Saturday, April 5, 2008

Oh Canada Eh!

Our two big Stanley routes
Nightmare' on the left and French Reality on right

Nick Bullock and I have the next 3 weeks out in the Canadian Rockies. We're hoping for a couple of adventures in the mountains but to get us going we've spent our first few days on the ice and mixed "crags". Well when I say "crags" this doesn't do justice to the Stanley Headwall, which leading local climber Rapheal Slawinski calls "The premier hard ice and mixed crag in the Canadian Rockies, and a testing ground for winter climbing since 1974." I'd describe this place as like Ceuse for winter climbers. Theres a similar uphill approach (1 1/2 - 2 hours on skis) and each of the routes is notable in terms of quality and difficulty. Infact at Stanley the most ammenable route is the fearsome 150m WI6 Nemesis.

Nick on the first pitch of French Reality

Ian on the M7+ start to Nightmare' (photo Nick Bullock)

We opted for first French Reality (V 5.8 WI6+) and then the following day Nightmare on Wolfe Street (V M7+ WI6+). Both of these were about 170m long with Nightmare in particular being a total armblaster. We both felt these two routes were about as good as mixed climbing gets for lines of this length. It was nice to do Nightmare too, as this was one of the big first ascents by Sean Isaac, a friend from Canmore who I climbed with in Scotland on the last International Meet. So a much needed rest day today but not a bad start 2 big routes in the first 3 days of our trip.

Nick pulling onto the WI6+ ice after the mixed crux

A happy Nick

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