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North America, Canada, Canadian Rockies, Waiparous River Valley, Cryophobia

Waiparous River Valley, Cryophobia. In February 2001 Shawn Huisman and I completed the first ascent of Cryophobia (V M8+ WI5+), the name meaning “fear of ice,” located in the remote Waiparous River Valley near the Ghost. We began working on this project the season before, but the route melted out by late December from warm Chinooks, so we returned the following year to finish it. It required over 10 days of work to aid, equip, and redpoint this futuristic line. It links thin ice smears with long stretches of overhanging rock on the 240-meter ice-streaked wall immediately right of the classic hard ice route, Hydrophobia (V WI5+). The approach itself is an epic ordeal involving a one and a half hour drive from Canmore on rough dirt roads, an hour on an ATV Quad Runner, and an hour bushwhack. This may well be the most sustained multipitch sport mixed route around, with its seven pitches going at M4, M7+, M8+, M7, M7+,M6, and WI5+. Every pitch is truly mixed, whether it is hooking an ice seam in a crack, stemming to basketball-sized ice blobs splattered onto the wall, or swinging onto free-hanging daggers. Due to the compact nature of the limestone, protection consists primarily of bolts that were placed on lead, aid-point style. Repeat ascents need only quick draws, a few midsize Camalots, and ice screws, including stubbies.

Sean Isaac, Canada