Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Day 22 - Weeping Wall Right-Hand (180 m, III, WI5), Icefields Parkway

After climbing three routes in one day yesterday, Carsten P. Cooper-Jensen and I decided to climb a route with short access in order to save a bit of energy. The Lower Weeping Wall with 5 min walk-in is arguably the routes with shortest walk-in at the Canadian Rockies and we thus decided to go there.

As I had climbed the Central Pillar (180 m, III, WI5+) four years ago (read that story here) we decided to climb the Right-Hand side (180 m, III, WI5) this time. We slept to recover from the long day yesterday and thus got to the wall pretty late. However, we were lucky and got the route we wanted in spite of several other teams on the wall.

The Weeping Wall is south facing and as it was a warm and sunny day we got to climb the route in our upper underwear. Much to my surprise the ice was still firm from the cold night and it was thus extremely nice climbing. Carsten led the first pitch up to a bolted rock anchor under an overhang. Next it was my term to lead the crux middle pitch of a full rope length of vertical ice. Luckily I could choose a line in a groove with structured ice which provided good foot rests. The climbing was thus fun, technical and not too hard. Compared to my last time on the Weeping Wall the ice was much better and provided reasonable protection. Maybe I had also become better at choosing where to place ice screws!?

As Carsten got to the second belay we were just a short pitch from the top. Last time I had opted out of climbing this pitch as it looked easy and it was late in the day. However, this time I would like to finish the route. Carsten offered me to lead the pitch as he was a bit pumped from the crux pitch. A line to our left looked easiest, but I choose to go right in order to get directly to the tree belay of the rappel piste. The crux of the pitch was a 10-15 m long vertical curtain on questionable ice. I thus put in two screws (one for each rope) just before this section on what looked to be the last good ice I would see for a while and then climbed the curtain. Safe at the top I put in another screw and traversed to the anchor. I have to say that this last pitch offered more resistance than I thought it would and I can thus recommend to finish the climb rather that skipping this last "easy" step to the top!

Albeit the route itself was reasonably dry despite the warm weather we got totally soaked on the rappel. The bolted rappel anchors have been positioned under small overhangs which is good as it protects from falling ice and rock but bad as the it was raining from the overhanging rock! Luckily we had brought over Gore-Tex jackets on the route which now came in handy.

First time I led WI5 leash less and first time to ice climb in underwear! Well, there is a first for everything!

The Weeping Wall with our route and belays marked with green/red.

Carsten leading the first pitch.

Carsten at the bolted rock belay after pitch 1.

The author at the second belay, with the "easy" last section above.

The author leading the third (and final) pitch.

Carsten seconding the last pitch. Note the beautiful view.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work.

October 23, 2008 at 6:56 PM  

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