoastice | December 14, 2016

December 14, 2016 Ice Climbing Report

General Question – is everyone pretty much using the Facebook Group now?
Should I keep doing the website version? No-one emailed me any reports this week, but lots of posts on Facebook. Let me know 🙂

Highway 40 – Lillooet & Bridge River Canyon

Cherry Ice is in (see pic from Maw Mawperson on FB).
Maw and company also explored Texas Creek Rd and Texas Creek FSR over the weekend. We found climbable ice in Lillooet and on Texas Creek Rd. If you figure out where we went, make sure you get permission from land owners to cross private property (pics).

Peter Watson explored the Canyon (Dec 9), reporting early season conditions for the most part, including no show, making approaches less friendly.
Salmon Stakes looked in but terrible approach with now snow (?)
Old Dogs, New Picks is in
Steri Strip still needs more days
Capricorn is in (see pic) but thin and unconsolidated in the final 10m
Plan B was in and climbed
4 Dressed Up as a 6, Like a Rocket and Millar’s Pillar look to be forming, but chandeliered
Nite n’ Gale‘s upper tier is not fully formed all the way across (pic)
The Gift is forming, still a lot of rock (pic)
The Theft is not touching down yet (pic)

All photos from Peter Watson via FB

Highway 99 North – Marble Canyon

Peter Watson (FB) reported Icy BC pitches 2 and 3 filling in since Thursday.
Deeping Wall looked to have grown and no cars there at 1pm Saturday,-13ºC

Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road

Kyle Skidmore (and others) found early season conditions on The Tube, thin, mushy with running water behind the ice.
As well, Loose Lady was challenging. The top pitch is in but mostly useless to protect, like swinging picks on strytofoam. The final column is touching down, but only 4 inches of chandeliered ice (Eric Hughes)
Rambles Left reported to be a little thin. Still forming (Kyle Skidmore)
Samuel Lambert had a good day at the Rambles, climbed Rambles Centre which was in great shape then traversed over to Upper Cirque from below upper step.
Climbed The Column all the way to the cool cave in one mega pitch and Peterson-Samridge Dihedral as well, great day out with Olivier Di Maria!

Highway 99 South – Pemberton/Whistler/Squamish

Lots of ice being toyed with in the Smoke Bluffs, a lot of it being thin and fragile. Ascents seem to be be limited to top rope so far (Loerlei, Funarama, etc.).
A Scottish Tale has been led with some challenging pro.
Further North, Kevin Carriere reports that Nintendo has beefed up a tad. Looks untouched since our hijinks on Dec 09.

Nintendo

Nintendo

Highway 1 – Hope & Fraser Canyon

Drew noted that the Hope area is coming in fat, but it is super duper snowy. About 30 cm in 24 hrs with more falling (Dec 10). So it is hard to judge the condition of less than vertical ice. If I (Drew) had been able to see what Mousetrap was like under the snow we might not have got on it. Crappy ice/slush, but lots of it.
Better Mousetrap in better shape except top has not filled in yet.

Picadilly needs a few more days.
Lake of the Woods roadcut ice is good to go.
Sailor Bar is thin and has a couple holes on p2.
Superheroes routes are close to touching down.

Marc-André LeClerc found good conditions at Superheroes Cirque, only going to improve.
Kryptonite – Appeared in reasonable condition to lead but didn’t want to solo it.
Climbed Riddler, in good technical shape. Some tricky bits with fragile features. Although short (20m of WI5) the technical nature makes it feel sustained.
Mr. Freeze needs time to solidify.
Ultrawoman appeared IN but snowy in the less steep bits.

 

Posted by: westcoastice | December 8, 2016

December 8, 2016 Ice Climbing Report

If you haven’t already noticed, it’s snowing in the Lower Mainland!! Lot’s of precipitation and cold temperatures in the last week and into the next few weeks should set us up for the start of the season. Granted some things will be in thin and un-hacked-out early season conditions, but the ice is starting…

I’ve seen a few posts on our Facebook Group, for the Duffey and Squamish. I’ll summarize below.

I am sure quite a few of you will be out searching for ice this weekend, so email me some pictures and reports of what you find!

Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road

Maarten drove north from Squamish yesterday (Dec 7), up the Duffey, finding temps of -6C North of Whistler to -16C by Joffre Creek. See the Facebook group for pics.
Rambles looked good
Honeyman Falls looked like open water.

