Alpine Club Of Canada

Thunder Bay Section

2008 - 2009 Ice Conditions Archive

Read This First!

CAUTION! Scrambling, technical rock, ice and mixed climbing and mountaineering activities are, by their very nature, potentially hazardous activities. You could be severely injured or killed while participating in them. The information presented in these conditions and trip reports is intended to supplement, NOT replace, sound judgement and experience. The accuracy or truth of any information presented here cannot be guaranteed and may change with time. Conditions in a given area or on a particular climb may (and likely will) vary from day to day or even hour to hour. Ice and mixed climbs in particular may vary considerably in safety, stability and overall condition over a short period of time. The onus is on the individual to verify the applicability of the information presented here to a given time and environment before using it as the basis of any kind of decision. This must not be your only source of information on any given subject. Seek additional information from guidebooks, reputable climbing schools, mountain guides, local climbers, Park Wardens and Rangers. Common sense and a strong will to survive must pervade your thoughts and actions. By using the information contained here, you are releasing the authors, contributors and The Alpine Club of Canada from any liability for any injury, including death, that may occur. You have been warned.

These conditions reports are limited to climbs in the Thunder Bay region, and to areas west of and including Thunder Bay, Orient Bay, Kama Hills and Ice Station Superior. All folks posting conditions are required to log in with a valid email address and password. As well, keep your postings clean and limited to conditions reports - this is not intended as a forum for discussion. Any postings containing foul language, erroneous information, false reports, slander, spam or other malicious content will be edited or removed at the discretion of the webmaster. As a rule the ACC Thunder Bay Section does not promote climbing without protective gear such as helmets or ropes. Any posts that suggest soloing or have photos of climbers without protective gear will be edited or removed. Censorship is definitely NOT cool, unfortunately these are our rules.

That said, get out there and start climbing!

If you want a location on any of the routes listed you may find them in the Community Maps

Here are some very old and outdated maps we have laying around.

Orient Bay Marathon

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Ice Conditions Report Archives
2006 - 2007
2007 - 2008
2008 - 2009
2009 - 2010
2010 - 2011
2011 - 2012
2012 - 2013
2013 - 2014
2014 - 2015

Ice stud (The Bowl)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:Sunday, April 12
Report:Nick and I did an early morning romp up Ice Stud chasing the rays of the rising sun. House to house was about an hour forty and good preparation for Easter feasting. Check out the first post on this conditions page for comparisons.

Psycho Icicle (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:April 4, 2009
Report:Deb and I climbed Psycho today which is big and in fine form.  OB didn't see any of the snow we got hit with earlier in the week so the approach over the frozen crust was easy.  We needed the belay jackets this morning as it was a bit on the cold side in the shade and the wind at the top didn't help much either.  Overall the climb is dry from top to bottom except for a few trickles which can been seen in the pictures.  There was a 1cm crust over most of the climb but it doesn't effect the climbing at all. Easy climbing no matter what line you pick and both rappel stations are good.   The sun finally got to the base of the climb around 2pm just as we were leaving...nuts!

The following OB climbs still look good:  Andromeda, Tears of Joy , Obsession, Gomar Falls, Aqua Blue, Hully Gully and even Mellow Yellow looks ok.  Everything else in the sun is quite snowy.

Ice Stud (The Bowl)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:April 1, 2009
Report:A few days ago, but...

Wes was after day #40 to end his season before he left for a wee trip (just checked, only 43 for me this winter!), and we both decided we could use a work out, so we plowed through the new snow on Wednesday up to Ice Stud.  As expected, the climb is in it's usual great spring conditions, and the first pitch (photo) is the best it's been all year.  Ideal soft ice, but the warmer weather was certainly sending a few warning bells in the area.  Lots of loose rocks and blocks around the climb, and while nothing came down the gully proper I did notice some loose rocks tumbling on the cliffs nearby.  The sunny climbs (CC and WL) across the way were actively dropping ice and rubble was clattering nearby, reminded me of summer in the Rockies - probably wise to avoid that area for now.

I know it's not ice, but Jenn and I were at Pass Lake cragging on Monday in the sun, and it sure felt nice.  A bit of moisture here and there in the cracks, but perfect warm dry rock on the face routes!

Various (OB)
Submitted by:James Loveridge
Climbed on:March 22, 23
Report:I apologize for the tardy post. I'm a slacker... Sunday the 22nd - Climbed "Off the Couch" which was as fun as usual, albeit awkward now that most of the ice down low is detached or gone. Then headed over to "She-Ra and the SNAG" again (see new route posting) and re led it for Nick's camera. It was well harder this time (M7+) as there was no fat dagger to step onto. I had to get almost horizontal to reach the ice and came close to considering a figure 4 but found a foothold that let me refrain from that silliness. I then pressured Nick relentlessly to give it a go with the gear in-situ (so I could turn the lens on him for a change!) and he finally weakened and acquiesced. Unfortunately, so did his forearms… Monday Guy Lacelle, Erin and I climbed Andromeda, Starquake and Obsession. All were in great shape and I suspect still are even now. As for the rest of this season? The only ice I'll see will be reducing inflammation from rock climbing injuries or in cocktails...

She Ra and the Snag (Orient Bay, more right of AmyR then TheRightStuff)
Submitted by:Burton Lindquist
Climbed on:3/29/09
Report:The new Jlo mixed route (brilliant) pictured in the photos posted by Dave Rone below.

Reflection Wall, new M-route, new Jlo M-route (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Dave Rone
Climbed on:March 28, 29, 2009
Report:Burt Lindquist and I climbed Reflection Wall on Saturday morning.  It was still in decent shape, but pretty wet on the right side.  Afterward, we completed a new M-route about 50' to the left of Reflection Wall.  Details are in the new ice routes section.

On Sunday we took Nick's advice and climbed one of James' new M-routes (don't know the name), the right-most hanging dagger up and right of Amy R/Right Stuff.  Comparing it to the photo of Nick on it a week earlier, the dagger was significantly longer for us, making the pull onto the ice easier I suspect.  Great route!  Good pro, positive tools, variety of movement.

Sad to say that's it for me this season.  It was great to see old friends, and make new ones.  Already lookin' forward to next year.  Ciao!

General Conditions (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:29-Mar-2009
Report:So Nick and I went to Kama looking for NEW ice on Sunday. The routes we intended on climbing deteriorated to the point of not being climbable, so we went in search of another route we had spotted. We grabbed all the necessary gear and began our adventure.
The route is posted in the New Routes section.

As for the rest of Kama It is suffer badly. The gully climbs should be good for another week or so but anything that sees any amount of sun, look pretty bad

Waiting for the Dog (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:March 28, 2009
Report:Here's pictures of Waiting for the Dog and Steve's Ice Fall.

Starquake, Evil Des Sens (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:March 28, 2009
Report:Kyle, Duncan and I had a lazy day of "social climbing" in OB today, cold morning - the recent warmer weather has made us wimps!  Intelligently enough, we started the day in the deep shade on Starquake, still pretty good conditions overall with great pro.  We all agreed that the reports of the climb being a notch easier are now dated, we felt the climb was climbing as graded in the guidebook today.  Very brittle this morning, the crux was keeping our hands warm.

Andromeda Weeps also looks to be in great shape, but we opted to chase sun and instead headed for the Ice Palace, climbing Evil Des Sens, which is nothing short of excellent right now.  A punky lower pillar gives way to excellent ice on the crux and stellar climbing higher up on fresh ice most of the way, looks much better than it did last weekend overall.

Tears of Joy (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:March 28, 2009
Report:So what's the verdict?  Is there still ice left after the rain?  The answer to that is YES, and lots of it.  Wes and I climbed Tears of Joy this morning which was absolutely huge and a bit angry in the cold temps.  What I mean by angry is that with Wes's first swing into the ice the whole climb cracked and boomed.  A small piece actually broke off 5m away from him and rolled down the approach.  Both pitches were pretty much dry until the last 10m of the second pitch.  

