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Hawthorn and Berg Bag Big Alpine Mixed in Canadian Rockies

Good late winter conditions have led to a number of big routes being climbed

Alik Berg and Uisdean Hawthorn are two of the leading alpine ice and mixed climbers in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. They have decades of cutting-edge climbing between them, with new hard lines in ranges around the world.

They recently teamed up for two big lines on the Highway 93 South and Icefields Parkway. On the northeast face of a sub-peak of Mount Whymper, they made the first ascent of the 500-metre Amnesiac M7 WI5. “We spent 17 hours climbing this face,” said Hawthorn. “We had to weave around a bit to get through the lower rock bands it still had a tricky insecure first pitch which Alik did a great job leading. After that things went as smoothly as these things can whilst new routing in the mountains.”

A few days before the new line, they made a rare repeat of Dirty Love on Mount Wilson. The route was first climbed in April 2008 by Jon Walsh and Raphael Slawinski, after Walsh and Audrey Gariepy had made it up most of the climb. Walsh later wrote on Alpinist.com, “For years I’d been eyeing the rocky cocktail, which ascends the big quartzite corner/chimney system high above Shooting Star on the west aspect of Wilson. In a 27-hour car-to-car effort, we climbed nearly three quarters of it. But Audrey left the Rockies for her tree-planting season, so this past weekend, Slawinski and I teamed up and sent the route.”

Dirty Love covers 1,700 metres of vertical and goes at M7 WI6. Nick Bullock and Greg Boswell attempted to repeat it a few years ago, but were attacked by a grizzly bear, which left Boswell with some big holes in his leg.

Hawthorn said, “Alik had the idea for the line I just came along for the ride, getting up two alpine routes in a week in canada is an extremely hard thing to do, it is significantly easier however, if you have a Alik Berg on the other end of the rope.” Last week, The Greenwood/Locke got a winter ascent, read more here.