Highway 99 South – Squamish/Whistler

Samuel Lambert climbed A Scottish Tale on Wednesday with Josh Zahl, hooking the phallic stalactite on pitch 5. Route is in but thin and runout, every pitch had some heady sections. Approached from the Mamquam road and walked off, took about an hour and a half from the car to the base, pretty heinous bushwalking but mostly flat the whole way. Get on it before it gets covered in snow!

Note on walk-off: The topout is very close to the viewing platform for the Sea-to-Sky gondola, and there is a trail from there to the gondola and then a road back down

Pic from Facebook:
scottish_tale_8dec16

Jean-Marc Savoie (on Dec 8) was fortunate enough to be able to top rope solo Alice on Ice near Zombie Roof in the Smoke Bluffs (pics on Facebook). Someone else had also climbed it. It’s in very thin conditions. Best to stay to the right hand side where I found a thicker vein of ice. Also some Scottish moss in frozen cracks. Best thing to do in Squamish with only a couple hours to get out. Heres hoping for snow so other lines can have a better water supply. Also took a pic of the gnarly curtain mixed route which isn’t even near in.

Mystery Roach Hotel is forming, currently disconnected drips and icicles (on Dec 7).

Posted by: westcoastice | February 11, 2016

February 11, 2016 Ice Climbing Report (Thanks Wes)

A compilation of Wes Dyck’s report on The Plum and Marble and some Facebook posts.

Highway 40 – Bridge River Canyon

(Marc-André Leclerc) Wishful thinking led me to the Bridge River Canyon this morning (Feb 9), only to find shitfuck conditions and +5ºC temps. Salvaged the day by climbing a few routes on the Duffey.

Highway 99 North – Marble Canyon

Dan Canton and I (Wes Dyck) went to Marble on Wednesday, Feb 3, and found glorious conditions. We climbed all 3 pitches of Icy BC. Ice was completely dry other than the third pitch which was spraying a bit. We also troproped Deeping Wall Direct which was beaten out but a lot of fun. (a 70m rope is perfect for TR ing from all the new chains).

(Matt Kennedy) The annual VOC Daughter of Ice trip happened at Marble Canyon this past weekend (Feb 8-9). There was still plenty of ice when we left on Monday, but it was getting wet, and I’m sure it won’t stay for long. A person-sized chunk of the second pitch of Icy BC fell off sometime Sunday night, but it still goes. Temps were slightly chilly at night and pretty warm during the day.

Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road

(Scott Brown, Feb 8) Rambles were fat. We climbed Rambles Right, and it didn’t seem particularly wet. Definitely not flowing. Temps sat were about 40ºF, and Sunday I think just below freezing, maybe 28ºF. (Some pics below, including The Tube)

(Marc-André Leclerc, Feb 9) Climbed Loose Lady, Carl’s Berg and Closet Secrets. It does not feel like winter at all up there sadly, and the ice is very much on its way out.

Loose Lady went on the left, super wet on the right. Not hard climbing, but mushroom edges were less than ideal consistency for hooking, kind of soft. It’s just warm.

Carl’s Berg was in the best nick of the three, a bit hooked out though and covered in v-threads. Felt to me like easy, fun, straightforward conditions.

Closet Secrets had pretty unhealthy feeling ice, and Shreddie is definitely going to fall down soon. Nice route, but probably best avoided at this point.

(from Peter Watson; an older report I [Adrian Burke] missed my last West Coast Ice blog post, but great pictures of Closet Secrets) Another quality day (Feb 1) on the ice around Lillooet. Climbed Closet Secrets today. Route was in quality shape. Small rock rack and about 3 stubbies should suffice. No pins needed, nuts and a couple of smaller cams worked well. 2 bolt anchor at start, two bolt anchor at second ledge, new sling and biner around top tree. 70m rap back to first station, which we also replaced cord and quicklink.

Temp was -3ºC for a low today. No water really on the route.

Highway 99 South – Whistler/Pemberton

Dan Canton and I (Wes Dyck) hiked into The Plum on Jan.30. Dan and partner had done The Plum Lite 6 days earlier in fat conditions.

The picture tells the tale. Six days of double digit temps (Celsius) killed the first pitch.  I was emphatically told that my membership in the coastal ice climbers group was under review due to my pessimism and unwillingness to scramble around the mess of the first pitch.

However; with diligent research into the new cold snap we went out to on Wednesday Feb.3 and found glorious conditions and climbed all 3 pitches of Icy BC (Marble Canyon).

