The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Anorexia Norvosa

It's turned super warm here at the moment & it's been unbelievable that only last weekend we were seeing overnight temperatures of around minus 22 & now it's struggling to get below freezing.
So from trying to find routes in the sun, it's now those routes that are getting a hammering & it's the routes with little or no sun that are the focus - it was over 10 degrees in the sun yesterday!
The good thing is that the alpine snow higher up is fast transforming which will mean safe & fast access into the higher mountain routes.

That's been a little frustrating as we're heading home tomorrow, but we can't complain as we've had a great haul of routes & hopefully one first ascent in a little known remote valley north of Totem Tower.

Little snow has meant great access into the Ghost this past couple of weeks, so we headed into Orient Point in the South Ghost to check out a small remote valley west of Wicked Wanda that we hadn't been to before. The maps show the route facing north & sheltered in a small we went to check it out.

Anorexia Norvosa WI4, 140m - The Ghost Valley, Canada
Dean leading the 1st pitch on Anorexia Norvosa WI4, 140m - The Ghost Valley, Canada
Dean enjoying the 1st pitch on Anorexia Norvosa
Paul seconding the 1st pitch on Anorexia Norvosa
Me enjoying the narrows on the 1st pitch of Anorexia Norvosa
Paul leading the 2nd pitch on Anorexia Norvosa
Me leading the last pitch on Anorexia Norvosa
A fun day & great conditions in the Ghost yesterday............and a great finish to the trip.
Flying back to the UK today, but looks like there's been some great winter conditions in the Lakes while I've been away!!??
Safe climbing

Thursday, 28 March 2013

A new alpine ice route?

We headed back into Totem Creek yesterday, which is the main drainage system south of Mt Murchison & North of Totem Tower which opens out into a beautiful hidden valley to the back of that range.
If you blink then you'll probably miss a view of the top of the route! but drive slowly enough & stop 20km north of Bow Summit, heading towards Jasper along the Icefields Parkway & you'll see it. It's at a point where Totem Creek meets the main Icefields Parkway (the creek isn't signed from the road), stop & look east & you'll just about make out the top of the route finishing up a steep corner crammed in amongst steep rock walls.

After 2hrs of breaking trail up the creek bed & through the pine forest in bad unconsolidated snow we got our first views of the route.
The orange line shows yesterdays approach into the route -  the slopes directly beneath the route were to unstable to cross.
Me approaching the route, high on the side of the valley.
Amazing scenery, with Dean enjoying the views across the valley to Howse Peak & Mt Kit
Dean ejoying the technical & thin sections of ice, low down on the route.
Dean climbing the thin ice sections of ice, which lead up to the base of the steep pillar
Me seconding the lower thinner sections of ice - the route & approach had a real alpine feel about it.
Me starting up the steep pillar which was the crux of the route & much steep than it looked from down below!
The pillar was steep, very steep! - it was narrow at the bottom & had filled out at the top making the second half of the pillar a little over 90 degrees! & with the ice not having been climbed on before the placements for both the axes & feet were hard won.
A foreshortened view from below - me ejoying some great steep climbing on the central pillar.
Dean working hard, but loving the steep pillar - high up on what we named 'Wild Horses' WI6, Totem Tower, Alberta, Canadian Rockies 
Dean pulling over the top of the steep pillar.
Great views west to Mt Kit & Howse Peak on the other side of the valley.
Dean heading up & enjoying the final 55m WI4 pitch on 'Wild Horses'
'Wild Horses' - WI6, 160m, Totem Tower, Alberta, Canadian Rockies
Retracing our steps back out, avoiding the unstable snow slopes directly below the route
A great alpine ice line, fantastic weather, amazing views across to Mt've got to love the Canadian Rockies!
Wild Horses - WI6, Totem Tower, Alberta
Heading back down after what we hope was the first ascent of this beautiful alpine ice route. We did as much homework as we could researching the route but couldn't find out any information about this line anywhere......we had to assume that it could be a first ascent
Our first break all day, before the 3 hour hike back down the valley to the Icefields Parkway &  then back to Lake Louise.
Dean enjoying the stop as much as I did..........the views & weather were amazing.
Exhausted on the descent, breaking trail in waist deep, unconsolidated, rotten snow for 3hrs................ but enjoying the adventure!
Our last view of the route, before heading back down the valley towards the Icefields Parkway.

