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North America, Canada, Canadian Rockies and Coast Range, Mount Birdwood, East Face

Mount Birdwood, East Face. On February 27, Keith Haberl and I climbed a new line of water ice, snow gullies and mixed ground that led directly to the summit of Mount Birdwood. The route is visible from the Burstall Pass parking lot, forty minutes from Canmore. We skied 2 1/2 hours to the base of the face. After 100 meters of easy mixed ground and a short vertical ice pillar, we reached the main ice pitches. Two pitches of thin grade 5+ waterfall climbing took us to an ice dagger out of reach. We traversed right on a very mixed ramp of snow, ice, and some aid to where a pendulum got us back on the ice above the ice dagger. Two more long grade-4 ice pitches put us into an easy snow gully and mixed ground where we belayed, questioning the snow stability. We topped out on the summit ridge at ten P.M. and called it quits. Twelve long rappels and a long ski got us back to the trailhead 22 hours after setting out.

Larry Stanier, Mountain Guide, Canmore, Alberta, Canada