The membership review was dropped and I became a member of good standing. Wew!

On a side note (not to diminish the beauty and challenge of coastal ice), Dan and I climbed Borgeau Right (Canadian Rockies) which was an awesome WI4 that should not be missed. Shiny rap anchors all the way up and a couple of great pillers on the first pitch. Another beauty was Parting Gift WI3 in Peter Lougheed that is at the end of an amazing slot canyon and also Super Bok (see pic of the tunnel pitch!) was climbed with Safety Specialist Conrad Janzen on the January 5th.

Highway 5 – Coquihalla Highway

(Cyrus Eduljee, Feb 9) The Grim Reaper in Box Canyon is pretty much non-existent. Not sure about the other routes further back, but it was ~3ºC and we could hear ice crashing down all over the place, so instead we went to play on the dry tool routes put up by Peter Watson. Should have gone to Lillooet instead… On the plus side, it was a great day for rock climbing in Squamish today.

 

Posted by: westcoastice | February 6, 2016

February 6, 2016 Ice Climbing Report (FB)

Posts from the last week on our Facebook Group.
The Bridge River, Marble and Duffey reports are from Mauro Pizzarelli, with Don Montrichard and Jack, as well as Matt Kennedy. Nite n’ Gale report and picture of The Theft from Peter Watson. Photo of The Gift from Elena Hanajenko. Lyle Knight photo of Mythologic.

Highway 40 – Bridge River Canyon

Honeyman Falls – Left hand side open and flowing, right hand side had ice, but might be out – Viewed from the highway to Marble. – Feb 1

Salmon Stakes – the sections between the WI2/3 steps was kind of rotten, but got good the higher you went. This is a must do, such an adventurous route! – Jan 31
Hell’s Creek – flowing strong at the road, not sure how this correlates to the routes higher up. – Jan 31
Bridge River, in general – a lot of surviving ice, a lot of stuff still in. – Jan 31

Nite n’ Gale – (Peter Watson) Fun day up on the Bridge River today (Feb 2). Bailed on plans to check out The Gift as we were climbing as a group of three and I just felt we wouldn’t make it to the top. So instead we settled for Nite n’ Gale.

Nite n’ Gale had avalanched in the last cycle which made for easy travel on the approach and the slope between the first and second pitches. First pitch has lots of holes and open water but was easily avoidable. Second pitch just left of the hole, major crack in pillar overhanging the rock so took right line to the top of this pitch.

Approach note: Follow our tracks, but right after leaving the river follow our tracks left and towards the correct gulley, much more direct approach, then our switch backs up through the forest to the right, but this way also worked easily enough. Temps were -11ºC this am (Feb 2) and -8ºC at 4pm back at the car.

Highway 99 North – Marble Canyon

Crowd warning: a group of up to 15 VOCers will be at Marble Canyon on the February long weekend (Feb. 6-8). Of course, we’ll share the wall and the fun with anyone else who’s there!

Icy BC is picked out, more of a stair master on the right-hand-most side. The lower walls were dripping wet but still climbed well. We TR’ed Deeping Wall which was awesome. 2nd tier of Icy BC looked like it wouldn’t go, 3rd pitch looks good though (from a distance). – Feb 1

Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road

Back from a fun 4 day trip based out of Lillooet. First day climbed Rambles Left and Center, day 2 we climbed Salmon Stakes (although as a group of 3, we didnt finish it, see above), day 3 was Marble Canyon, and day 4 we tried for Belmore but it didn’t look great up close, so we went back to the Rambles

Rambles Center is fat, including top sections. We climbed through the 2 pitches on Center, and got to the Top Tier. Some chandeliered ice on the steeper stuff, the WI3 on the very right was plastic. We were quite tired at this point and called it a day, but it looked really good up here. – Jan 30, Feb 2

Rambles_Centre_6Feb16

Leading Rambles Centre (Mauro Pizzarelli)

Rambles Left is still good to go for a while more – Jan 30
Belmore Gully – not looking great, but access is much improved. Some folks installed a tyrolean across the river, looks like a lot of time and effort was spent on this – Thank you!! Look for lime green tape at the apex of the turn on which you can see Belmore Gully. Feb 2

Steve Miller Band is repetitive after a couple hours – bring more than 1 cd for trips this long – Jan 30-Feb 2

Rambles Right (Matt Kennedy with Jake Taylor Jones and David Hurley, Jan 30-31) was in good shape, too. The bottom tier was fine. The top tier left pitch looked hard and somewhat chandeliered. I climbed the right pitch, and descended on a V-thread.