Next we ran up to Waiting for the Dog and Steve's ice fall which have filled in nicely.  Ran is the key word because that was the quickest approach ever for us to that climb (15 minutes) with snowshoes over the frozen snow.  Waiting for the Dog was a bit airy at the bottom but once you got up a couple of body lengths the gear was great.  Steve's ice fall was wet from top to bottom so it made for quick climbing and soaking wet ropes.

Many of OB's climbs that are not directly in the sun seemed to have their second wind with the rain and recent cold temps.  Looks like we may have a couple more weeks of climbing.

Various (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:March 22, 2009
Report:Jenn and I inadvertently arrived for the big social event in OB today (why are Canadians always the minority there these days, EH?!  If it wasn't for Guy, we would've been outnumbered 6 to 1!).  Lots of parties from south of the border climbing on all the ice palace classics, all very sun-affected but climbing quite well nonetheless and worthwhile.  Jon was kind enough to let me have 10% Real despite our late arrival, quite fun and straightforward for the grade until the very top, which has become quite thin/detached/rotten, I was glad to have a smaller TCU for a horizontal out right just before the top.  Last time I'll do that one this season, a shame since the lower part is so good right now.

Afterward we went sun tanning at the beach, aka the Amy R/Right Stuff/Wet Stuff area with James and Erin (and eventually the whole gang), which was spectacular.  James has put up a couple of new M7ish routes on the daggers to the right - he should post some details in the New Routes section soon I hope - they are very worthwhile and posing on his right-hand line afterwards I thought the route was one of the best I've done at that grade (with lots of dangling).  Now I know what it's like for all the poor suckers that have been in front of my camera all these years - I hate it!

Thanks to all for a great day, we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Stone Cold Cowboys, Deception Chimney (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:March 21, 2009
Report:Just to add a bit more info to Brian's post...great spring conditions up in the GO area at Kama - but stay the heck out from out under those daggers on Getting Oriented!  Pat and I also climbed a route about 5-10 m right of PG-13, just around the corner of the free-standing buttress on the right edge of the climb, you finish just right of PG-13 at the top and can belay off that climb's rap station - very worthwhile, well-protected M5 WI4, eats gear.  If Mr. Kama (aka Matt) figures it's new I'll post it.

Update:  Turns out this route is Stone Cold Cowboys (Meinen-Banfield 2003) when I looked into my guidebook project folder.  Well worth repeating in it's present shape, excellent protection and fun climbing.  The description I have does it in two pitches, really not worth it though, it's easily (and more efficiently) done in one pitch.

Full agreement, PG-13 is spectacular right now.  We also climbed Deception Chimney, a bit thinner than I remember but climbs much easier than it looks (hence the name).  Took rock gear but used none, found reasonable 13-16 cm screws.  5 m of easy but loose rock climbing at the top (easier on the right side).  A good one if you're looking to start pushing into the more difficult routes with a mixed bent to them.  Just wish it was longer!

Getting Oriented Area (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:March 21, 2009
Report:A large group of us headed up to the Getting Oriented area for some spring climbing.  Getting Oriented was wet from top to bottom and was climbing at about 4+.  Good gear throughout and you can exit either left or right.  New rapple anchor installed on the left exit.  Some big daggers hanging overhead to the left so watch out for these.  Next door, PG13, was thin down low and yucky up top however this was by far the best climb of the day.  One could get good gear down low but the crux move is the umbrella at the top.  A serious pull to get over this one then its all gravy.  A short hike along the cliff base brings you to The Seige.  Dry, brittle ice on this one but straight forward steep climbing.  Great gear.  Nick and Patrick did 2 other lines in the immediate area as well.

Artesian Wells/Side Show (Whitefish Lake)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:16-Mar-2009
Report:Today I woke up with eye trouble. I couldn’t see myself going to work! I really need to see a Dr. about that. I figure they would just tell me to ice it. So I did just that. I packed my rope soloing rig, made a call to Paul at Artesian Wells Resort to make sure it was still OK to park on his property, and I was off to Artesian Wells as I had heard a crazy rumor that Sideshow was starting to form as of a month ago.
Well Holy ‘O’ Crap was I pleasantly surprised. Not only has it formed but it is almost twice the size it was when the FA was made. I suppose there may be a WI5 line up the thing but I doubt it. I found it pretty text book WI4+ today. There was beautiful soft ice from bottom to top. The gear was excellent.
Since I was alone, that means I also had to hump all the gear in. I was pretty bagged after this climb to bother running a line up Artesian. The ice started falling from the top so that also made the decision to leave early, easy.
Artesian Wells is also fatter than I have even seen. Normally this route gets very burly as the season progresses. As of now there is still a WI4+ line to the top between the umbrellas. There are also some steeper lines to keep things interesting.
There was lots of water on both routes. I figure get there early and leave before the temps warm up too much. In the time it took me to set my ground anchor the temps warmed by 2 degrees. That was enough to start a small drip from above. By halfway it turned into a little sprinkle. By the time I rapped and cleaned gear, it was a light rain.
Caution: As the temps warm up the cliff started spitting rocks off at an alarming rate.
Another route put up the same year as Sideshow, called Late Show also formed this year but is in real bad shape and I watched a butt load of rock fall down the gully so I would avoid this route all together.
The lake crossing was pretty good. I wore snow shoes to make things easier.

The Trickle Trunk. Running With Scissors (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:14-Mar-2009
Report:Dave Rone and I went into the the Trickle Trunk area to sniff out a new route I have been watching for 2 months. I am not sure it got much bigger since the first time I walk to it. I had to bring in the big guns to send this rig. Details and a photo to follow. As soon as we get it figured out we'll post it.
After we sent we walked over to The Trickle Trunk to see if it got any fatter since Brian and I climbed it in Nov. Nope! In fact I could see Brian's screw holes that still had threads with frost. Not a drip of water since Nov. The gear was good until the ice ran out. Then you need to dry tool to the finish. There are some roots to sling so it is not totally insecure. Maybe M4 or M5- climbing.
Since Running With Scissors most likely hasn’t seen a repeat Dave gave it a good as well. It was fun. It has a tad more ice on it now than during the FA. Fun steep climbing on awkward ice. There is some new dead fall so the traverse is now 10 feet lower and even more awkward than the original route.
The trail is now broken so get after it, if you want them. If they weren’t cool routes I wouldn’t go back every year.
Side note, Yesterday at the Ice Breakers area we installed a new anchor atop Ice Breakers, Whimpsickle, and Hell Chimney.
UPDATE: new route added!

Icebreakers, Hell's Chimney, Whimpsickle (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:March 15, 2009
Report:Since Jenn ditched me to go girls-only climbing today, Wes and Dave were kind enough to let me tag along with them to Kama Bay, and we had an excellent day finding great conditions in the Icebreakers area.  Snowshoes are mandatory, even with the trail we had to break to get in.

Wes "warmed" us up on Icebreakers, taking the hero line through the umbrellas at the top (which have some alarming cracks and fractures in them...), overall it's climbing about as usual.  Dave then styled Hell's Chimney, which is in great shape as Matt reported, it's a pure ice route top to bottom this season - I've never seen so much ice on it before.  Finally, the guys let me have Whimpsickle, still fat but very sun rotted, not perfect pro either, and we got hosed with water dumbly leaving it until last in the sun.  It's starting to get past it for this season, I won't go up it again this year.  Although fatter than usual, I thought it climbed harder than when it's thin.  More difficult than the guidebook grade to be sure.

