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Icefall Brook - 10 new routes

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  • Icefall Brook - 10 new routes

    ICEFALL BROOK SESSION, March 11th to March 19th 2008

    Audrey Gariepy, Caroline George, Jen Olson, Ines Papert and I spent march 11th to 19th on a first ascent binge in Icefall Brook canyon, deep in the Canadian Rockies. The canyon lies on the west side of the divide below the Lyell Icefield which covers about 50 square kilometers, just south of the Columbia Icefield. Beautiful limestone walls rose hundreds of meters around this pear shaped canyon, and dozens of waterfalls seeped through the highly featured stone.

    Most of the climbing activity here in the past has been done by Dave Thompson with a variety of partners, but according Joe Josephson?s Waterfall Ice guidebook the canyon contained ?virtually unlimited mixed terrain? and a photo on page 264 revealed several impressive unclimbed pure ice lines. We didn?t think the place had been climbed in more than a handful of times. We lucked out with great avalanche stability, and good ice conditions. Many routes in the canyon wouldn?t be safe to do with elevated hazards or direct sun, but generally unsettled weather and minimal new snow were the factors we needed. After eight days, 10 major new routes had been done, assuming the information in the guidebook is correct, from WI 5 to M12!

    Lyell Wall routes:

    Fossen Falls WI 6 170m: Sustained and one of the most beautiful in the cirque. FA: Gariepy, Papert, Walsh

    Happy Hours WI 6 240m: An obvious notch at the top of the wall marks the top of this one. One route left of Fossen Falls. A narrow windy gully with a pitch of WI6 in the middle. A small rock rack was useful, and a 2 nut anchor was left 10 meters above the top of the ice. FA: Gariepy, Papert, Walsh

    Happy Birthday WI5 120m: The left hand line of the cluster of 4 lines, just right of Fossen Falls. The pillar of the second pitch is the highlight of this one. Sustained. FA: George, Olson

    Into the Wild M12 WI5 100m: This wild climb is accessed by climbing ?ice palace? (60m WI4+). From a belay in the back of the cave. climb a short pillar before launching into a 40 meter roof traverse. A bolted station is on the left side of the dagger, just above the lip of the roof. Another 60 meters of WI5 leads to hole where the ice comes from. F.A. Papert

    Keep On Smiling WI6 60m: Is the freestanding pillar 30 meters left of Mexican overdrive. FA: Griepy, Olson, Walsh

    Blue Lagoon WI5 200m: The fat one just right of Mexican Overdrive. Sustained. F.A. George, Papert

    High Five WI5 200m: Two gullies right of Mexican overdrive F.A. Gariepy, Olson, Walsh

    Jusqu'au Bout M5 WI6 200m: From halfway up high five, a few unprotectable mixed moves (crux) to the left were made to reach a smear, which eventually turns into a WI 6 pillar at the top. F.A. Gariepy, George

    Note: 80 meters of WI 3 are part of the ?approach? to the snow ledge that accesses all climbs from the Ice Palace to High Five

    The next two climbs were done on the "big" wall next to icefall wall and across the valley from the Lyell wall.

    Northwest Passage WI5+ 600m: On obvious line on the right hand side. Five tiers of beautiful pillars separated by a few snow ledges. FA: Gariepy, Papert

    Supernatural B.C.: WI6 M7 600m: On obvious gully climb left of NW passage. 250 meters of WI 3 to an 80 meter WI 6 pillar. After this, there are two chimneys - Jen and Caroline climbed a WI 3 pitch up the right hand fork to the end of the first attempt on the route. The left chimney consisted of a 40 meter WI4 to a cave belay; an M7 traverse to thin delaminating ice was climbed to the next cave; one more pitch very thin WI4+ R to a rock anchor on the right side of the snow gully above. The final 100m of ice gradually steepens from WI3 to a WI 6 finish. Rack: screws, cams from .3 Camelot to #3, nuts (a couple of pitons were left in place). FA: Olson, Walsh