Highway 5 – Coquihalla – Box Canyon

Reposting a comment from Wes Dyck from the Jan 29 Post: On Jan. 16 2016, Mitch S-C and Wes Dyck climbed Truth to the top of the canyon in a rope stretcher of 60m. Ice ran out and was steep snow and intermittent ice to the rim. Agree with Dan’s WI4 rating.

We traversed left to the top Scotch on the Rocks on steep snow about a pitch and set up a toprope in the running water. We beefed up the anchor with another 7mm cord and added a locking biner to the existing single biner anchor. 55m. When Scotch is in it is a hard and sweet WI4+

Probably thinned out by now with the warm temps!

Highway 97 – Enderby Cliffs

Mythologic (see pic from January 30, 2016) – Lyle Knight reported: good to see it still standing despite the recent conditions. Expect it may need a couple of weeks below zero to recoup.

Mythologic_6Feb16

Mythologic on Jan 30 (Lyle Knight)

 

 

Posted by: westcoastice | January 29, 2016

January 29, 2016 Ice Climbing Report (FB)

Highway 40 – Bridge River Canyon

Salmon Stakes – looks in from the road

Highway 99 North – Marble Canyon

No new ice reports, but assumed to be still in condition. Marble stays a few degrees colder than most of the areas surrounding Lillooet, which is remaining below freezing all weekend.

NEW ROUTE
Double Agent D7 (≈M7, no ice, dry-tool only) 20m 6 bolts FA Scott Payne & Garry Brace January 23, 2016
New dry-tooling route at Marble Canyon. Route is located about 8m right of the 2nd pitch of Icy BC. 6 bolts – 1st bolt is above the lower roof and should probably be stickclipped. Photo is of Scott Payne on the first ascent.

Double_Agent_D7_29Jan16

Scott Payne on the first ascent of Double Agent (Garry Brace)

Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road

(Jeremy Thom) On Sunday, Jan. 24, our BCMC group was at Carl’s Berg.  It was fat and blue.  There were multiple plausible lines.

Right of centre was a line of blobby mushrooms that looked super fun but bold.  Pro looked questionable at best.

On the left was a very featured pillar with some delicate looking stemming, but hideously chandeliered, dripping, and dubious looking pro.

I (Jeremy) went up the obvious middle pillar.  It did its namesake (web-editor note – Carlsberg Column in Field, BC, Canadian Rockies) proud.  It’s in very steep, stiff condition – much tougher than when (Eric) Bites and I were there earlier this year.  At 10 am, the ice was reasonable.  Hard and brittle in some places, plastic in others, a bit of chandelier, a bit aerated, but overall good steep climbing and decent but not perfect gear, with a fair amount of cleaning.  I did spend five minutes hanging off a screw about 3m up the steep stuff, having a conversation with myself about choices, decisions, consequences, and such.  And maybe swearing.  The ice got worse higher on the pillar and at maybe 1/2 height I found a v-thread in a cave (thanks Jean-Marc Savoie, I think), clipped, and trended left to some decent ice near the top of the left pillar.  I built a TR anchor in decent ice about 27m up, and then traversed easily right, back to the top of the middle pillar, where lots of cleaning permitted another nice TR anchor.  If I had continued on, the ice trending up and right to the tree anchor eases off a lot after this anchor, and looked just fine.

Instead, Chris Bueley, Suzanne Landry, Bala Kumar, and Oudi Cherfina smashed the living daylights out of the TR lines, mock leading all day.  Let’s just say you could hook your way up the central line now and you wouldn’t need to clean anything to get gear. When I went up to clean it at 5pm, it had warmed up, was all hero ice, and felt like 4+ºC.  Funny how much a line can change in a few hours.

I never did the left line, but just watched the gang lap it.  It provided super cool, gymnastic climbing with lots of opportunities for stemming and scumming and great rests.  It did not provide any reasonable gear.  Probably around 40 screws were sunk into it throughout the day, and apparently only a few found more ice than air, even after knocking several tonnes of choss off it.  Gear was better towards the top, but you’d have to be very bold to get there.

Note that the wide, 12m tall curtain of grade 3ish ice below the main business would make a pretty good place for a grade 3 leader to bring a bunch of beginners.  You could probably string up 6+ ropes side by side and climb a wide variety of ice from lower angle 2 to some short steep steps to some crazy mushroom cauliflower stuff.  Just be aware of a bit of hangfire danger, mostly on the extreme left and right side.

