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#5788 - 01/30/10 08:41 AM Spray On
iceadmin/Will Gadd Offline
WI∞
WI8

Registered: 11/01/07
Posts: 359
Spray On, 30M, WI10, Helmcken Falls, BC. FA Will Gadd, Tim Emmett, January 29, 2010.

From the Helmcken Falls viewing platform walk toward Helmcken Falls. Scramble down into the first gully you come to, follow that to a 20M rap (with another climb to be named), contour toward falls. The lower portion of the back wall of the 400-foot cave is covered in ice, quantity and quality varies depending on the season. Lots of icicles, epic spray-on ice and drytool lines to do. In a good year you could probably get screws and natural gear; we couldn't 'cause it's been "too warm," so we bolted our line (12 bolts). It overhangs at about 45 degrees, a little pumpy to swing and sort sticks on that angle, thin ice.

There is some objective hazard in that when it warms up really big icicles fall like massive spears from hundreds of feet up, and the spray ice features get very, very delicate, like look funny at them and they fall off and would surely crush you if you were in the way. Heads up.

Definitely the coolest pure ice line I've climbed since Deep Throat with Jeff Lowe more than ten years ago. That had drytooling on it; this is all ICE! We're going back for more.

Forgot to add that you can stay at the Helmcken Falls Lodge for $125/night for two people, includes dinner and breakfast each night. That's a hell of a deal, and the food is good, they have beer, nice rooms, etc. There is a lot of ice to do around here...


Edited by iceadmin (01/31/10 09:16 AM)

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#5795 - 01/30/10 07:31 PM Re: Spray On [Re: iceadmin/Will Gadd]
kirwin Offline
WI7

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 168
WI10!!! Jeezus that sounds naaaarly smile

Nice work on the FA.

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#5804 - 01/30/10 09:08 PM Re: Spray On [Re: kirwin]
iceadmin/Will Gadd Offline
WI∞
WI8

Registered: 11/01/07
Posts: 359
It's super fun! Just have to pull a bit, and not get killed by the falling icicles.

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#5817 - 01/31/10 05:30 PM Re: Spray On [Re: iceadmin/Will Gadd]
grant Offline
WI6
***

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 158
Loc: Jasper/Columbia Icefield
spray on indeed.

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#5818 - 01/31/10 10:43 PM Re: Spray On [Re: grant]
iceadmin/Will Gadd Offline
WI∞
WI8

Registered: 11/01/07
Posts: 359
Exactly. Lots more spray on spray here: http://gravsports.blogspot.com/2010/01/spray-on.html

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#5830 - 02/01/10 04:30 PM Re: Spray On [Re: iceadmin/Will Gadd]
wade graham Offline

WI6

Registered: 11/20/07
Posts: 84
I am not sure about this one Will. I think this is a new medium. Yes it is steep. Yes it is ice. But it is bolt protected. For my definition of WI7 the protection has to be dubious at best and therefore this falls outside of that rhelm. I think the line is really blurry on this one. It is ice climbing but it isn't at the same time.

straight face my ass smile
_________________________
Wade Graham

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#5833 - 02/01/10 09:40 PM Re: Spray On [Re: wade graham]
jwilcox Offline

WI7
*****

Registered: 11/10/07
Posts: 263
Loc: Calgary, AB
In a world, where until now, all ice climbing was done placing protection... two men just had to go and change all of that.

They created.... SPORT ice climbing. grin

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#5835 - 02/01/10 10:04 PM Re: Spray On [Re: jwilcox]
iceadmin/Will Gadd Offline
WI∞
WI8

Registered: 11/01/07
Posts: 359
Ha ha, I'm not sure about it either, glad you both noticed the tongue firmly in ear, grin! I agree this is a new spin on an old game, and we're definitely having some fun with the grade and definition. But it really is something new to me, so damn much fun!

Lots of ice climbs have rock gear and or bolts obviously, or are protected primarily with rock gear. So the nature of the gear doesn't define the climb. Some are maybe assuming that the bolts are really close together; if you blow any clip on the route up to the 5th bolt you're hitting the ground, and it's not nice ground. That's sportier than a lot of the supposed "grade 7" ice climbs I've done over the years. If you can just control your head most grade six and seven ice climbs are technically not very challenging to follow, which says something about the grade on lead I think (that it's a mental game mostly, at least in my experience).

I agree it's very different, but for me this is the future of difficult ice climbing (and a few others from back in the day, more on that sometime else, but we're not the first to see this. Initials were JJ and whoever he was in Newfoundland with...).

It's definitely not mixed climbing either, nor is it alpine... New name suggestions? Maybe we'll rate it FCI 1, with the thought that new routes in there will open up the grade to FCI 2, etc...

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#5842 - 02/02/10 08:26 AM Re: Spray On [Re: iceadmin/Will Gadd]
nic-ran Offline
WI6

Registered: 11/07/08
Posts: 83
Loc: Cowtown
Maybe if you'd used spectres instead of bolts the WI10 naysayers would've been less vocal. Guess it depends how much you value your neck over your sprayability. Next evolution - climb it "clean". smile
Nice work.

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#5844 - 02/02/10 09:34 AM Re: Spray On [Re: iceadmin/Will Gadd]
grant Offline
WI6
***

Registered: 11/06/07
Posts: 158
Loc: Jasper/Columbia Icefield
Originally Posted By: iceadmin
Lots of ice climbs have rock gear and or bolts obviously, or are protected primarily with rock gear. So the nature of the gear doesn't define the climb. Some are maybe assuming that the bolts are really close together; if you blow any clip on the route up to the 5th bolt you're hitting the ground, and it's not nice ground. That's sportier than a lot of the supposed "grade 7" ice climbs I've done over the years. If you can just control your head most grade six and seven ice climbs are technically not very challenging to follow, which says something about the grade on lead I think (that it's a mental game mostly, at least in my experience).



I just don't understand why it isn't graded M10. If the pro is rock gear and the climbing is on ice, doesn't that pretty much make it an M-climb? Does an M-climb need to have drytooling moves for it to count as mixed route? If there is groundfall potential, wouldn't that just make it an R or X rated route?

I just don't get why it definitely isn't a mixed climb when that grading system (with the R or X) would be most appropriate and descriptive.

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