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North America, Canada, British Columbia, Coast Mountains, Southwest British Columbia (Southern Coast Mountains and Canadian Cascades)

Southwest British Columbia (southern Coast Mountains and Canadian Cascades). 2007 was lean for new routes in southwest B.C., continuing a trend of the last few years. In part this is attributable to a natural tailing off after the great burst of activity that followed the release of the Alpine Select guidebook in 2001, but this year’s low level of new-routing can also be blamed on pernicious summer weather. By some accounts it rained every single weekend. Most new routes that were reported are from the drier inland portions of the range.

The season got off to a good start when Dave Bastercheea, Jack Hannan, and Jon Johnston, from the Whistler-Pemberton area, snowmobiled up the Lillooet River logging roads from Pemberton on March 31 and, taking advantage of a stable spring snowpack, made the second ascent and first ski descent of Beautiful Nightmare (1200+m, IV 60°) on the north face of Plinth Peak, at the edge of the Lillooet Icefields. The spring season was then uneventful.

While summer was largely rained out on the coast, a large party from the British Columbia

Mountaineering Club celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first ascent of Mt. Garibaldi by making an ascent of the Via Normale in period gear and clothing, the finding of which, from museums, old climbers’ basements, and thrift stores, proved to be the crux.

As for new routes, in July Tyler Linn, Nick Elson, and Sarah Panofsky climbed the first buttress right of the South Buttress/Beckey Route on Matriarch Mountain in Cathedral Provincial Park, perhaps the last unclimbed buttress on the massif. The route gave eight pitches, mostly in the 5.7-5.8 range but with a distinctive slab-to-roof crux. The entire route, left unnamed, is worthy of III 5.1la. Also in the Cascades, in late summer Craig McGee, Andre Ike, and Brad White climbed a route on the Les Cornes formation in the Anderson River Range. The Gatekeeper (IV 5.12a or 5.11d AO) consists of eight rope-stretching new pitches on the leftmost edge of the buttress and then finishes on the upper pitches of the classic Springbok Arête.

Near Chilliwack, in September Jeremy Frimer and Sarah Hart claimed a new seven-pitch 5.10c AO route on South Nesakwatch Spire, which they dubbed Hart of Starkness. However, the route is very close to a 2003 line, Bugaboo Crack, and portions of the earlier route or unreported variations since may intersect this newly claimed line. However, it seems that at least a portion of Jeremy and Sarah’s route may be new because of the amount of crack-cleaning that was required to find pro on parts of the line.

Garibaldi Park saw another possible first ascent in September, when Jordan Peters, Jesse Mason, and Paul Baker climbed the northwest buttress of Mt. Moe (III low 5th-class) after finding the north face of Weart out of condition. This line had not seen any previously reported activity, but due to its relatively easy nature and proximity to popular peaks, it is possible that it may have previously been climbed and left unreported.

Finally, in early December, Jesse Mason, Graham Rowbotham and I took advantage of an unusual spell of cold weather to climb the north face of Mt. Brice in the Cascades. This massive face (1,200m valley bottom to summit) had, due to its obscurity and somewhat remote location, not been previously attempted. After a seven-hour bushwhack to the base, we climbed the central gully on the face for 1,000m, with nine pitches of water ice to WI3/3+ followed by endless snow to the summit and a long headlamp descent back to Skagit River. The 23-hour car- to-car time prompted the name Graveyard Shift (IV WI3 60° snow).

Drew Brayshaw, Canada, AAC