On the drive, we didn’t get great views of much of anything, but most of the stuff around Wader Land looked pretty good, except for that one wide one that is always flowing.  Shreddie looked pretty similar to a month ago, when Bites and I were last there (see pic below).

I (Marco Buccheri) lead The Tube Sunday, January 24 with Tom Appleby, Julio and Loren. The first 10-15 m definitely felt harder than the WI3+ WI4- graded in the book ( I thought that I was just rusty). I placed the same number of screws; the ice was very aerated and did not take very good screws.

(Jean-Marc Savoie) See below for…  pics of The Tube taken on January 22nd. It was in great condition! With Nic Vissers and Mike Gudaitis.

Note that The Tube has a handy new 2 bolt rap anchor installed on the left at the top.

Highway 99 South – Pemberton/Whistler

We (Jeremy Thom and company) had another BCMC course running laps up at The Plum Saturday, January 23. The first pitch was soft, wet, and detached, thin on the edges with a big hole in the middle, but still easily accommodated 2 ropes on fat blue ice. It was good to go at least to the tree belay at the top left of the first pitch. Didn’t scope above that.

Highway 5 – Coquihalla – Box Canyon (New Climbs)

At the very back end of Box Canyon (on what I [Dan Canton] think may be called the Emerald Wall) in January/February 2009 myself and Steve Vanhulsentop climbed the obvious left most of the two climbs (the right one virtually never forms completely or stays safe past the first rays of direct sunlight). The first we called Lawyers, Guns and Money. The second Innocent Bystander, third Truth and a fourth called Single Malt.

NEW ROUTE
Lawyers, Guns and Money WI4 3 pitches (long) FA Dan Canton & Steve Vanhulsentop Jan/Feb 2009

It starts with a WI4 pillar of about 60′ and the rest I’d have to look at the photos to get a good idea of the terrain. If memory serves the first two pitches are solid WI4 and the third is moderate WI4. All three pitches are quite full 60m pitches and consequently full 60m rappels. The climb is steep steps with snowy slopes/ledges in between. As I remember we set three tree rappels back to the base.

NEW ROUTE
Innocent Bystander WI4 2 pitches FA Dan Canton & Steve Vanhulsentop Jan/Feb 2009

The second new route is best described as all the way to the end of Box Canyon and then way up high on the right-hand side. This one we called Innocent Bystander.

This one is a fair hump to get to. Getting to the very back of Box Canyon itself (to do Scotch On The Rocks, Engage, etc.) is quite an exhausting effort in all, but perfect conditions and this one is that much more so. If one does go to the effort they’ll be rewarded with a decent experience. Pitch one is WI4 – but almost always thin/delicate and often doesn’t touch down. If I recall correctly I think that any meaningful screws where unavailable until at the base of pitch two.

Pitch two is fat with a short WI4 pillar that has a WI3 alternative on the right (I think). There’s a tree anchor/rappel point at the top. Care should be taken when rappelling to not go past the ice that is thick enough to install an Abalakov. On one ascent we found only enough ice for one attempt at a V-thread. If we screwed it up we would have had to climb up to thicker ice for another try. This climb, unlike everything else in Box Canyon, actually gets you high enough to get a peek out of the canyon and has a bit of an alpine feel.

NEW ROUTE
Truth WI4 15m FA Dan Canton & Brad Winter Jan/Feb 2009

The third first is immediately to the right of Scotch On The Rocks. It’s a quarter of a pitch (if that) pillar that ends in a bushy thrash. This one we called Truth WI4 (only due to it’s steepness. It could be argued as WI3 due to it’s lack of length), 1/4 of a pitch. This is not a destination climb. It’s only worth mentioning as an extra to do while in the Scotch vicinity.

NEW ROUTE
Single Malt WI5 60m FA Dan Canton, Steve Vanhulsentop & Michael Down Jan/Feb 2009

The fourth is a steep alternative on Scotch On The Rocks. It only forms in really fat ice years. It’s best described as the steep/direct pillar starting at the base (slightly left of center) of Scotch. Everything else about this climb is identical to Scotch – one 55/60m pitch with a station/rappel on the climber’s right.

Another practical note about Scotch On The Rocks is that I installed a rappel route in the trees above it that will take one to the top of the climb. If one isn’t feeling they’re sufficiently beefy to lead it they can, with great effort, hike around on the far right and then descend the ever steepening slope above to find two rappel anchors on trees which will lead to the upper Scotch area where an anchor can be placed.

