Sarah Hueniken and I had a fantastic adventure last week… hunting down a rare first ascent not far from home.
I have worked guiding ski touring in the Lake O’Hara area last year and this year and spotted this enticing waterfall that has not yet been climbed. WHY???
Its 12 km from the highway, not visible from the highway. There is an overhead serac, as well as avalanche slopes above and on the approach to the climb. While I toured in the area it caught my attention and I fantasized about climbing it. There are many times when I dream of climbing lines I see in the mountains. It is rare when it comes to fruition.
We almost didn’t get out of the car this morning. I knew there were lurking surface hoar layers and any new wind and snow would make it too hazardous to ascend. It was fairly windy and snowy in the parking lot and so we hesitated and weighed our options, luckily we decided to go take a look. As we got closer the wind and new snow dissipated.
Our packs were about 20kg and into the 3rd hour of approach they were weighing us dooon, luckily Bruce Millar, the extraordinary manager from Lake O’Hara lodge came by and gave us a pepping up and some great advice about how to approach the climb.
We were so lucky with the lack of sun, lack of wind and new snow, but yet totally reasonable temperatures. We find ourselves to be cold despite reasonable temps.. though. The ice was very technical- super hard and brittle, very layered and rotten, chandelier and hollow. There were only a few easy sticks that we greatly appreciated. We were psyched to do the route in 2 long pitches.
I felt like a thrasher on my pitch, I had a lot of cleaning to do and as a result I have many small nicks and bruises on my face. Not cool at all, but it hasn’t lessened my gratitude for a great day out.