American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, Canada, Canadian Rockies, Snow Dome, For Feathers to Serac Base

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2004

Snow Dome, For Fathers to serac base. This route is an obvious line, 600m to climber’s right of Slipstream (approach as for that route). Ski in, park da sticks, grab your picks, strap your balls on, and move like the Devil himself is chasing you, scramble and climb the serac-flavored ice tongue via center-left (450m, up to grade 3 ice), no rest for the wicked, head over to the base of the line via the upper cirque (watch, some of the crevasses are too big to name), dance and climb like no one’s watchin’ up many pitches of tiered WI2-4, then 90m of WI5 to an ice cave on the right, exhale, then in again—WI6 for the next full pitch, belay on climber’s right ice rib, look up at a way out, like taxes and mother-in- laws, and attempt it… why? cause topping out is faster than having to swallow your tongue and rapping, sooooo … we moved up on the right side, put in two screws, and lightly climbed into a slight gully feature for 18 feet, got on the delicate serac ice without swinging, just light hooking, tried to chip a hook then … I could smell death … the scream of an ancient animal, I awoke the dead … tried to make myself small and made a stupid face … nothing happened for enough time to think I was okay... then…... Boom!… 10' wide x 5' thick x 30' high crashed all around me, above me, and one wedge the size of a microwave divided me between my tools and my head, hitting my waist, causing my first-ever ice ride in 14 years of ice climbing. There was so much ice falling with me, that’s all Tom Schnugg could see. My 13cm screw with no Screamer held, I’d landed on my side after the biggest football team north of the border had their way with me. Tom lowered me, barely making it to the belay. After a quick check, and in shock, I tried two other possible ways, no apples. The last time I tried to top out: more serac screams and shifting iceness. Fuck it, the route ends here, half a rope of unclimbable, multifaceted, very symmetrical, matrix-like wedges and shapes stops any man or woman from standing on top. We rapped the route and got back to Jasper by 10:30 that night.

David Marra, Canada

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