Home > News

“Less Ice Than Anticipated” on 530-metre M7 WI5R in Rockies

Zeitgeist was first climbed nearly 15 years ago and didn't see a second ascent until 2018

Photo by: Cory Rogans

Three climbers just repeated Zeitgeist, a 530-metre IV+ M7 WI5R, on the northwest face of Mount Bell in Banff National Park. It’s not a first ascent, but it’s one of only a handful the line has had since the first ascent.

In fall 2007, Rob 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 Steve 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. 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.

In 2015, Ian Welsted, Alik Berg and the late Chris Willie attempted the second ascent of Zeitgeist, but came up short of the top – read about their day out here. Zeitgeist had its second ascent in 2018 by Michelle Kadatz and Peter Hoang. It was then climbed by Sebastian Taborszky, Maarten Van Haeren and Jas Fauteux, and by Niall Hamill and Landon Thompson in December that year, before Hamill returned for a solo attempt. It’s been climbed a handful of times by other climbers, including by Takeshi Tani and Noboru Kikuchi.

The likely first top-out of Zeitgeist this year was by Cory Rogans, Isobel Phoebus and Santi Padros. Rogans said there was less ice than anticipated and that after “some thin veneer” they climbed a “new pitch around the M6 WI5R pitch.” Phoebus and Padros recently made a rare ascent of Arctic Dream WI6+ on Mount Quadra.

Lead photo: Cory Rogans