A great day & hopefully a new route.......but if not, we had a fantastic adventure.
Safe climbing

Monday, 25 March 2013

Some Canadian Plums!

Great weather here in the Rockies at the moment

Heading up the Central Pillar WI5+, Weeping Wall, Alberta, Canadian Rockies

Weeping Pillar W!5+, Weeping Wall, Alberta, Canadian Rockies

Pilsner Pillar WI6, Field, British Columbia, Canadian Rockies

A rarely formed Bubble Wrap Blues WI5, Field, BC, Canadian Rockies

Pilsner Pillar WI6, Field, BC, Canadian Rockies

Beautiful climbing on the rarely formed Bubble Wrap Blues WI5, BC, Canadian Rockies

Bubble Wrap Blues WI5, Field, BC, Canadian Rockies

Pilsner Pillar, Field, BC, Canadian Rockies

Weeping Pillar WI5+, Alberta, Canadian Rockies

Enjoying the adventures!

Headed up the Icefields Parkway again today to look at a new line we spotted a few days ago. It's formed & looks a fantastic Alpine ice line, much longer than we thought but needs a different approach! as we hit some loaded snow slopes only a few hundred meters from the base of the route. We'll try again in the next day or two once we've given the legs a rest! It took us over 3hrs just to break trial & get in there!

Safe climbing


Thursday, 21 March 2013


Had a great day climbing Whitemans yesterday which was super steep & in fantastic condition.

Heading up the 1st pitch on Whitemans WI6, Kananaskis Country, Canadian Rockies
Very mixed weather & conditions at the moment with snow, high winds loading slopes making it difficult to get around in the mountains at the moment.
Joker WI4 on the left & the 'Candle Stick Maker' WI5+ tucked into a deep gully on the right
The Ghost, Canadian Rockies
Heading up the initial easier pitches of 'Candle Stick Maker'
We ended up turning around & heading back out, without climbing Candle Stick Maker due to the very strong winds & very high avalanche conditions we saw releasing wind slab pockets in between the pitches & the steeper ground beneath the route
Great conditions getting in & out of the Ghost at the moment
Heading up to Lake Louise & the Icefields Parkway today to check out conditions up there.........
Safe climbing

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Moonlight & Snowline in Kananaskis Country

Touched down in Canada yesterday & hanging out at a friends house in Calgary last night & today.

Snowy weather today, high winds & an avalanche forcast of 'Considerable' above the tree we decided to head into Kananaskis Country about 90km W/SW of Calgary to climb Moonlight & Snowline. Great routes, with an easy 1hr approach alongside a beautiful river creek, with the ice plastered onto the sides of a steep canyon wall.

Dean leading the 1st pitch of Moonlight WI4 - Snowline is the ice line just right of Moonlight - some great ice on both routes today
Dean leading an upper pitch on Moonlight today, Kananaskis Country, Canadian Rockies
Low avalanche risk & an easy approach make this a great venue in mixed conditions.
Dean enjoying some great climbing on the upper pitches of Moonlight today
Me enjoying the belay & climbing on Snowline today
Heading back into Kananaskis tomorrow as the avalanche hazard in still 'considerable' & we need to let things settle a little.
Cold though, minus 12 in Calgary today!
Safe climbing

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Good times!

Enjoying the steep stuff!

Crack Baby, Kandersteg

Namenlos, Blause, Kandersteg

Saule, Kandersteg

Dame du Lac, Montriond, Morzine

Repentance, Cogne
Back in the UK this week, having just had a great week with the family skiing over in Morzine.

Heading away to the Canadian Rockies on Saturday & chasing the ice over there for a couple of weeks which will be great. If the weather's settled I'd like to get in the mountains so fingers crossed.

Wicked Wanda, Canadian Rockies

Safe climbing