GSI shutting down

It is with regret that Gravsports Ice will be closing soon. Despite all of us here and many in the community being of the opinion that GSI is a better archiving system for information on ice climbing in the Canadian Rockies, this website will be shutting down.

Keeping the lights on and keeping conditions current no longer seems practical. We have tried making the forums more user friendly, and kept access to a vast array of beta and history contained on the website open to all. However low participation and increasing costs from both the website and hacker intrusions have lead us to this decision. Many thanks to Ian for past hosting costs. While the website will remain live for a short while you can expect it to disappear soon. We have talked of options to preserve the beta it contains however we offer no guarantees at this time.

We thank all our supporters, and everyone in the community for your past participation in GSI.
Will, Ian, and Grant.
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Lyell and Forbes Bush River approach

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  • Lyell and Forbes Bush River approach

    For those interested in the Icefall Brook approach to Lyells and Forbes, the Valenciennes Road has a a huge washout at km 11.5 (just past where the old decommissioned road starts). On Jul 30 we were just able to make it around the washout by driving in the ditch. The old collapsing bridge at km 13 has been removed and ramps have been dug in and out of the river. There was a steep washout gully at km 16.5 (just doable, but won?t be much longer). The old bridge at km 22.5 was bypassed by driving around through the river on the left (this is past the usual parking spot). This got us to the trailhead parking 100m before the sharp right switchback at km 23.5 (GR946459) (currently chicken wire there). (See Corbetts 11000ers book).

    Coming out Aug 1 after three very hot days it was a different story. The river was much higher and had covered the road knee deep for about 200m near the big washout, and flooded our ditch route around it. I wouldn?t recommend driving past this spot currently. We have a lifted XTerra with full recovery gear and it was pretty sketchy coming out. It would be easy to ride bikes the 12km from here to the trailhead.

    Hopefully the washout will just flatten everything and when the water is lower it will be simple enough to dig a ramp around the washout.

    The hike into the hut is one of the most beautiful we have done. It was 1900m/12km, but worth it just for those views alone! It took us 8 hours with some route finding and a few stops for thundershower huddling. There is a nice trail to follow, the trick is finding it. We added a bunch of cairns and flagging so hopefully its easier to follow now. If you are heading up that way another roll of flagging would be awesome.

    Basically, from the sharp right switchback head up through the avalanche runout in the obvious rocky gully. A few hundred metres up the gully, look for a break on the left (see photo). There is an old trail starting here (flagging and cairns currently). Follow the surprisingly good trail though the trees up to the ledge system. Trend up through rockbands (the trails sputters here) and find the old trail quite high on the ledge, almost at the upper cliff. Follow the trail thought a few patches of shrubs and then into the last of the trees. There is a nice groomed trail through the thick trees, with some new blowdown etc. A few minutes with a saw would be good here. There is a pretty brisk creek crossing after the trees. The old tree crossing is rotted out, so we crossed up higher a few hundred metres. Running shoes are good here. Head across open slabs towards the meadows. (for Mons hut/Forbes start trending up right towards the breaks in the cliff band - we followed some cairns up this way accidentally). Stay on the lower meadow ledges that hug the cliff edge until the long lateral moraine, then head up to the top of it onto a bench above the slabs (Corbett says something about trending climbers right - this confused us). Pass a couple of little tarns in the gully on the right. The bench basically traverses to the right most glacier toe (see photo). Jump on the glacier and plod 2.5km up to the hut.

    The Lyell Icefield was hot with daily afternoon/evening thundershowers. Never too much precipitation but lots of cracking overhead. We had no overnight freezes so the glacier travel was slow with boot top penetration in slushy sun cups. We had significant snow loss daily, with many bare ice patches now appearing. We also found many hidden crevasses in the soft snow.

    From the hut we took the middle glacier ramp around the toe of 5. Dont get too high here, you get cliffed out. Stay low and wrap around and down onto the Upper Lyell glacier. Lyell 1 is a surprisingly long way across the glacier. The 1/2 col has quite the 'schrund currently. We found a bridge, but it wont be there much longer. It may be passable to the far right or left. Lyell 1 is straight forward rock scrambling to the top. There a some sizeable crevasses heading up Lyell 2. Lyell 3 was pretty melted back with an impassable bergshrund. We climbed an improbable ramp on the far right (pickets and a couple of screws are good here). We rapped the 'schrud on the way down from an anchor in the rocks at the col. We decided against continuing on Lyell 4 and 5 given how warm and sloppy the snow was. The knife edge ridges on the N ridge of Lyell 4 might be hard to protect on loose snow. Also significantly more rock showing than older photos, not sure how much that matters, but the rock looks pretty crappy. I'd love to hear from others who have climbed the N ridge to get an idea of the best conditions.

    Conditions would likely be much more favourable in early July with more snow cover and with some cold temps at night.

    Last edited by bryce; 3-Jun-2020, 09:49 am.