Since I am not climbing much, I have been posting photos and stories of old first ascents of mine that have lost the photos on the original posts. This is an fa on Snow Creek Wall that may not have happened if the White Slabs route hadn’t already had a party on it. Peter left a hint about the N. Dihedral, so I threw in a bit of rock gear and the rest is history, hope you enjoy , and stay flexible in your plans, Wayne
Saturday(Feb 7-2007) Gary Yngve and I,Wayne Wallace, climbed the thin line left of White Slabs route on Snow Creek Wall. It went in 5 long pitches and was extremely difficult.The route got gradually harder as we went, which helped because we were both off-the-couch. The initial 2 pitches went up fantastic thin ribbons up ramps and micro gulleys. Though thin,hard,and awkward they entertained us for the first 120 meters immensely. At times the ice was 4 inches wide, half inch thick!They ended up in a wide curtain that felt very thick though an inch and a half deep.I ran this out 100 feet to reach the stance below the overhanging ice crux pillar.
The ice pillar was short but extremely strenuous due to the overhanging angle. After that we entered a Scottish style ice gulley, more fun, though Gary had to relieve himself midway while following.
Pitch 4 went up thin ice in the dihedral until the ice ran out then became very difficult dry tooling in a long sketchy lead. At times I felt I could fall and die on the runout. Pitch 5 was easier though the deep snow and short hard sequences drained any energy we may have had available. Topping out after 8 hard hours we reveled in the glow of our first climb together.
Hats off to Peter for dropping the hint of this climb,and Rat and Caps for exploring to make this an enticing prospect and wonderful testpiece.
P1; m4 wi3 thin connecting ribbons
P2: m5 wi3+(R) Thin! Belay at top is amazing!
P3 : wi5- short overhanging pillar followed by scottish gulley
P4 : m6 wi4(R) disappearing thin ice to hard corner-dry
P5: m3 wi3 energy gobbling friggin around
Overall: IV-WI5-M6-R 300m, Placed 4 pins on 3 pitches,I believe. This is the first route to the right of Outer Space.
It was just my kind of route with so much variety. A little piece of climbing heaven in a spectacular-historic location.
Glad you enjoyed the tr, I enjoyed the other fantastic ones on this site for sure!
Thanks< Wayne and Gary
From Gary: Wow, I am f’n thrashed. I was getting over a cold, and I think the cold just came back for an encore. But the climb was worth it. I had a great time climbing with Wayne. Even though I’ve chatted with him at Pub Clubs, read about his exploits, etc., I never really had an idea how tough he is until he ropegunned me up these five pitches.
White Slabs on the right, Northern Dihedrals Direct on the left. The inset offers a little better view inside the dihedrals.
We couldn’t see the wall until we were roughly right across it and we had gotten above the clouds. A party was at the base of White Slabs, which may have made it easier for Wayne to get stoked about the left route.
The first pitches consisted of thin runnels with the occasional mixed move.
For the most part, the belays were pretty sheltered
Wayne forgot to mention that on the 2nd pitch, he had to downclimb 40 feet to retrieve the first piece he placed (a gold camalot) so he could protect the moves to come.
The crux of the 2nd pitch was an off-balance dog-leg runnel of thin ice.
The ice got thicker, and Wayne belayed below the base of the pillar.
Wayne was happy to sink an 18cm screw to the hilt!
The ice steepened considerably, and was thin in spots.
Above the ice was short snow slog and then a sweet narrow icy gully.
Wayne enjoyed the good ice while it lasted.
Then the mixed climbing became delicate, then desperate.
I flailed up the mixed moves, slipping a few times and happily hooking a fixed pin, all while wondering how the hell Wayne managed to lead it with the potential consequences of a nasty fall. The mixed moves were full-body workouts.
The last pitch certainly wasn’t a gimme. Some fun mixed moves, thigh-deep snow groveling, and a little bushwhacking. Capped off with a classic finish through a tunnel.
We walked off the backside, scrambling down two short rock steps.