Weeping Pillar, and Hydrophobia

I sent Steve a list of 20 routes that I most wanted to climb in the Canadian Rockies. Ticking one or 2 off each season is an ideal way to feel good about a given ice season. He told me that over half of the climbs on the list were now known to be in good condition. After a couple of warm-up days and I roped Nic into meeting me for a romp to Icefields Parkway for a run at Weeping Pillar. When we got there we found 2 parties with the same idea. The upper party bailed after the 1st pitch of Weeping Pillar route. Large daggers and the heat of the bright sun sent them back to the car. The other party was a late arrival that knew today wasnt the day to crowd the climb. So up we went, getting soaked in the runny, steep ice. I chose the right side of the Pillar to avoid weird ice formations, and provide great cave belays to protect belayers from the funky ice falling from above. What an incredible experience this climb was, we could not contain our excitement from this big, and amazing route. We laughed and reveled about it until we parted ways again the next day.

2 rest days later, and I was able to talk Tim and Andy into driving into the Waiparous Valley for our first time. Hydrophobia was the route on the list that they saw as the most interesting. That was to prove to be a great call on our part. We did the obligatory strategy session with the Colonel the night before, and were on our way out at 430 am. We arrived at first light donning chains for the last few miles. We had the bare minimum vehicle and chains to get in the 4wd roads. The suburban made it though with a few rally points and shoveling! Thanks Andy for the great driving job. Hydrophobia is the most visually striking route I can think of. It looks like something from a comic or fantasy book. The eye struggles to recognize scale and steepness in its bizarre layout. As an ice route, it is in a class of its own. It frequently has great ice, and is seldom drippy. We caught it in perfect temps(32f), and had mostly great ice. The only issue was the winds kicked up great amounts of spindrift snow. We were also grateful to have borrowed Steves 70 meter ropes for the long, pumpy leads. We all went back tired and happy from one of the best climbs imaginable. Huge thanks to Steve for every thing he provides to the community.

I just finished the trip, here is the damage:

1-9-15 Grotto Falls 4p to wi4, m6 w steve

1-10-15 Marble Canyon 3p to wi4 w Nic, Stuart

1-12-15 Sniveling to Weeping Pillar V-wi6 6p w/Nic

1-15-15 Hydrophobia V-WI 5+ 3p

1-17-15 Twisted III-wi5 3p w/ Steve, Bill

1-20-15 Curtain Call IV-WI6 w/ Tyler, Nic (41p for season)

The wish list and current conditions (1-21-2015):

  • Wolf Street, thin
  • French Reality, thin
  • Red Man Soars, not sure/no
  • Amadeus, no
  • Kidd, in
  • Sacre Blue, in, avy concerns
  • Sea of Vapors, just came in, thin
  • Cryophobia, thin/no, see photos
  • Hydrophobia, in
  • Superbok, thin, in
  • Pilsner Pillar, in
  • French Maid, maybe
  • Tabernac Bowl, thin, in
  • Mixed Master, no
  • Curtain Call, in
  • Riptide,in
  • Weeping Pillar,in
  • Unicorn, no
  • Virtual Reality, no
  • Ice Nine, in
  • Bourgeau Left, in
  • Big Drip, in
  • Twisted,in
  • Cascade Kronenburg,in

Pictures! :



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