John Price and I climbed what we believe is a new route above O’Brien Lake near Taylor Lake, north-west of Castle Junction. It’s located on the north aspect of an unnamed peak south of Mt. Bell. High quality mixed climbing on good quartzite with no large slide paths threatening the route and a casual walk off. The walk off is exposed from slide paths coming off the south aspect of Mt. Bell but you could rap the route to limit exposure. With the exception of pitch 4, the gear is quite good and the belays are sheltered. The route went on natural gear, no bolts were placed. I scoped out this line while on a trail run with Sherri Castiglione earlier this Fall – it pays to exercise!
Park as for Taylor Lake, just off the trans-Canada highway, north of Castle Junction. Just before Taylor Lake, approximately 7km in, take the trail posted for O’Brien Lake and hike for another 2 kms. As you approach the lake look up and left (south) and you’ll see the skinny pillar that is the second pitch. Hike up the boulder field on the left near the end of the lake to access the start of the route. On the first ascent we geared up at lake to expedite our hike out after the walk off. 9kms and 840m gain to base. Most of the approach is on a good trail. 3-3.5hrs. Later in the year you may want to consider skis or snowshoes.
P1 – 30m, WI3. Start from the bottom of the route or scramble up 8m to a sheltered belay under a rock prow just right of the iced up corner. Excellent climbing with good gear to a sheltered belay in an alcove next to the base of the skinny pillar.
P2 – 40m, M6 WI5. Dry tool directly above the belay to gain the pillar where it fattens up. Mix climb up the base of the next pillar and clip a few pins under a roof before launching up the upper part of the pillar. Belay is up and right just after topping out. Best pitch of the route and most of the climbing is on ice. On our first attempt we used the 3 pins for a rappel but decided to leave them on the complete FA as they would have been awkward to clean.
P3 – 60m, WI3. Wallow up a short snow slope and into a sniced up corner for 60m to another short snow slope. Another excellent pitch.
From here we bumped the belay up 25m but there is nothing for a decent anchor. We hammered in a pecker for the belayer. The terrain is not steep here.
P4 – 30m, M5R. From this pitch on there is no ice and the nature of the route changes. The climbing isn’t hard but the gear isn’t very good on this pitch. Dry tool up the corner on the left with some decent frozen moss sticks to gain the next snow slope. We left 1 pin at the belay up and left. You could go straight up from the belay into a shallow scoop but we didn’t explore this option. The gear might be better but the climbing steeper.
P5 – 80m snow slope. Traverse the snow slope up and right approximately 80m to a solid belay just right of a blocky corner system. From here you can see the summit ridge 70m above. It looks like you could continue right into the next corner for a possible easier top out.
P6 – 30m, M5. Step left and into a short chimney with good gear and frozen mossed up corners and cracks. A few options for gear belays exist.
P7 – 40m, M6. Step left and follow corners and cracks with good gear to small cornice exit. Belay off one of the huge quartzite boulders.
What we brought - Single rack of cams .3-3” including a set of C3 cams 00-2, set of nuts, 6 screws, a good selection of pins (KBs, LAs, peckers), hammer, 12 alpine draws, ropes, and a good selection of inedible power bars 
From the top hike south to the pass between this peak and the adjacent peak and hike down(right) low angled slopes to the valley. This is the descent valley for Mt. Bell and leads to Obrien Lake. We walked the edges of the small frozen lakes to help avoid deeper trail breaking in the forest. 1.5 hours from the top to our bags at Obrien Lake. You could rap the route easily from to the top of pitch 4 before the traverse.
We named this climb after Fred Beckey, who passed away on the same day, at age 94 after a long life lived in the mountains. He was one of the greatest climbers of all time and established many routes throughout the Canadian Rockies and the world. I had the pleasure of spending time with Fred over the last 10 years and always looked forward to our next conversation. Climb on Fred.