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New 420-Metre WI4 in B.C. is Great Balls of Fire

Top Gun near Lillooet is proving to be one of B.C.'s best early season ice climbing areas

Photo by: Danny O'Farrell of Steve Janes

Danny O’Farrell and Steve Janes have made the first ascent of Great Balls of Fire, a 420-metre WI4 at the Top Gun area near Lillooet, B.C. It’s one of the province’s longest ice climbs that is this less than an hour approach from the road.

The route is broken down to six pitches, all 70 metres: WI2, WI3, WI2, WI3, WI4 and WI4. The ice was in great condition. “There are still a handful of first ascents with at least two classics to still be done out there,” said O’Farrell.

Upper pitches of Great Balls of Fire. Photo by Danny O’Farrell

The area is about a 30-minute drive from Goldbridge down the Bridge River Main Forest Service Road. The majority of routes begin seven kilometres past Jamie Creek Hydro Station.

About the area, O’Farrell said, “In 2018, Steve and I went on an exploratory mission into an unclimbed area establishing the first route Jesters Dead. We named the area Top Gun after the movie. Since 2018 over 10 new routes have been established up to Grade 6. Known as Iceman’s Pillar.” Some of the other routes include: Talk to Me Goose WI4 70m, Two o’s in Goose WI4 160m, Because I Was Inverted WI4 150m, She’s Lost that Loving Feeling WI4 120m and Jester’s Dead WI4+ 80m.

Last week, O’Farrell and Brandon Pullan established the 130-metre Sage Brush M5/6 WI4 as the first bolted multi-pitch in this area of the Fraser Canyon. Keep an eye out for the announcement of the Lillooet Ice Climbing Festival, which will take place this winter.

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Lead photo: Danny O'Farrell of Steve Janes