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Leaning Towers 1975 Big Wall Pulpit Project Climbed

The dry summer in B.C. has been good for climbers with remote big wall plans, like Kevin Martin and Ian Dusome who just made an impressive first ascent in the Leaning Towers of the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy.

Preaching to the Choir climbs the steep prow marked. Photo John Scurlock

They called their new 10-pitch big wall climb Preaching to the Choir 5.11 C1. It climbs an obvious crack system up an aesthetic buttress to a big roof.

“After days of hauling gear in over mountain passes and through a jungle of Kootenay slide alder, we had the opportunity to try our hand at climbing the ‘most leaning’ of the Leaning Towers: The Pulpit on Hall Peak,” said Martin.

In 1975, Joe Meyer and Joanna McComb’s made the first ascent of The Pulpit via the low angle west slopes. They then attempted to climb the 400-metre vertical east face.

While climbing the third steep pitch, a rock fell and cut the rope, thus ending their attempt. Over the years other climbers attempted the line, but no one pushed it to the top.

“We followed the 1975 line (and signs of a more recent attempt) through the lower 4 pitches, and fixed lines to the top of the grey apron,” said Martin.

Joanna McComb bat-hooking on the 1975 attempt.

“From there we hauled up supplies and spent two days pushing to the top of the wall.” Earlier this summer, a 1986 Fred Beckey project was finally climbed in Leaning Towers and called The White Tiger 5.11 A3, see more here.

“It was super fun climbing,” said Martin of his first ascent of the East Face route. “There was a lot of dirt and vegetation to clean out of the cracks on a few pitches, but the line and the rock were both real good.”

When asked if they had ever climbed in the in the area, Martin said, “I haven’t actually, this was both of our first time back there. It’s pretty awesome though, I’d like to go back again and maybe try some stuff on Wall or Block Tower.”