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Hard Rockies Mixed Route Zeitgeist Repeated

Michelle Kadatz and Peter Hoang have made the second ascent of Zeitgeist IV+ M7- WI5R on the northwest face of Mount Ball in Banff National Park.

The 530-metre route was first climbed 11 years ago by Rob Owens and Steve Holeczi, two of Canada’s leading winter climbers and IFMGA mountain guides.

In the fall of 2007, Owens established three bold mixed routes, running out difficult rock sections between ice. In October, he and Eamonn Walsh made the first ascent of The Owens/Walsh IV+ M6+ A1 on a previously unclimbed peak, which they named Mount MOG, which stands for Man of Girth.

The second route Owens climbed was Zeitgeist with Holeczi in early November. Holeczi had climbed the first five pitches with Walsh five years earlier.

“Zeitgeist went in 10 pitches, with pitches six, seven and eight having steep ice and dry-tooling, sustained mixed climbing and awesome quality,” said Owens.

“We rappelled the route in 12 ropelengths off a mixture of ice and rock anchors.” You can find more information about Zeitgeist on Owens’ blog here.

Michelle Kadatz on rappel Photo Peter Hoang

The next route Owens climbed was No Use in Crying IV M7 with Jon Walsh. The 205-metre mixed route climbs a feature on the Upper Weeping Wall.

“The cool thing about this line is that every seasoned Rockies climber has been on the Weeping Wall, most of us numerous times,” Owens said. “And this line, that likely forms every year, was never looked at.”

Zeitgeist route line Photo Rob Owens

The Rockies had a month of cold and snowy weather which has led to a few weeks of mild daytime highs, but with low freezing levels at night.

Most alpine and ice routes on the north faces remain intact, but with more warm weather on the way, there’s a good chance the remaining ice will melt out soon.

First ascent of Zeitgeist in 2007 Photo Rob Owens