 

Posted by: westcoastice | January 23, 2016

January 23, 2016 Ice Climbing Report (FB)

A pair of avalanches closed Highway 40 on Friday (Vancouver Sun Article).

Avalanche Canada has issued a special public warning that begins today and remains in effect until Monday. The warning applies to the northwest coast and southcoast inland, as well as to the Cariboo, Columbia and Kootenay-Boundary regions, the Purcell range and the Lizard-Flathead area in southeastern B.C. Avalanche experts say a weak layer of snow has been buried under recent heavier snowfalls and the risk is especially pronounced at lower elevations, although hazards also exist at and above the treeline.

Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road

Crowd Warning: There is going to be a large group tomorrow Sunday Jan 24 at the Rambles Centre.

We (Maw Mawperson with Lj Sov and Eli Dusenbury) climbed Rambles Left today (Friday, Jan 22). We followed the features on climbers right for the first two pitches. We hiked the snow gully and then climbed the WI2 flow on climbers left of the Upper Tier.

The Duffey has seen a lot of rain in the last couple of days. The climb was wet, lots of tree bombs, but no rockfall or wet snow slides on route. But, lots of wet snow slides can be seen from the highway.

Highway 99 South – Whistler/Pemberton

Drew reports that today (Jan 23) there is still ice at Sumallo Bluffs, but it is also +2ºC and raining. At least one pillar collapsed between 10 am and 2 pm

 

 

Posted by: westcoastice | January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016 Ice Climbing Report (Thanks Peter)

Avalanche Hazard: Conditions are ripe for an impressive avalanche cycle on the South Coast of BC today (Jan 21), according to Avalanche Canada (CBC REPORT).

Rockfall Issues: Reminder that warm weather around Lillooet, particularly in the canyons, leads to serious rockfall as well as snow avalanches. Drive BC @DriveBC 3h3 hours ago –> #‎BCHWY40‬ CLOSED 90km west of junction with ‪#‎BCHWY99‬ in ‪#‎Lillooet‬ at Mintos bluff because of avalanche. No detour in place.

Below are a set of reports from Peter Watson and compiled from our Facebook Group.

Highway 40 – Bridge River Canyon

Honeyman Falls is in an thick (see pics below)

19-1-16 (Dave Brown):
Hell Creek was flowing heavily again.
Plan B had decent ice low but the top part, on the right-hand, lower-angled, side, was completely rotted out. The last couple of body lengths involved hooking mud and I swatted a mosquito. The left-side had some steeper ice which looked to be maybe WI4- and might have been ok, but I didn’t climb it.

20-1-16 (Dave Brown):
El Nino was not climbable.
The Groke was in great shape but, with very little snow, the approach is quite difficult. The river seemed higher on the way out than it was on the way in – it was just over hip-wader depth on the return crossing.
Wishful Thinking looked in from the road but I didn’t go up to it.

Reported last week by Peter… lots of ice.

Old Dogs, New Picks – thick with tonnes of ice above the climb
Steri Strip – thick and looked fun
Salmon Stakes – thick looking
Shriek of Sheep – (see pics below) quality fun, great climbing and tons of ice. Be prepared for the river crossing; hip-waders are recommended
Black Bird – looks fatter than ever in my history looking at it. Two pillars with the right one looking like the choice and the slab looked thick.
Night n Gale – looked great
Capricorn – looked great
4 dressed up as a 6 – completely formed and looked big, and the pillar to the left, is also formed
The Theft – lots of ice in there and looked complete other then what you can’t see in the chimney
The Gift – looks amazing, but can’t really view the bottom pillar or scope the first pitch that well.

Highway 99 North – Marble Canyon

NEW ROUTE
Klingon M8 20m FA Garry Brace January 20, 2016
New Marble Canyon mixed route – Klingon M8 (?) – see pic below.
Route is immediately left of the 2nd pitch of IcyBC and has 7 bolts. The first bolt is high and should be stick-clipped.

Klingon_21Jan16

Garry Brace leading Klingon (new mixed route next to P2 of Icy BC)

Again, from last week’s report from Peter…

Top Tier (parallel to the 3rd pitch of Icy BC:
Air Care – looked great
No Deductible – forming well
Icy BC, pitch 3 – wet and lots of unconsolidated columns.
Body Shop – not in

CROWD WARNING #1 (Marcus Tomlinson): 10 people from the Vancouver Rock Climbing Group will be at Marble Canyon on Saturday Jan 22nd and Sunday Jan 23rd. We will certainly allow others to work in and share routes.

