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North America, Canada, British Columbia, New Ice Routes

British Columbia, new ice routes. A few interesting new ice routes were unearthed on the B.C. coast over the past couple of seasons. First up was Rhapsody in Floyd (8 pitches, WI4, Chris Christie and I, March 2008) and Free Tibet! (9 pitches, WI5 M6 AO, Jim Martinello and I, April 2008). Both ascend the “Mini Moose,” the prominent granite buttress upstream of the established waterfall routes in North Joffre Creek. Free Tibet! has a bunch of bolts protecting the pitch two crux, which Craig McGee freed on an initial attempt at about M7 (from a stance after aid-bolting on lead). These and the previously established waterfall routes in North Joffre Creek are top quality, but the avalanche hazard in this valley cannot be overstated.

The 2008-9 season started well, with a protracted arctic outflow, and the Squamish locals actually started climbing before noon for a change. Most of the old ice classics were climbed, plus a few new ones up to four pitches long. Many of these routes may be found in the archives of westcoastice.com.

On March 18, 2009, Jesse Mason and I ended the season with a pleasant paddle down Seton Lake and established a new line on the right side of the Watersports waterfall that we called Piss and Vinegar (9 pitches, WI4+). This and the other Seton Lake routes are outrageously good but are seriously guarded by the winter winds, making canoe approaches no joke. A swamped boat here, and it’s game over. A no-wind day is mandatory unless you happen to have a tugboat.

Bruce Kay, Canada