Kyle, Duncan and John showed up intelligently late enough for us to break trail (note to self, sleep later next time!) and climbed Icebreakers Arete (looks friendlier this year, no nasty umbrellas at the top) and we're on their way up Thermocules as we left, which looked a lot nastier than usual.

All exposed climbs at Kama are definitely being beaten by the sun and warm temps, though the chimney routes all still looked good and should last for a while even with the warm forecast this week. 

Excellent day, excellent setting, great company.

Grandy Mardy Falls (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:March 14, 2009
Report:Frank and I hiked the river up to Grandy Mardy Falls today and despite there being quit a bit of snow to plow through the river climbs were lots of fun.  It wasn't long before we were joined by Nick, Jenn and the puppy.   The main climb is absolutely huge and dry, climbing 3+ ish.  The right lines are big as well but some had lots of water dripping down them.  The far left line is cruiser easy and not very long.  Added a new rapple anchor at the top of the bowl on the main climb.  Now that the trail is broken in and if the temps stay warm there's no reason not to check out these climbs.

Nightfall (Devil'sTrack R. (Grand Marais Area))
Submitted by:fabio zorzes
Climbed on:Mar. 07/07
Report:Robin Sare and myself took a drive south of the border to check out this perennial favourite and as usual, we were not disappointed.  The 25 min. walk in along the Devil's Track River gorge is spectacular especially since 5 or 6 small but steep icefalls have formed enroute to the main climbing area.  The ice at Nightfall is in pretty decent shape although there is a bit of water flowing in the centre portion - this is easily avoided though.  The climb rates about  a 3 or 3+ rating in some sections, however it is quite long and a pair or 60 metre ropes will not get you all the way down if you set up your anchor at the very top of the last pitch.  Upon rapelling down, I noticed an anchor about 15 metres lower on the left side, so this may get you down but I'm not sure.  Overall, it's a fun climb well worth the extra driving however, there is a very real objective danger of falling ice and rock so the belayer has to be extremely vigilant in this regard.

Powerline Falls (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:March 8, 2009

Wes, Jamie and I climbed Powerline Falls on Sunday which still offers lots of fun.  Temps were cold and the ice "angry" at times but by noon the sun filled the bowl and all was good.  The left climb is quite rotten with all the sun lately so you'll have to dig for the gear but its easy 3/3+ climbing.  Watch out at the top as you'll need to stay left to get to the anchor as someone, who will remain nameless, got a boot full of icy water to the right.  While enjoying the warmth of our dry boots, Jamie and I did a number of lines on the main wall which varied from grades 4 to 4+.  Wes jumped on the pillar to the right of the main wall which was a steep 5 and a really good pump.  The far right lines are all in but we never climbed them as they looked bulletproof. 

Parallax,Starquake,Andromeda Weeps (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:7-Mar-2009
Report:Brian, Jamie, and myself were in OB yesturday to bang off a few steep lines. I started the day on Parallax. From the road I could see the fracture across the top but figured I would go up and give it a wack to see how it sounded. In the attached photo it appears as though this climb is a detached pillar. It isn't. Behind the pillar on the right side, it is attached to the rock for almost the entire height of the pillar.
It climbs great. It doesn't take long before the climbing starts. Very steep and sustained, as per usual. It took 'good enough' gear until above the 4 inch fracture line. After that the climb eases back a tad and thins out. Cool climbing.

It was on to Starquake. Brian lead this one. The climbing was fun. It is not too serious. A couple tough moves through the middle crux then it lays back quite a bit. The gear was excellant all the way. I good tick for those who haven't lead it yet. WI4+ at the most.
Jamie leab Andromeda to finish out the day. The climbing is always fun on this area classic. The gear was excellent. WI3+ climbing. We installed a new rap anchor at the top of the second pitch.

Lost Falls (Thunder Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:March 8, 2009
Report:After a last minute change of plans, Jenn, Frank and I climbed Lost Falls today, and I was glad we did.  Been a few years since I've been up there.  The approach trails are currently in great shape, liking walking on a sidewalk, no snowshoes needed.

The climb itself offers some very interesting climbing over neat formations and fun, easy, blocky mixed climbing or neat umbrella options, all at a friendly grade, probably about the same grade as Ice Stud right now, but more interesting climbing.

I noted a couple v-threads at the mid point, and evidence of rapping off trees far back from the main climb.  For those that aren't aware of it, there is a solid, permanent rap station on a large red pine used by summer rock climbers on the buttress to the climber's right of the climb (walk back across from the top of the climb).  Aside from being a great photo vantage point, a single rope rap deposits you right back at the base of the climb from here.  A bit of beta for those with only one rope.

Off the Couch (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:March 7, 2009
Report:After getting spanked off my project (again...), Kyle and I headed into the Ice Palace looking for a bit more mixed action.  We climbed Off the Couch, which climbs brilliantly in it's present condition.  Overall it's a thin ice route with fantastic climbing right now, with the odd mixed move lower down (and about 3 drytool moves to start).  Probably a bit stiff for the grade right now.

A set of cams from TCU to #3 camalot (possibly even a #4?) allows excellent pro for the first half, and the upper ice is a bit sun-affected but still reasonable (I always forget that there is quite a bit of ice climbing above the chimney, probably 25m).  We freshened up the top station with a new pin (at the top left of the ice) and reset the existing ones.  This is really a route that could use a two-bolt chain anchor, maybe next season.

This route really deserves to get climbed more often.  The competent WI5 leader should be able to manage it, anticipate an awkward move or two though.  Protection is excellent this season (often, the lower cracks are ice-choked).  Double up on Green (.75) Camalots if you go.  It's best to get on it before the sun hits it as it starts to run a bit now.

General (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:March 4, 2009
Report:Was passing through OB on the way home from work today and noticed that the sun and warm temps yesterday and today have started to do a number on quite a few of the south-facing routes.  Although I was driving along at highway speed, I noticed no less than 3 large daggers letting go throughout the corridor (it was sunny and +2C)!  A large piece of ice came down the stuff just right of Reflection Wall (which looks suddenly very white but still plenty good to climb), a piece to the right of Rachel (thin route just right of Mellow Yellow), and slowing down for a gander at Parallax I noticed a thin veneer strip let go way up and left of it, about 20' long all at once (I heard the crash through my closed truck window...).  Also seemed to be some new, recent rockfall scars near the big slide by Parallax that happened about 3(?) years ago.

Just thought it would be worth letting folks know that things seem very dynamic there right now, so pay attention to temps and conditions if you're on sunnier aspects over the next few days. 

Noticed quite a few cars up and down the corridor, parties on Andromeda, Tempest, Cascade and Hully Gully, plus one car in the Ice Palace.  'tis the season!

Ice Breakers etc (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Matt Giambrone
Climbed on:Feb 28
Report:Dean Einerson and I climbed Hells Chimney, Whimpsickle, Ice Breakers Arete, and Ice Breakers on Saturday.

Hells Chimney is in what I would call WI 4- conditions but to borrow a phrase from Scott Backes it's grade 4 for the grade 6 leader.  Quite technical with challenging gear despite being relatively secure.

Whimpsickle is in awesome shape.  By far the best I've evrer seen it in at this time of year with very little sun affected ice and good screws all the way to the ground.  If its on your tick list go now!

Ice Breakers Arete is in good shape with great gear and 4+ climbing.

Ice Breakers was a bit "gongy" with several layers of welding chandeliers providing secure if somewhat runout climbing on the lower pillar.  The gear above was generally good and the pitch just keeps on going and going and going, good fun.

Sunday I ran up Reflection Wall whoch is in great shape before belay slaving away on a new JLo route.