CROWD WARNING #2 (Matt Kennedy): There will be a group of up to 8 VOCers at Marble Canyon on the weekend of Jan. 30 – 31. Of course, they will share the wall, the fun, and the fire!

CROWD WARNING #3 (Matt Kennedy): a group of up to 15 VOCers will be at Marble Canyon on the February long weekend (Feb. 6-8). Of course, we’ll share the wall and the fun with anyone else who’s there!

Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road

Synchronicity area has lots of ice
Synchrotron and Mother looked to be complete with the dry tool variation to the second pitch.
There have been a couple of successful runs up Loose Lady very recently. Henrik Hinkkala reports (Jan 20) Loose Lady in wicked shape, no water running on the route, all internal, great pro. Just climbed it with Richard Be and Ryan Larkin. This will probably be around for a little while, and has been a long time since it has been in. Highly recommend taking day off work to get it done.
On Saturday (Jan 16), Peter Watson and I (Jean-Marc Savoie) finally sent the infamous Loose Lady (WI 5) on the Duffey lake road. Peter did an amazing job working his way through the crux pitches. He went up and stayed right until going through an ice tunnel to a large belay ledge under the upper pillar. He then took the left side into the back cave. Around to the other side and straight up. Burly and fun! Temp around 0 to -2. Mostly great ice.
Bruce and Lyle comments RE: Loose Lady – there’s a few drainages to be avoided when the avalanche hazard is up, and this is one of them. There’s big, open terrain above and it’s common to see big debris right down to Hwy 99 at a his location. IMO I’d wait a few days for conditions to stabilize. Loose Lady is by far one of the higher risk ice climbs in the corridor, yet because it is not apparent, often unsuspected.

Pics from Eric Hughes of Red Wall Wanderers, Tres Burly and Dunkin’ Donuts (new route) below…

NEW ROUTE
Dunkin’ Donuts WI3+/4- 60m FA Eric Hughes Sarah Hart & Ian Bennett January 21, 2016

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After the most minimal amount of research I’m (Eric) going to say this is a new route? 60m long, WI3+/4-, three steeper tiers with easy ice between. Small alcove at the top with thick enough ice to rap off. Bring a few extra stubbies. Located 75m down hill from Red Wall Wanderers, 25m left of Playing Hooky. Dunkin’ Donuts is worth climbing if you have made the effort to go climb RWW, but it’s not in.

Highway 97 – Enderby Cliffs

Wicked-fun day on Mythologic with Matt Maddaloni and Bruce Kay – Lyle Knight (Lyle’s report and photos below)

Mythologic near Enderby BC is in very good condition, the aspect and valley overcast is helping it continue to grow. Good trail beat in, a gradual 2.5hrs to the base, take snowshoes! A couple of minutes into the hike take the left branch onto the new Parks trail. After about 20 minutes (1st switchback) head off the end onto our trail, mostly ribboned if it gets snowed over.

Note: our ropes got stuck on the final rap (dusk), if you head up it would be appreciated if you could send them down and I’ll retrieve in a few weeks, please let me know!

Posted by: westcoastice | January 14, 2016

January 14, 2016 Ice Climbing Report (Facebook again…)

Documenting the very active West Coast Ice Facebook group, for those of you not already active participants… I didn’t get time to steal/post all the pics, but you can find more on the FB Group.

General Crowd Warning (Jennifer Carter): 5 climbers from the Seattle Mountaineers ice climbing program will be in the Lillooet area this weekend. 2 of us mentors and 3 beginners. We’re nice and happy to share routes/ let others pass/ move on over so just give us a heads up if we’re gumming up a route you want to be on. See you out there!

Highway 40 – Lillooet

(Jason Callum) Climbed on Honeyman Falls on Sunday (Jan 11). We stopped and warmed up/ did laps on the bottom 35ish m. Another party showed up and they went to the top.

Honeyman_Falls_14Jan16

Honeyman Falls on Sunday (Jan 11)

Highway 99 North – Marble Canyon

I (Jeremy Thom) ran an intro to ice course this weekend.

