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Life Compass is Big New Rockies Alpine Line

Rose Pearson on Life Compass Photo Brette Harrington

Brette Harrington and Rose Pearson have established a new long alpine route up the west face of Mount Blane in Kananaskis Country.

Their new line is called Life Compass and clocks in at IV 5.10a M4+ and climbs 950 metres of terrain.

This is one of the few climbs of this size and grade ever established in the Canadian Rockies by an all-women team.

It links steep cracks with snow gullies, ledges and chimneys to end directly on the summit.

The two top alpinists, Harrington from Canada’s West Coast and Pearson on the New Zealand Alpine Team, recently met by chance in Canmore.

They departed town at 4 a.m. and returned 26 hours later after reaching the summit of Mount Blane at 8 p.m. before having to deal with a complicated descent down compact limestone with few spots for pitons or gear.

Harrington spotted the line after a morning of hard cragging at Barrier Bluffs.

Harrington and Pearson were fresh off an ascent of The Slawinski/Takeda, a moderate five-pitch M5+ mixed route on Mount Athabasca, which they quickly climbed, when they teamed up for the Mount Blane route.

Brette Harrington on The Slawinski/Takeda Photo Rose Pearson

Harrington has other lofty goals in western Canada this year and Pearson is on her way to Yosemite with the New Zealand Alpine Team for some big-walling.

Mount Blane has a number of complicated features and the long ridges are popular summer scrambles. There are a few winter mixed routes that have been climbed when they form.

Scroll through Harrington’s photos of Life Compass below and visit the New Zealand Alpine Team’s Instagram here.

Rose Pearson and I put up a new route on Mount Blane yesterday. Life Compass IV 5.10a M4+ 80 degree, TD+, 980m of climbing After having seen the mountain for my first time while driving the Spray Lakes road a few days ago I noted this stunning line linking the large features on the right side of the west face. Rose and I had climbed The Slawinski/Takeda on Mount Athabasca two days previous and were stoked for another alpine line before the season ended. The climbing included lots of steep snow and precarious rock and mixed. We summited at around 8:30pm then spent the next few hours navigating the knife edge ridge with hefty cornices. The nightly winds were strong so it took us quite a while to get off the ridge eventually making three long 70 meter rappels into a nearby gully where we then progressed into hours of front pointing and down climbing on spring snow. We have named it Life Compass for a number of reasons. Primarily because my life has taken such a sudden 180 degree turn since the loss of Marc in March and alpine climbing has been my guide. I dedicate this climb to my climbing mentor, partner and love Marc-Andre who would probably solo it the following day 😉 if he was here. Mount Blane is very large and complex, so Life Compass requires navigation and time efficiency. I will post a more detailed description soon. —————————————————————@arcteryx @lasportivana @julboeyewearna #mountblane #kananaskiscountry #rockiesalpine

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