Ice Palace Climbs (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:28-Feb-2004
Report:Not much NEW ice in the ice palace these days. That being said the climbs are still in great shape. Nick and I climbed all the pure ice lines on Sat. accept Adrenaline Solution.
I was able to find good gear on Ranxerox. Solid WI4+ climb down low with a good WI5 kicker at the top of the left line.
Nick went on and breezed up Remember The Day. He also found great gear. The overhang down low is always fun. Good WI3+/4- climbing.
Next was 10% Real. As Jamie mentioned in a previous post, a lot of hooking and great stemming. I was able to find great gear until the thin section up high. The gear was good enough to keep going but a tad run out as per usual. I would say good WI5 climbing.
Next was Eveil Des Sens. Nick sent this route quickly. He was able to find great gear all the way. Typical WI4 climbing.
We went on to High Fidelity. Since Nick had been on this climb a few times already this year this was my lead as well. The over hang down low was fun. Not too serious though. The rest of the climb was fun and awkward in places. The gear gets smaller the higher you go. Good WI5 climbing.
Due to the very low temps this past weekend the ice was under tremendous stress. It didn't take very much to displace enormous plates. Looks like Spring is on its way. Lets get after it. 5 or 6 weeks left. Where does the time go?
Sorry no photos, too cold and lazy.

Amy R & The Right Stuff (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:Feb 25
Report:Here's a close up of a nice route (Amy R) for us members of the hoi polloi and another for those with the Right Stuff. On Amy R, there's another 10 m or so of low angle ice above the top you see in the pic. New rap station on a cedar tree in the middle. Great choice for an end of day climb if the sun is out.

10% real and tempest (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Jamie Knight
Climbed on:Sunday, Feb 22/09

Dale, Rick and I decided to give 10% real a go this morning, it was a great climb, lots of fun and in good condition.  Lots of hooks if you are looking for them and some wicked stemming.  All the climbs in the ice palace looked to be in great condition.  After 10% we decided to go do another easy and fun route: the tempest.  Lots of fun and in good condition.

No ice in the face today!!!!!!

Obsession and Sycho Icycho (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Jamie Knight
Climbed on:Saturday, Feb 21, 2009
Report:I finally managed to drag a few other winnipegers out to orient bay with me.  I think they caught the bug so maybe next year you guys will see more manitoba plates.  We decided to start off with obsession which was in fine form.  The climbing was great except for the large piece of ice that hit me in the face on my second swing (welcome back to orient bay).  Then it was off to Sycho Icycho, and for me this was a rare find, the whole climb on the left and extending almost to the middle was totally plastic.  It was a joy to climb and we did a few laps on it.

New Route, Cascade, Reflection Wall Area Mixed (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:February 21, 2009
Report:Kyle, Shaun and Derrik were kind enough to wait for me this morning after a late start following a rough night, and I'm glad they did.  We had a great day in OB, basking in the sun outta the wind today.  While Kyle and I climbed one of those "someone needs to go do that one of these years new mixed routes" (see new route section), S&D cranked laps on different variations of Cascade, which is in spectacular shape, with many WI3-4 lines on great ice.  Afterwards, we decided on a quick nip up the road to the Reflection Wall area, where we split up and climbed Refraction, still great according to Derrik, and Kyle and I climbed on Resolution, which is just as good as everyone says.  Unfortunately the late hour and our flaming forearms meant we could top out, unfortunate since the exit dagger is starting to thin out quickly in the spring sun - may only survive another week or so at best unless it gets cloudy up there.  Reflection Wall, though we didn't climb it, looks to be a steal in it's current shape and Kyle confirmed that he had climbed it earlier and thought it was a tad soft for the grade.  If you've ever wanted to tick, now's better than ever.

Also climbed a couple of the classics in the ice palace last weekend, and noted they're all fat and cruiser with all the traffic, I don't think I swung once hooking up 10% real.

Overall, everything in the corridor still looks in and fat.  Those coming to the non-fest next weekend should remember to park smart, meaning well off the road and not on hills or bends.  Laziness is no excuse - walking an extra 5 or 10 minutes (carefully with traffic, of course) is preferable to parking in a poor location.  Even with the shoulders plowed back, it's best to dig just a bit further over to make things safer for everyone (only takes 10 minutes max!).  Consider a good shovel or two as necessary as your ropes.  The best mid-corridor parking is opposite the North Loop Trail for the Ice Palace, where the forestry road has been plowed with a huge pullout that will easily accomodate 15 cars.  Other spots like the GE or Cascade lots only have room for a car or two, so be prepared to dig a spot.  Also remember to watch your mirrors and turn off quickly when you decide to do so, those trucks come up quick!  There's also been a fair amount of traffic on the 81 road, so careful at Kama too.

10 Route Enchainment and Professional Businessmen (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:James Loveridge
Climbed on:Feb 14 & 15
Report:Due to a late start and white knuckle driving conditions from Duluth, Matt Giambrone and I didn’t get to Nipigon until well after 2:AM. Our objective was to hit Orient Bay and climb all the fat grade 5's and a few classic grade 4's in as little time as possible. Both of us had to solo, lead or follow each climb so as to mimic climbing multi-pitch route climbing in the mountains.

We started with Andromeda Weeps and Starquake. Both were in great shape and the steeper overlap cruxy bit on Starquake was the fattest I've seen it in years. Definitely the year to tick that one! Then we moved on to Obsession which was formed extremely fat and wide. The usual unconsolidated candlestick conditions were nowhere to be found so we were able to climb it side by side. Next was the always amazing Reflection Wall and Refraction. Reflection Wall had this subtle groove up the middle left that made it a bit more friendly that the monolithic sheet of steepness that it usually is. Matt led Refraction speedily and while it has ablated a bit since the first week of Jan (see condition report below) it is still a bolted ice climb this year (I believe 1 bolt is covered so bring a screw or two for the halfway section). I can't recommend this climb enough! Truly a classic, especially in this year's conditions. On to the Ice Palace where we did: Eveil Des Sens, 10% Real, Adrenalin Solution, Ranxerox Tangent, Remember The Day. ALL of these routes but one are in excellent condition with solid, consolidated ice throughout. The exception was Adrenalin Solution… The bottom section (we did it in one pitch) has ablated a bit and the variation I took at the top was fairly sun rotted, chandeliered and detached. Solid grade 6 for sure. Basically, there are 2 streaks of ice on the upper section; on the left is a thinner but adequate 4'ish ramp leading to a tree where you turn right and go up to the top (MG did this version a few weeks ago and said it was solid 5). The other is to the right and climbs a series of steep, disconnected pillars and funky mushrooms. For some dumb reason (the directness of the line I guess) I opted for the right-hand version. Needless to say, it held my attention for longer than I had planed… To finish the link-up, we did Ranxerox Tangent, and Remember The Day. The former by the right wall line and the latter was done by headlamp and Matt took a steeper 4'ish variation just to keep it interesting. 10 routes in 10 hours. Being the slackers that we are we didn’t get to O-Bay until 10:AM so the next time we'll get an earlier start and try to do more…

After Saturday we were feeling pretty worked so we only did one route on Sunday. This year Professional Businessmen, (an M8 in the Ice Palace that a bunch of us put up in '05) formed a tantalizing little dagger/curtain up top. Matt led the first M7 pitch successfully despite a dropped tool 30M up (yet another reason for the leader to ALWAYS tow the rap line!) -and- despite taking his first ever lead fall on gear which surprised me as much as it did him! After lowering and pulling the rope he fired the pitch no problem second go. I got the second pitch and due to pump and cold hands, felt I was about to fall-off or let-go the whole way. Fortunately, I managed to contrive a delicate rest with my back to the curtain (which was much thinner than it looked from the ground…), and finished up the final 10M to the top. After having climbed this route 4 times now, I can honestly say it is the most adventurous and "big" feeling mixed routes in the area. The bottom pitch is progressively steeper and much trickier than it looks. The belay stance is a microwave sized block jutting out from the wall and is in a spectacular position about 35M off the deck. The upper "business" pitch is well protected (6 bolts) as exposed as it gets. You climb out a roof/undercut corner feature but there are footholds. How often do you get to do that! This rig should get done more often as it really is a 5 star route in terms of climbing quality and position.

