Location: Stanley Headwall, Kootenay National Park, British Columbia
First Ascent: Dave Thomson, Sean Isaac -
April 1997 (pitches 1,2). Dave Thomson, Kefira Allen - Jan/Feb 1999 (pitches
#1: M7+, 20 metres. Begin at a two-bolt belay below and just
to the left of an obvious right trending, right facing corner with the dagger
hanging above. Climb a short section of face to access the corner and continue
past 9 bolts to gain the ice briefly before reaching another two-bolt belay
behind a narrow free-standing pillar. As the ice section on this pitch is
short and fairly straightforward it is not necessary to bring more than
Pitch #2: WI5+, 45 metres. climb the short pillar, which may be a bit fragile, and then a narrow stringer of good quality ice to the prominent ledge where this route crosses Mr. Hulot. Stop at an obvious two-bolt belay.
Pitch #3: M7+, WI6+, 25 metres. Climb an easy, pyramid shaped protrusion of rock to a bolt and then go straight up to the roof before pulling left onto the drip. There are five bolts before the roof and two after: one is just over the lip with a sling on it and the other is about 3 metres up from there just slightly to the left. Both of these may be covered by ice. The last bolt was installed to prevent a groundfall as the ice through this section sounds hollow enough to collapse. The rock wall here and above is very steep with many small roofs, so there are few places for the ice to get a decent grip. (In 97/98 the drip broke off about l5 metres up.) Climb gently and continue another l0 metres to a two-bolt belay in an alcove immediately to the right of the main pillar. This is the last bolted belay and it too may be covered by ice if the drip is exceptionally fat. (OOPS! Forgot to tighten the nut on the left bolt. Bring a small adjustable wrench and turn clockwise.)
Pitch #4, #5 and #6: A total of 85 metres of climbing on WI5 and WI6 ice. Good belays are to be had behind and to the right of the upper pillars. The first of these belays is about 40 metres up. After this point the quality of the ice improves and the difficulties diminish, relatively speaking. The last two pillars can be climbed as one pitch. (Spelunkers note: There is an interesting little cave behind the base of the upper pillar.)
Descent: Getting down is reasonably straightforward. Use ice anchors for the first two raps, which will reach the bolt belay on the ledge at the base of pitch three. From here, double 60-metre ropes will reach the ground. Alternately, break this into two short steps by stopping at the bolt belay at the top of pitch one.
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Copyright © White Spider, 1999
Copyright © David Thomson, 1999