A warm fall led to the latest start to a Canadian ice season in a few years, if not a decade. In the Rockies, a deep-freeze has got ice climbers finally swinging their tools.
Jon Walsh and Marc-Andre Leclerc have established a hard new mixed route in Storm Creek. Walsh has been dreaming about the route for a decade. The Plum is a 120-metre WI6 M7 that uses no bolts and climbs very thin ice. As Walsh wrote on his blog, “It follows a slender flow of ice that drips down the nose of a steep butress, creating funky mushrooms, daggers and pillars, that are a real treat to climb on. I had attempted it approximately ten years ago with my ice mentor Rich Marshall.
“After climbing a pitch of steep ice out of the big cave which eventually became the first pitch of The Peach, another fine addition to the Rockies trad mixed by Raphael Slawinski, Rich proceeded to lead what was the wildest pitch he had ever led – he later confessed, as well as one on the craziest leads I’d ever witnessed.” Leclerc, who had only just arrived from Squamish, had never climbed in the Rockies. Upon topping out his first and new route in the area, he said, “Is all Rockies this good?”
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This is the same wall as in the last photo I posted but in 2014, when the water flowed down a different line. @mdre and I climbed it and called it the Plum. It was a very memorable day to say the least, and Marc’s first lead was especially impressive. The route formed again the next season although much fatter. I climbed again yet it felt like a different route. This year the water flowed a good 20-30 meters to the right, and now there are two more new routes! #thewallthatkeepsongiving #celebratewild @arcteryx @petzl_official @scarpana