FA J. Mills, K.Irwin - Nov 9, 2017
‘Grab the Cupcakes’ is a good addition to the climbs in Protection Valley, between Castle Mountain and Protection Mountain. The top portion of the route may be visible high on the wall directly across from ‘Superlight’ in the left hand fork. 6 pitches of high quality mixed climbing on natural gear takes you to the top of the wall. We did not scout this route ahead of the first ascent. Our original plan was to repeat a Guy Lacelle route (Arian petit Gremlin) in the right hand fork of the valley but walked into the left hand fork to have a closer look for future options. Luckily our light rack was enough to get the job done.
With minimal snow expect a 3hr approach. Park in a small pullout on the west side of the 1A directly across the street from the cook shelter at the campground. Cut through the campground and continue walking east, crossing a power line before heading up into the forest staying high above the drainage on the left. After approximately 6km side hill toward the drainage and drop in near the head of the valley and a boulder field. Cross the drainage to the right side and scramble up a short wall to gain the hanging valley. Once past a very large and impressive boulder take the left fork and cross the flats until just below the route which is visible up and right, directly across from the mixed route ‘Superlight’. Hike up scree for 5 minutes to the obvious wide chimney system and a small boulder that marks the start of the route.
P1 – 60m M5
Start at the base of the wide chimney system. At 50m you enter a large chimney with a strip of ice on the right wall. Belay off the ice. Excellent mixed climbing with solid pro.
P2 – 70m WI3+
Follow the strip if ice to easier terrain and belay off rock on the left side.
P3 – 70m M4
Climb slabby rock aiming for the ice strip up and left. Climb the ice to a good stance and belay off rock just below a steep and narrowing strip of ice.
P4 – 35m M5+
Climb the gradually narrowing strip of ice until just below a larger curtain of ice. We belayed off screws at the base of the curtain.
P5 – 45m WI4+ M4
Follow the ice for 30m to a good stance. Dry tool up the crack on your left until it narrows then step right onto a chalkstone and belay in the corner. From here you can see the top up and left.
P6 – 30m M6
Step left and overcome a short steep section with good tool placements behind a well attached block on your right. Easier climbing leads to a mossy covered and loose finish. We belayed off rock gear at the edge of the cliff.
Rappel the route.
Full set of cams to 2”, nuts, 8-10 screws (mostly short), a selection of pins, 70m ropes useful