Overall, I'd say this season is better than average with many of the classics in the best condition I've ever seen them. It's still cold and icy so keep getting after it up there!

Sucker Hole?/ Kama Kurtains (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:kyle brooks
Climbed on:Sun

Duncan And I climbed Sucker Hole   we think it was at least.  Its in good shape ,start is  funky but lots of pro .  Fun climb .  Kama Kurtins in good shape  3+ .

Lots of cool thin ice routes at sucker hole area with rock pro

Epic First Assent (Thunder Bay 1k east of hodder)
Submitted by:Andrew Lang
Climbed on:Feb 10th
Report:Well the approach was strenuous, with distinct problems on the downhill and uphill legs, snowmobile activity has made it easier to get to the climb, may be difficult to see from the highway but if you check your odo you should be able to figure out how to get there.  park on the slightly used road and ensure that you are well off the road, tourists seem to be running into cars lately so park off the road, preferably not how the above picture is showing... then set your compass to E and follow the tracks for 50,000cm, once in view of the climb pick a trail and keep going, if you get discouraged, lie down, take a nap, and then keep going... DONT TURN BACK, no matter what your partner may say about the climb. 

for the First Assent, The D-man and I climbed it in 3 pitches, you could probably do it in less, however that would not be following proper ethics (at least in my mind)...  a climb isn't a climb unless you use 10 screws, eat a banana and then sing a song with your partner at the top.  because we built anchors out of 22 cm screws, you have to too!   ok so, 1st pitch was fairly straight foreward, stay right and climb until you feel a little bit scared.  set up an anchor.  2nd pitch, veer slightly to the left of the 1st pitch, carefull on the steeper moves, 3rd pitch was tricky, just press on keep going up, i tried going sideways for a bit but i ended up on rock, DONT follow the pick holes trending right... keep going up, not right, left would just be silly and down is indeed right out.  once you are at the summit of the climb, congratulate yourself and don't forget to belay your happy partner up to the top...  the descent is tricky but if you stay on the trail you probably won't trip... if you are clumsy, please remove your crampons or you may need to buy new snow pants. 

if you guess exactly where we were, you win!

oh and we found some gear at the bottom of the climb, if you lost it, tell me what it is and i'll give it back in return for your car (or ice tools) 472 7952

Pukasahib, Refraction/Resolution & Others (T-Bay, O-Bay, K,Bay)
Submitted by:James Loveridge
Climbed on:First week of Jan 2009
Report:I totally forgot to post this stuff but I am just now getting around to downloading some pics from my camera and remembered. Better late than never right? On Jan 3rd Scott Backes and I did Pukasahib (AKA Childs Play. For the record, I MUCH prefer the name Pukasahib…). It was thinner than I have ever seen it, quite steep and very cold (high of -18c I believe) and made for interesting climbing. The first pitch was Scott's (he has a knack for getting the money pitch…) and was solid 6 for sure. Brittle and super gongy but with surprisingly good protection throughout (including some medium cams on the left side about 15M up, just before committing to the steep headwall). The second pitch was much less difficult, perhaps 4+/5- but quite thin. It was a 40m pitch and my last piece of gear before I got to the trees was a 10cm screw at 20 meters. Thus ensued a 20M run-out to the end of the pitch on super thin and somewhat detached onion skin ice that was "engaging" to say the least (it would have been much more reasonable had I brought the rock rack…). Both of these pitches were the first ice climbing of the season either of us had done. Nothing like a baptism of fire, or ice in this case... Saying all that, I would highly recommend the climb if one brings a rock rack with cams up to #3 and a few miscellaneous pins for the 2nd pitch. IMHO, it is truly THE premier ice climb at THE premier wall/crag in the region. If only McRae came in consistently every year…

A great day was had at the Ice Palace where we climbed 10% and Adrenalin Solution. Dean valiantly attempting the former in the bitter cold (could'nt get his hands warmed up...) and Scott doing the first pitch of the latter while Dean led the second pitch with an interesting variation that took him around to the left and finished up the last 8 meters of 10%. Both were in great shape!

Another day was spent at Reflection wall. I led Refraction which had so much ice on it I eschewed ALL the bolts and did it on 7 screws. All but 2 of the 16 bolts are clipable so if you want to tick this line but are not that into drytooling, this is the year to do it! (it was in WI5'ish condition).  Scott led an interesting variation (possible FA?) of a route I did last March (Obfuscation Overhang) it follows a disconnected flow of ice up the wall between Reflection Wall and Refraction (closer to Refraction than Reflection) only this season there was so much ice that he was able to take the path of least resistance up and left to the trees instead of up and right into the blob and curtain of Obfuscation Overhang. High quality solid 5 perhaps 5+ climbing with adequate if not bomber screws the whole way. I then led Resolution. This is a great route with no significant cruxes but it is very sustained (only 2 rests and they are high up) and requires steadiness and technique more than strength. After climbing this twice now, I'd say it checks in at solid M7 perhaps 7+. Definitely one of the best "modern" bolted M climbs in Orient Bay.

Dean and Scott went to Kama and climbed Ice Breakers and Ice Breakers Arête while I stayed in Nip and got some work done (I was playing hookey and neglecting my job to go climbing…). They reported excellent conditions but went in at the wrong place and ended up hiking 4 times as much as they needed to which resulted in a 4 hour after dark return (I was 15 minutes from calling the OPP!). This reminds me of a profound question that Mr. Backes always asks when regarding the decision to follow tracks in snow; "You gotta ask yourself, is the person who made these tracks smarter than me or dumber than me?" In this case, if you come across their cliffband meandering tracks, assume the latter… ;-)

I'll finish with a shameless plug/invitation/plea to our northern neighbors: if any of you are interested in modern bolted Mixed climbing, head on down to Casket Quarry in Duluth. There are over a dozen M-climbs that are all equipped as clip-up's with drop in and lower-off anchors. No need to TR anything (but you can if you want to). The rock quality leaves a lot to be desired but it's bolted M-climbing, it's supposed to be chossy right? Grades range from M6 to M9- and most of them are steep enough to fall off of safely. Come on down, tie in and get after it! Here's a link to more beta:
Casket Quarry @ Mountain Project

That's all for now…

Fever Falls (Fever Falls)
Submitted by:Andrew Dubinsky
Climbed on:Jan 31, 09

Hiked into Fever Falls to check it out.  No new ice has formed since I was there last in early December.  The hike in was thru 2.5 feet of snow but the ski out was fun.  Sorry I forgot to bring the camera. 

Tears of Joy (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:kyle brooks
Climbed on:Feb 1

Great ice all the way .   Grade 3 ish

On the desent my axe disappeared,, if found i would love to get it back it is a simond anaconda cup red.  Kyle Brooks 622 0407  ill buy beer for a reward..

Powerline Falls (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:Feb 1, 2009
Report:Here's some pictures of Powerline...its starting to get huge!

Grandy Mardy Falls (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:Feb 1, 2009
Report:Nick and I did everyone a big favour today and broke the trail into Grandy Mardy Falls which has lots of ice.  This climb is located about 0.5 km past the Ontario forestry sign on the right and is marked by both orange and lime coloured flagging tape.  The main climb in the centre is great grade 3 to 4 ice, depending on the line you take.  The gear was awesome and easy to place.   To the right of the main climb there are a number of 4 to 4+ lines.

