Sunday, February 19, 2012

Riptide (VI, WI 6/7) with Chris

Had a few days off last week and was joined by my buddy Chris from Revelstoke for some climbing. Since conditions were looking perfect in the alpine, we initially set our sites on Striving for the Moon, a WI6 ice climb which leads to the summit of Mt. Temple. However, it snowed a bit that night, and after skiing up the Moraine Lake Road in the dark we discovered that the route was looking too snowy for safe and efficient travel. So, we skied the 10km back to the car, at least the views were good!

Looking towards Mt. Quadra on the left, Babel in the sun in the middle, and more of the Valley of the 10 peaks to the right.

Looking up at Mt. Temple, with Striving for the Moon taking the central snow & ice gullies. The classic East Ridge of Temple is the closer of the two ridges on the left.

The next day we decided to tackle the famous ice route Riptide (WI6/7, 160m), which is considered one of the hardest pure ice routes in the range. It is located high on Mt. Patterson along the Icefields Parkway, and involves a long ski approach into complex alpine terrain. Snow conditions need to be pretty much perfect for this one, and the were.

Chris on his skis, with Riptide visible to his right. The seracs on top of the cliff don't threaten the climb fortunately.

Kicking steps up the last part of the gully to Riptide.

We climbed the route in 4 pitches, with the first and 3rd being the hardest. There was lots of crazy "snice" features (snow that has hardened to almost ice, or ice that has rotted to almost snow) which made for very mentally challenging climbing. The cruxes however were two extremely steep and featureless sections which got me more pumped than I remember being on pure ice for years. By the top of the route we were both sore & tired but psyched.

Me leading one of the crux sections, 10 meters up the first pitch.

Chris coming up the last pitch.

J. Mills
CRAG Head Guide

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