Will Mayo, Anna Pfaff and Joe Terravecchia have made the first ascent of a spray ice line right of the big waterfall in Newfoundland known as Pissing Mare Falls. The 400-metre route forms with blobs and ice umbrellas.
“Joe Terravecchia first saw this route on his first ice climbing trip to Newfoundland in 1997,” said Mayo. “Since that time, he and his regular partner Casey Shaw, have diligently courted this route, returning year after year, in hopes that it would form up well enough to climb.”
Mayo continued, “This year, it did. Joe and Casey camped atop the remote falls for eight days, enduring stormy weather for that entire time. Casey was forced to return to work in Santa Fe, New Mexico on Monday and Joe recruited Anna Pfaff and I to join him on one final attempt on Tuesday.
We snowmobiled in one and a half hours, with the help of local guides, at five am, arriving atop the falls at first light. We descended a steep snow gully west of the falls, to reach the shores of Western Brook Pond (a deep fjord that rarely freezes, necessitating our approach from above) at 8:30.
“We began climbing at 9 a.m., simul-climbed 500’ up ice smears on a ramp, protected from the periodic collapsing ice of the falls themselves. The 230′ second pitch worked up grade four ice toward the large corner system, plastered with spray ice, which loomed above.
The third and fourth pitches, each 100’ long, climbed vertical bizarre featured spray ice between sheltered belays in ice caves. The 100’ crux fifth pitch, led by Joe, surmounted an overhanging bulge and continued up into the corner system to a glorious belay with bomber rock gear beneath the final headwall.
“The wildly exposed 230’ sixth and final pitch traversed rightward on mottled, explosive spray ice which became thinner toward the top. We returned to the drop-off site at 4:30 and our guides arrived at 5 p.m. with smoked salmon and trout, warmed on the muffler pots of their snowmobiles, along with a bottle of scotch. This was the most adventuresome and satisfying ice climb of our careers, we all agree.”
The three strong American climbers made the first ascent of a WI6+ line up the falls they call Dreamline on Feb. 21.