Ice Palace (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:January 31, 2009
Report:Pictures of Evil and 10%

Ice Palace (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:January 31, 2009
Report:Orient Bay is in fantastic shape these days as everything is in full form.  It was the Ice Palace today and virtually every climb saw traffic.   Wes and I climbed Remember the Day and Ranxerox.  Wes climbed Remember and after the crux move turn left and headed straight up for some very steep climbing, probably grade 4+/5- climbing.  We replaced the anchor at the top of this climb.   I lead Ranxerox which took good gear and finished with some 3-D ice that was a bit hollow (probably 5- climbing).  The anchor at the top is still fine.  Others climbed Evil, 10% and Adrenaline Solution, I've posted picture of the first 2.

Glace Ech, White Lightning (OB, TBay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:24,25-Jan-2009
Report:Jamie Knight and myself went to OB to brave the cold temps for a day of climbing. We went into Glace Eclatante in order to get out of the wind and hopefully catch some rays. Well the sun was working hard to break through but did not succeed. So we weren't as warm as I anticipated. The climb has grown a little since the last time I was in. It seems like the climb is getting lots of traffic as the trail in was pretty good. Not much wet ice, nor was there any of the false layers that usually form up. The ice was pretty brittle as one would expect in -479. We got a few laps on ice ranging from WI3 to WI5.
We went into White Lighting on Sunday for a quick lap before Jamie made the 8 hour drive back to winnipeg, alone. The ice is fantastic. Nice and steep through the middle. Takes great gear all the way to the top.

Powerline Falls (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:18-Jan-2009
Report:We had an advanced clinic out at Powerline on Sunday. The ice is in fantastic shape. Brian and I put a number of lines on ice ranging from WI3 to WI5. Some steeper lines had a lot of water running. The gear was decent for the most part. Good fun climbing to be had in the area. Always a good day out. Especially when the wind is right.

White Lightning, Curtain Call (The Bowl area, Thunder Bay)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:January 11
Report:This is just a visual update on how these two climbs are doing. Both were in great shape for our first beginner's ice clinic, as was RG (rope gun) Wes after coming back from 22 pitches of Rockies ice over the holiday season. (That's our boy cruising up WL right of centre, hardly breaking a sweat.)

ice stud (the bowl)
Submitted by:Andrew Lang
Climbed on:Jan 7 2008
Report:it's getting pretty steep at the top of the second pitch, in fact it is slightly overhanging, only a 2m jont and you can climb around it but it makes for a fun finish!

Pillar of Fear, High Fidelity (Ice Palace, OB)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:December 28
Report:Shaun, Derrik and I headed into the Ice Palace on Sunday hoping for a possible FA, but got shut down thanks to thin detached ice and no gear.  Thanks for the patient belay anyway Shaun!  Since we were in the neighbourhood, we decided to climb Pillar of Fear which Shaun had a fine lead on - we found perfect blue/green ice reminiscent of the Rockies and good gear, a short but steep classic WI4 column.  About the same difficulty as Obsession, but shorter.  Afterwards and racing impending darkness, we climbed High Fidelity, which is in it's usual early season funkness and should probably get a WI5 rating in it's present shape.  A few small overhangs and odd features to negotiate, with plenty of snow and onion skins on otherwise good rests after short cruxes.  Pro was reasonable to great. 

Also freshened up the rap nice if folks doing the same would also remove a sling or two when they add a new one - must've removed 10lbs. of junk slings! 

Other rare climbs are also in on the north loop (Don't Panic, Pawns in the Game, Monsters in the Closet), but all are becoming sun affected.  All of OB was very scottish looking on the weekend - hoar-frosted and verglassed rock - forget about using cams anywhere for now!  Some sun could fix the south-facing stuff by the weekend though.

Apologies, didn't remember to take any photos.

adrenaline solution (ob)
Submitted by:Matt Giambrone
Climbed on:12/20
Report:Climbed adrenaline and 10% on Saturday both are in excellent shape. Full value conditions with the cold weather, most sticks required multiple swings even with brand new picks. Also climbed Alpine Outing on Friday and found it rather hard for the grade. A bit of rock gear might be handy for that one.

Ice Stud (The Bowl area)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:Sunday, December 21
Report:The pictures say it all, except....cccccold!

Glace Eclatante (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:December 20

What do you do when its -30C and you want to go ice go to Orient Bay and climb Glace Eclatante as Wes and I did today.  First things first, parking is extremely difficult in the OB corridor since that last snowstorm passed through as every parking spot is fully covered.  The snow banks hardly clear the white line.  They have managed to wing the snow back a couple of feet but that has left a 1foot high platform that you'll need to "chop" through in order to get to the 3+ feet of snow behind that.  Fun eh, but once you get into that stuff its easy.  It took Wes and I, with 2 shovels, 30 minutes to clear a very small spot at GE.  Don't bring a plastic shovel or any of those tiny backcountry 'spoons', bring a steel shovel, spend a few minutes and get yourself well off the road. 

Second things second, we broke trail to the climb which took us about an hour, with snowshoes, in knee deep snow.  I'd highly recommend snowshoes no matter where you are gonig in OB.  Believe me we both thought about turning around a couple of times but once we got up close to the climb it was all gravy after that.  Right and middle lines range from grade 4 to -5 with gear that makes you feel warm and fuzzy.  While pulling the ropes after lap #3, someone who will remain nameless, got the ropes wrapped around the rapple anchor.  So that meant that I got to lead on a single 8.1mm rope.  Please note we have replaced the far right rapple anchor as the tree it was on has fallen'll find it 3m to the right on a large pine tree.  Oh ya, I got my other rope back.  Happy holidays and climb safe.

Power Line Falls (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:December 13
Report:Six of us thought we'd check out Power Line Falls and the river approach. Without Jesse and Seeka, it would have just been another gammelfleischparty* with Reid, Gloria, Jack, Clive and me. The river was fine except for the spots where Clive and I went through, and the falls are starting to shape up. With more trafiic, the snow should consolidate and the ice should fill in on the falls. The actual climbs were farly brittle except for a wet line just left of the cave on the right wall which still has a lot of unconnected daggers hanging from above. A single 60 m rope will get you down using the rap anchor on the left side atop the left most route. Felt a little unterhopft* after egress using the trail to get back to the vehicles parked at the load levellers. Great day!

*     copy and paste:

Reflection Wall (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:13-Dec-2008
Report:It’s training mode now so Brian and I went to OB in search of mileage on steep terrain. We headed up to Reflection Wall first thing. I lead a line straight up the middle. I found it to be typical WI5 climbing. Pretty much standard for this route. Accept the flippin rain. That is twice now where Brian and I climbed this route and were soaked. It was just cold enough to freeze to us. We both look like a couple of spent hookers.
Brian chose a dry line to the right of where I went and ran it to the top. He made it look like old hat. I am not sure who was more happy and proud, him or I.
Both of us found great gear. 19’s and 22’s all the way.
The approach was to the right of the first pitch. The normal way around the first pitch is to walk around to th left. There was lots of blow down this summer so this approach is hell. Don't do it. Either walk right or climb the first pitch

Lesson Learned:
After getting to the top we both looked over the rappel station. I installed this one 3 seasons ago so I figured it was time to change. After first inspection it looked to be in fine shape. I didn’t get any sun damage. After a very close inspection of the power point. (section of the anchor below the knot) we found that the mice have been chewing on the inner section. 3 out of 4 cords were chewed through to the core. This was very difficult to spot and could very well have failed under load of a climber. We did not notice this until we were getting ready to tie the rappel. So we cut it out and installed a new anchor up a tad higher. So everyone, please check and recheck ALL rappel stations. It doesn’t matter if they look bomber. Give them a good twice over.

