Monday, January 4, 2010

Multipitch classics with Mike from England.

Had an excellent four days of multipitch climbing with Mike from England, finishing yesterday.

To start the trip out we cruised up Guinness Gully (WI4, 225m) which was in nice hooked-out conditions. Above, we continued up to Guinnes Stout (WI4+, 100m) which was much more challenging due to featureless & brittle ice.

Upper pitches of Bourgeau Left
On day two we took advantage of the stable snow conditions & made an ascent of Bourgeau Left Hand (WI5, 180m). Despite a pre-dawn start we were beaten to the route by Barry Blanchard & his guest. It all worked out though as it was a warm day and we enjoyed watching them climb while waiting for our turn. The climb is in great shape and the crux pitch had excellent steep climbing on interesting ice.
Mike on Bourgeau Left
Mike & I on top of Bourgeau Left
We then took a couple days off for New Years, during which time I climbed Candlestick Maker with my buddy Trent (see earlier post), and of course found time for a few New Years cocktails!

Back at it after the holidays we decided to climb Coire Dubh Integral (5.7, WI3, 550m), a great mini-alpine outing in the front ranges. The climb went smoothly & was probably the highlight of the trip. There was some thin-ice sections that aren't usually there so we managed to climb it a bit differently than I ever had before. The climb reminded Mike of the mixed routes in Scotland.
Mike at the base of Coire Dubh Integral with Yamnuska glowing in the background.
Mike mixed climbing on Coire Dubh Integral.

To finish off we had a shorter day out on Louise Falls (WI5, 110m). The crux pillar is currently very steep and provided the hardest ice climbing of the trip. Super fun!

Midway up Louise Falls
It was certainly an action packed week and I hope to see Mike again in the future!

J. Mills
CRAG Owner & Head Guide

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