Saturday we were at Oregon Jack. Conditions were much as Drew Bradshaw described not long ago: very cold, hard, brittle, dry ice that fractured a lot. Hard work to get sticks, especially for the poor crew who was swinging tools for the first time. Gear was a wee bit thought provoking. On the other hand, the ice was highly featured, mushroomed, and chandeliered, which made for really interesting fun climbing. Thanks to Lyle Knight for putting chains in the half-height cave. They were pretty iced over and could become difficult to find, but roughly they are right in the middle of the cave.

Of note, a couple from Kamloops, Jack and Steph, wandered by and took a lap to the top. Jack said the ice got worse the higher he went.

Add’l comment from Jack Stratton: As far as conditions, I got a couple screws just above the belay cave, but most of my screws in p2 were worthless.

Highway 99 South – Duffey Lake Road

Comments from Drew RE: Belmore Gully conditions –>  It’s -4 and sunny at the webcam right now, I expect that deep snow and avvy hazard are the biggest concerns. South Coast Inland has moderate hazard with possible buried hoar layers, something to think about…

Highway 99 South – D’Arcy/Pemberton/Whistler

We (Alexander Weber and Mandy Wong) climbed Entropy (WI3, 120m, Pemberton) on Saturday (Jan 10). I think we made it to 100m before it started to get dark. The top looked a little thin, like the description in the book says it might. Approach hike it kicked in steps.

Peter Watson added a comment on Alexander’s photo –> thats the most ice i have seen on Fig Plucker and Plucker’s Son for several years.

Jody Sutherland added –> There was a Big Cougar on the tracks (railroad) just below the climb this afternoon (Jan 11). Keep your tools handy on the approach. Eh.

Entropy_14Jan16

Entropy on Sat (Jan 10). Fir Plucker and Fig Plucker’s Son also in view.

Sunday we (Jeremy Thom’s intro ice course) lapped the first pitch of The Plum. I’ve probably been there a dozen times and by far it was in the best shape I’ve ever seen. Lots of smooth, uniform, generally plastic ice. Way better than when Eric Bites and I were up there the weekend before. Any number of lines possible. Could have had 3 TR’s set up there. Another party was ahead of us and went to the second tier, which they reported was in nice shape.

I don’t have anything useful to add to other reports that have been posted recently about Birken/Fraser Canyon, other than that White Blotter looks like the first pitch is only a few feet at most from touching down, but it doesn’t look quite ready yet.

Mauro Pizzarelli and Don Montrichard report… Some stuff in around Birkenhead, or just about in.
1) High up on the hill above Roadside Attraction there’s some ice (20-25m, WI3ish – apparently later identified as Drive By Shooting) that was thin down low, so we top-roped it. Lots of variety in here, but mostly short routes.
Drive-by Shooting: 30m M8. Jayson Green & Gavin Duffell sometime in 2008. 100m down the tracks from Roadside Attraction. Climb 15m of WI2 to a two-bolt anchor, then up steeply overhanging rock past 5 bolts with fixed draws to a final dagger. Chain anchor, lower off.
2) Roadside attraction was in, but lots of water running down on the left hand most routes, ice was delaminating. The route itself was fun though.
3) Hollow Quest for Glory was mostly in, except for a bit of hollowness
4) We also checked out Class Is In Session. It’s coming in, but still spots with quite a bit of water running behind a thin screen of ice. Maybe a week of colder weather will see it form up. I walked up to a viewpoint above the first steeper section, about two minute’s hike from the road. Looked interesting, book says 200 metres.

Highway 99 South – Squamish

Today (Jan 13) I (Jean-Marc Savoie) pruned the access trail to the top of Line Drive (WI2) at Murrin Park in Squamish. I also trimmed the branches around the main anchor tree at the top and replaced the webbing anchor. Furthermore I installed a rap anchor at the ledge below the top for when the final 15 feet of climbing is not safe to continue to the tree while on lead. The anchor is on the big Boulder which won’t get covered by snow or ice. (obviously currently this ice is out now), but it seems to be in for at least a week or 2 around Xmas this year and last.

Highway 3 – Sumallo Bluffs

Drew Bradshaw report from Saturday, Jan 10 –> Sumallo West across from 19 Mile Creek. Unclimbed drip is touching down (bottom) and double lines are in in upper gully (upper left). Fell off log into Sumallo River on the approach and suffered full immersion & had to retreat but these lines should stick around at least to tomorrow (Jan 11). Other Sumallo routes:
Landmark Curtain just touched down.
B/K and Crunchy Frog are in.
Anthrax Ripple is not in.
Mess routes and First Time Lucky are snowy

 

 

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