Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thriller (M9) & Dancing With Chaos (WI5+)

Let the ice bashing begin!  After a bit of a slow start (by my standards) and a few days of drytooling up at the Playground Crag, I finally made it out to practice my favorite sport, ice climbing!

For my first attempted day out at the start of November, my friend Cian & I set our sites on the rarely formed Silver Lining (WI6, 5.9) which he had scouted out earlier in the week.  After a campfire night on the David Thompson Highway, we get up early and headed out to the Icefields where we met our other buddy Jody Sutherland who had driven all the way from Squamish that evening!  A casual 2 hour hike brought us to the base of the route wondering how we would get off the ground.  It was super frustrating because the entire route looked fat for hundreds of meters, except for the 15 meters of slightly overhanging & unprotectable rubble at the start.  A few false starts and half driven pitons later, we headed back to the car.  It's rare to have an ice season that doesn't start with taking the gear for a few big walks! 

A couple weeks later, I headed out with Cian again for some climbing on the Stanley Headwall.  The route we had hoped to try didn't look well enough formed, so we opted to play on the ridiculously steep "Thriller" (M9) instead.  After a few attempts we finally made it to the ice, which felt kinda challenging for the first ice of the year after climbing a big rock roof! 

The Thriller Cave with it's selection of hard mixed climbs.  

Cian hooking his way through the big roof on Thriller.  

 And pulling onto the hanging icicle. 

Although bolted mixed climbs can be fun, my real inspiration comes from multipitch ice climbs in wild places.  So, I was psyched when my buddy Chris Delworth was in town and suggested we check out Mt. Wilson.  Mt. Wilson has perhaps the best selection of ice climbs on the planet, and this year things are looking fat!  We opted to try the rarely formed "Dancing With Chaos" and weren't disappointed.  The route was in great shape, and was much easier than the guidebook grade of WI6. 

Approaching Dancing With Chaos, the second thin line on the right is "Frigging With Gear".

 Chris starting up the first pitch on beautiful quality ice!

Afterwards we made a short drive down the highway to the Weeping Wall to scope out conditions.  Among others, the following routes appeared to be in good shape along the Icefields Parkway:

J. Mills

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