Lost Falls, South Side McKay (T.Bay)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:Dec 12 (S.McKay)
Report:Took Jesse (from Sioux Lookout) on a little tour of local ice areas starting with Lost Falls, which was climbed a week or so ago by Dave R., no problem. I cautioned Jesse, "You don't want to be in there on a day this." (-20C)  An hour later Jack calls and asks, "Wanna go in to Lost Falls?" Ha Ha. Funny. Instead, we (Jack, Reid, Jesse and I) went looking for sun on the South side of Mckay. The trail in to those climbs is off the south trail to the top of McKay and should be easy to follow if we don't get a lot of snow. Four climbs seemed to be in pretty good shape, including Catacombs, in the chimney. We climbed the two side by side short routes about 50 m left of Catacombs, called ?? and ??? and were glad to be out of the wind and in a little sun most of the time. Then we went home.

General Conditions (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:7-Dec-2008
Report:Dave and I were in OB for the weekend putting up some new routes. Check out the New Routes Section for info.
Over All OB is in fantastic shape with all the hard classics growing quickly. Most of the moderate classics are ripe for the picking. Gomar has closed up tight. A few parties out on Saturday but saw no one today. My "Peter Metre" said it was pretty friggen cold out. What were we supposed to do. Stay Home????? Nay Nay! A little frost bite never killed anyone. Plus, we had unfinished business to deal with.
Nice climbing Dave. Like I said today, you are a true master of your craft!
Next Stop, Banff!!!!

White Lighting & Curtain Call (TB - Bowl)
Submitted by:Reid Carter
Climbed on:December 6
Report: Jack, Gloria and I climbing WL & CC today were in great condition despite the cold.  The ice was friendly and standing at the base was warm until about 2:30 when the shadow arrives.  Curtain Call was really fat and steep near the top.  We v-threaded off backed up by a slung rock at the top of the ice.  There are numerous mixed exits on CC from where the ice ends.  Nick and Patrick worked on several mixed lines to the right of the main part of WL where the ice was quite brittle.

child play (McRae)
Submitted by:Patrick Martel
Climbed on:attempt Nov 30th
Report:Nick and I gave a go at child play.
It looks great this early in the season.
I tried a left line in dense yellow flow of cauliflower for at to 25m under the first roof taking good screws. The column coming down from roof was this 1m wide, 1 foot thick coalescence of ice sickles reverberating through the entire column with slight tap. I decided to bail. I’ll probably try it next time with a line one the right and crossing L higher up just under first roof.
Have fun…

Ice Breakers, I.B. Arete, Whimpsicle (Kama Bay)
Submitted by:Dave Rone
Climbed on:11/29

Dan Wilkinson and I took advantage of the easy hiking conditions and the great early-season shape of these routes on Saturday.  While Icebreakers is in good shape, there's no pro for the first 6-8 meters due to the 3-dimensional nature of the ice.  Once up the initial column, it's a cruise.   Icebreakers Arete and Whimpsicle are in great shape also, with Whimpsickle probably the hardest of the 3 routes.  Or maybe it was because it was the last one we climbed!

Tears of Joy (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:November 30

Tears of Joy is in fine form for late November climbing.  Dry on the first pitch with hard, candle like ice.  The second has both wet and dry lines depending on your preference.  There is plenty of flowing water behind the climb so we made an attempt on rapple to open some holes...hoping it will add to the good start.  Wes and I cleared a large parking spot across from the climb that should get you well off the road if Tears of Joy is on the menu.

We finished the day on Mellow Yellow to crank laps on the far left lines.  The ice is in fantastic shape, easily eating up 16's and probably 19's if we had them.  The main climb still has lots of water flowing over it so with continued cold temps this climb should get huge!  A new rapple anchor was established for the left lines on a large cedar tree about 30m up.

Various (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:Nov 29, 2008
Report:Quite an epic day today in OB, epic approaches that is.  Pat and I intended to go to the Parallax area since all these routes are a rarity, but we quickly discovered that the approach is NOT dog friendly.  We wasted much time trying to find a safe way where we wouldn't lose a dog in a giant hole in the talus but eventually gave up after much cursing.  Unfortunate, as everything there is in and looks great.  Parallax looks a bit lacy but should go, Passage and Sundown is in, as are the newer routes (see New Routes section) Early Retirement, Relativity (really good!), Mechanical Advantage, along with Waiting for the Dog and Einstein Said It Best.  Next week...

Ended up wasting more time in the ice palace trying to get at some rarer, newer routes, but our tired legs made us give up.  Everything there is also in to some degree or other.  We climbed Evil Des Sens, which is the most interesting it's ever been.  Very techy ice and the gear is poor through the crux.  Should fill in good in another week.  Another party did 10% Real, looked to be usual shape, a tad lacy but good otherwise, lots of onion skins.  We also had a last-minute go at Adrenaline Solution, but bailed due to my wimpy forearms and impending darkness about 8-10m below the ledge.  It's all there, just, the gear was surprisingly not bad.  Growing well too, should be great in another week.  Of especially good note - the rare curtain/dagger at the top of Professional Business Men is in, but looks like it won't last  super long in the sun.  Makes a beautiful route look even more aesthetic.

A really good season there this year!  All the rare stuff is in, as are many of the newer but excellent routes, many awaiting second ascents.

Obsession (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:November 29

Orient Bay was busy place today...Wes and I counted at least 4-5 cars which is no surprise with the abundance of ice.  We hiked into Phantasmagoria which is located right behind Sycho Icycho in a large bowl, up from the Obie Creek.  We didn't climb it but it looks to be filling in, maybe someone bolder than us would give it a go but we passed and headed to obsession.

Obsession looked great from the ground but its not so pretty up close.  The belay station was completely covered by ice but we were able to knock the rings free with a bit of effort.  Wes lead the route in which he found the ice airy and good pro hard to find.  Once over the verticle section the gully to the rap anchor doesn't have much ice under foot as its all hanging to your left.  The anchor tree is still there but will be a bit more comforting once its fully buried in ice.

Lastly, we climbed the Trickle Trunk.  This is a route that Wes and Randy put up a number of years back and has only seen a few repeats...most likely the 2 times that Wes and I have gone back.  Its located close to the McKirdy Lake area, easily found on the right side of the highway that abuts the pipeline.  Follow the well marked trail (real easy) to the climb.  The right line is the Trickle Trunk and the left line is Running with Scissors.  I found the first 2/3's of the route climbed at a grade 4 level with 13's and 16's going in easy.  The crux move is about about 5-6m before the top out as you basically run out of ice in its current condition.  You can find gear for the finish which is up through the froze moss to the large cedars.  Normally this climb forms in late March but its a real treat to see it, which water still trickling, this early in the season.  If you are looking for something different definitely give this a try, especially since Wes and I broke the trail in already.  Have fun.

April Showers (Squaw Bay)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:November 28
Report:Curious about  April Showers, Bryce, Samu and I decided to check it out. We had just enough crystal clear ice to swing the tools on the first half of the 45m route and some 5.7(ish) rock moves for the second half. (Short screws and a few cams up to #2) There are a few really tight chimney moves on the top half that are sure to challenge the girthy, I found, and some big boulders you have to pull over. There's a bolt with a Fixe ring on the right  about 1/2 way up and a fixed stopper on the left, about 2/3 of the way. Oh, be sure to test your rap rope for pull down before you get too far into the rappel. There's a nasty little notch at the top just waiting to catch your knot...we discovered.

Alpine outing (squaw Bay)
Submitted by:Patrick Martel
Climbed on:nov 27-2008

Climbed alpine outing with Sunny today.
Still pretty thin (sparse 10-13 cm screws max.),but well worth it; deserving its name.  Had to bypass mid section ribbon by the right doing mix climbing on scanty rock pro. Also ended up simulclimbing last 10 meters, with 70m ropes, because it was impossible to built any anchors.  

