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North America, Canada, British Columbia, Canadian Rockies, North Face of the Saskatchewan Mountain Massif, The Silver Lining

North Face of the Saskatchewan Mountain Massif, The Silver Lining. On April 5, Barry Blanchard, Steve House and I left the Big Bend parking lot on the Icefields Parkway and skied several kilometers toward the toe of the Saskatchewan Glacier. Our objective was the first steep chimney cutting through the 2,000-foot wall on the left side of the valley. The approach was made up a wind-blown slope to the base (about two hours from the car). The first pitch was the crux, requiring difficult dry tooling to spotty ice above a large roof. Due to unprotectable, detached ice, the next pitch followed a tricky rock comer to a cave on the left, followed by an exposed dry tooling traverse back to the ice. These pitches do not always form and in better times may be straight-forward ice. The next seven pitches followed classic alpine mixed and ice terrain up the gully. Highlights include a wild mixed section coming out of a large cave on pitch 8 and a difficult overhang on pitch 10. Pitch 11 avoids the obvious, bomb-bay chimney by traversing left to reach an easy gully that leads to the summit slopes. We walked off avalanche-prone slopes in the bowl to the west. The route is 14 200-foot rope lengths and was climbed in 12 belayed pitches. Most belays were off pitons, and none are fixed. We left two in-situ pins near the top. The route, The Silver Lining (IV 5.9 WI6R or so), was climbed in 19 hours car-to-car.

Joe Josephson, Calgary Mountain Club