Saturday, May 8, 2010

Undertoe

Yesterday Eamonn and I came back for the last route in our Tangle(d) trilogy. Undertow was the first route climbed on the wall, and is without a doubt one of the finest ice climbs in the Rockies. All but one or two pitches are moderate, but they go on and on, all the way to the summit. Below are some photos from our day.

Dawn over the Sunwapta valley.

It had been snowing off and on over the previous few days, and fresh snow blanketed the mountains.

Eamonn making the long traverse from the top of Shades of Beauty to the base of the routes. We traversed above treeline to avoid the post-holing in the trees.

This is what we drove three hours and walked four hours for. From the left: "Undertow", "Can't Touch This" and "Boobquake".

As the sun hit the wall, sloughs started coming down all over the place. Some were big enough to make us stop and think what we might be getting ourselves into. "Let's go, they're just sloughs. What's the worst that could happen?"

Eamonn low on the route.

The sun on the approach was strong (it being May, after all), but in the shade it was still winter.

Funny how ice always looks easier than it is. Photo: Eamonn Walsh.

Looking up at the last steep (and appropriately crux) pitch.

Eamonn swimming up the slope below the summit seracs.

Putting a slight twist on a quote from Alex Lowe, winter lingers long in the high country.

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