As Frank stated April showers shower seen to be forming up but also as a treat several  others hard mix lines I have never seen before…

Alpine Outing (Squaw Bay)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:reconn
Report:Went to check conditions at Squaw Bay today, November 25, and found Rainy Day Woman more less iced up to the top, but not too thick. From across the bay, it looked like Alpine Outing might be in so I hiked in to take a closer look. Decided to do a solo pantomime ascent of the route on the trail but ran into problems on the thin stuff on the first pitch, so I packed my white gloves and beret and went home. (Through the binocs it also looked  like there was some ice in the chimney of April Showers but it was hard to tell how much.)

Ice Palace (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:November 23
Report:Here's the rest of the pictures.

Ice Palace (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:November 23

The Ice Palace is starting to form up real well, still water flowing on most routes so we should be in for good times in the coming weeks.  Wes took pictures of 10% real, adreniline solution, arjumands shroud, evil des sans, highfidelity and remember the day.

Mellow Yellow (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Brian Bottan
Climbed on:November 23
Report:Wes and I headed back out to OB to jump on Mellow Yellow and Hully Gully.   We started with Mellow Yellow which still has lots of water flowing over it, more than I've ever seen at this time of the year.  Straight up the middle begins with a steep start but once you are over that its straight forward climbing to the top.  The bottom section took 16's easily but a mixed bag of screws will get the job done.  Next, Wes ran up the left side of the buttress which presented both steep, awkward climbing.  Finish up through the cedars to the large birch tree, then traverse and rapple from the main anchor.  Speaking of which, the main anchor in the middle of the climb is stil in good shape and free of ice.  We passed on Hully Gully as our ropes where now 20 lbs heavier and about 20m longer as a result of the soaking they received on both leads.   

North Face of McKay (Mount McKay)
Submitted by:Andrew Dubinsky
Climbed on:November 23, 08

Went out for a hike up Mount McKay today and got a couple of pics of Nick and Bryce climbing up the North Face of Mount McKay.

Ice Stud (Bowl - TBay)
Submitted by:Reid Carter
Climbed on:November, 22, 2008
Report:Gloria and I climbed Ice Stud yesterday.  What a difference a week makes.  The ice was friendly and 13s + 16s when  in with out bottoming out.  There is still a rock finish on the second pitch but using the webbing tied around the rock protects the last bit.  Eric climbed it after us.

White Lighting/Curtain Call (The Bowl)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:November 22, 2008
Report:With not much time today, Bryce and I checked out The Bowl for some quick local ice and were pleasantly surprised.  We climbed the regular hourglass route on White Lightning, short/med screws and the hourglass is sorta narrow but we thought WI3 was a fair grade.  Plenty of water, and the lines to the right are thin but forming fast.

We also did the right-had mixed variation to Curtain Call which is in great shape overall, and freshened up the rap station on top.  Take a standard mixed rack if you opt for the rough-looking but very fun/reasonable right corner, the other lines are in and quite fat.

Ice Stud saw at least two ascents today and looked very good from across the valley.  Stricken has ice on most of it but it looks very thin and sketch for now, maybe a couple more weeks?  All mixed up is nearly in too, with some interesting ice forming near the top of the direct finish variation.  Rosebuds are also in by the looks of it.

South Face Climbs, New Route (Mount McKay)
Submitted by:Nick Buda
Climbed on:November 21, 2008
Report:Just to add some detail to Pat's posted photos - ALL of the ice routes, and a new route (see new routes section - Double Jeu) are in as of Nov 21.  Catacombs looks like its normal patchy self, probably about the same difficulty as Ice Stud with more mixed.  Butterball was in but looked a tad thin and the edges were detached, and First Things Second/Cave People are fat and joined together.  Now's the time to go, little snow makes the approach quick and easy, and the road to the lookout is driveable if a bit slippy.

More OB Photos (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:21-Nov-2008
Report:I forgot to mention the Ice Palace also looked to be filling in very nicely. As well OB had about a foot of snow. It is shaping up to be another banner year folks. Lets have a fun and safe ice season.
Reflection Wall and Parallax.

Starquake & Andromeda Weeps (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:21-Nov-2008
Report:With recent cold temps Brian and I decided that OB would be in good shape. Boy were we wrong. It was in fantastic shape. Almost like xmas conditions. Everything is in and getting bigger. Most of the big routes are in. Reflection Wall is climbable. Refraction is pure ice top to bottom. Parallax is touching down. Some of the rare routes that formed in 2006 are forming again. Wall of Doom is looking fine as well. All the existing routes are forming.
Brian and I decided to forego the usually Mellow Yellow/Hully Gully 1st day outing and swapped it with Starquake and Andromeda. I jumped on Starquake first thing. It looked wet so I figured it wouldn’t be too angry. Well I was wrong. WTF Over? The ice was angry this day, my friends. If I could borrow a quote from Bryce, it was breaky! (Dude, I don’t pay royalties!) It was plenty thick in most places but lots of chucks breaking off. I took a big one off the chin. I am a happily married man so I don’t usually admit that too often.
Over all I found “good enough” gear through the crux. I hit rocks with one screw. It felt like WI4ish climbing down low then full on WI5 through the 12 metre crux section. It eases back to finish out to the anchor. Speaking of which, I replaced all the crap up top with new material.
Then it was Brian’s turn. He lead Andromeda. This climb was quite a bit thinner than Starquake but the climbing was secure. Wet in most places. Felt like WI3+ to us. He lead both pitches in one go. 60 metre ropes don’t quite make it to the top of the second pitch.

On a side note. We were stopped by the Police as we were shoveling our parking spot. They asked what we were doing. We told them and they said that we were doing the right thing by making sure we were totally off the road because they are going to be ticketing people who are not off the traveled portion of the road. So if you don’t want a ticket. Bring a shovel and make sure your vehicle is off the pavement or at the very least on the other side of the white line. While we were yaking I also told him to ticket the people who park on the corners. I saw the cruiser once more in the early afternoon as well.

Mixt on McKae south Face (MCKae)
Submitted by:Patrick Martel
Climbed on:Nov21-2008
Report:We went to climb a mixt  line on the south face of Mckae.
Her are some picture of other route in that area. (butterballs...)

Childs Play and Feaver Falls (Mnt. Mcrae)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:17-Nov-2008
Report:These photos go along with Patrick's post.
Child's Play, Chucky's, Feaver Falls

Mc Rae North Face (Tbay)
Submitted by:Patrick Martel
Climbed on:Nov 17 2008 - not climbed
Report:Decided to go for a jog with Coquine (my dog) to check out those  white streaks on the North face of McCrae.  From my front window I could see them extending  for the last week, tempting me….
Well… after checking it from close, I think we can be hopeful for signs of an upcoming good local season.  Nanibijou and Chucky’s  are showing promising signs.  Feaver  Falls and Child Play are formed but they are still thin and sketchy.  Judging by the soccer ball size ice chucks littering the base of the cliff; the ice does not seem attached solidly to the face yet. The umbrella above the prow is already large and intimidating.  I am sure they are worth an attempt  by someone with less need for self preservation than me.

General Conditions (Orient Bay)
Submitted by:Wes Bender
Climbed on:15-Nov-2008
Report:Nothing formed. It looks as though Mellow Yellow had formed but fell down. There is so much water flowing that I think It is going to have to get really cold in order to make some real ice. If It doesn't get cold, there most likely won't be climbable ice next weekend either.
Kama is suffering the same conditions.
Did more trail work instead.

Ice Stud (The Bowl)
Submitted by:Frank Pianka
Climbed on:November 11
Report:Nick and I got out on Ice Stud today under the watchful eye of Kuma, who thought we did a dog-gone good job on it. First pitch was fun and took short screws but the second pitch was a wet scramble for the first part and 5.7 rock up the right exit. A couple small cams (double oughtish) ought to do it for now. Conditions are looking good in the area.


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