Kootenay Canaleta is a new 350-metre M5 WI4 mixed route on B.C.’s famous Mount Gimli in Valhalla Provincial Park. David Lussier and Jen Olson made the first ascent earlier this week. Olson has established routes internationally and across mountain ranges in Canada.

The aesthetic Kootenay Canaleta climbs the north face of Gimli and follows rock, ice and snow to the summit. “David graciously let me lead the first pitch which had the most ice climbing on it,” said Olson on Instagram. “He then gracefully and bravely ascended a classic heady thin ice flowing over rock pitch that led us into the main weakness of the face.”

The two top climbers then rappelled the route off slung horns and chockstones. Olson said the route reminded her of the classic Supercanaleta on Fitz Roy in Patagonia, which she climbed a few years ago.

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Kootenay Canaleta D+, WI4, M5, 350m. David Lussier of @summit_mtn_guides inspired a grand Valhalla adventure on the north face of Gimli Peak (9100’ / 2774m). We camped the night before near the south ridge, we used skis over snow, rock, ice and moss to get to the west col. David graciously let me lead the first pitch which had the most ice climbing on it. He then gracefully and bravely ascended a classic heady thin ice flowing over rock pitch that led us into the main weakness of the face. Four more mixed pitches took us into the last hundred meters of the upper couloir. We found it protected reasonably well with stubbies, nuts and cams. We descended the route with mostly slung horns or chockstones. Sadly, my phone slipped away down the face and with it many spectacular photos of David crushing. This route reminded me of the supercanaleta on Fitzroy (a mini version) without the international traffic. Gimli offers a pristine setting ‘more beautiful than the sun’ and the North face is definitely a ‘fire-shelter’. We were lucky with perfect winter temperatures just below freezing. David is a solid partner right through to the 18th hour after slogging in the forest with skis on our packs for an alpinist's dinner: chips, beer, and kombucha 🍺🍹 I feel blessed to be a part of such a talented and strong community of climbers and guides. Thanks for the invitation @summit_mtn_guides Photos by David Lussier Aerial photo of Gimli by @wildairphoto

A post shared by Jen Olson (@wholesome71) on

Mount Gimli Routes

East Ridge 3rd class
Dark Side of the Moon 5.10b/c
North Face Arete 5.10
Rumble in the Jungle 5.10b/c
Sailor Jerry 5.10b/c
Slave to Gravity 5.11+
South Ridge 5.9
Space Jam 5.11d

Lussier has likely spent more time in Valhalla Provincial Park than any other rock climber over the past decade. Originally from Sherbrooke, Quebec, he’s now based in Nelson. He once rode a bicycle 85 kilometres from Nelson to Valhalla, climbed Gimli and rode home in under 24 hours. Be sure to follow Lussier on Instagram below.

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