Baba Yaga is New Six-Pitch M8 A1 on Quebec Mountain
It follows steep cracks and corners and is one of the most difficult winter routes in the area
Quebec’s Grands-Jardins National Park is home to a number of granite domes with dozens of classic ice, mixed and rock climbs. Louis Rousseau and Jean-François Girard have just made the first ascent of the 165-metre Baba Yaga M8 A1 on Mont Gros Bras.
They climbed the big line on March 19 over 14 hours. Rousseau, a veteran winter climber, said the climb “combines delicate traverses, slab climbing with crampons, thin-blade cracks, boulder-style cruxes, overhangs, a chimney, loose rock and a final M8 A1 pitch” they climbed with a headlamp.
They had spotted the line while making the first ascent of The Last Rōnin, a 175-metre M6 C1 back in 2016 which you can read about here. A thin crack left of the second pitch of Last Rōnin allowed them to climb a steep wall for 40 metres to a large ledge that breaks the north face of Gros Bras into two.
It’s named after a supernatural being, or witch, from Slavic mythology that is described as “one of the most memorable and distinctive figures in eastern European folklore.” The first pitch has an old tree that resembles something out of a witch’s tale.
Rousseau said the six pitches are unique and intimidating. “This is why we have named each one of them based on the popular Russian tale Vasilissa the Beautiful, in which Baba Yaga is a prominent figure.” The pitches are named and go at: The Black Birch M6+, The Fence M7, The Hut with Hen’s Foot M4, The Mortar and the Pestle M6, The Doll of Vassilissa M6/M6+ and The Skull Lantern M8 A1.