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New Moderate Alpine Route Above Bow Lake

Ian Welsted returned in January 2019 to complete a route he’d first attempted in 2018 above Bow Lake on the Icefields Parkway, Alberta. Welsted was joined by Alik Berg for the first ascent.

“Just completed a mini alpine route Jesse Bouliane and I started last spring,” said Welsted on his blog. “This year, Berg and I shimmied, chimneyed and enjoyed the short approach just across Bow Lake from Num-ti-jah lodge.”

Welsted and Raphael Slawinski received the Piolet d’Or in 2014 for their first ascent of K6 West. Welsted is currently based in Golden, B.C., and works as an ice climbing guide. Contact him through Instagram below.

Route description from Welsted’s blog. To approach C-train: Ski across Bow Lake from Num-ti-jah Lodge to the base of the biggest gully on the northmost end of Crowfoot Mountain, just to the left of the normal Bow Hut approach. Clearly visible from Num-ti-jah Lodge. Stash skis and continue on the fan through a narrowing of the snow gully until below the looming daggers of main amphitheatre gully (looks like a science project for stronger climbers).

C-train begins on an ice smear ten meters right of the daggers of the main amphitheatre and follows a very obvious gully up and right to the ridge.

Pitch one: WI3 15 meters. Sometimes dry, climb to an obvious ledge and fixed anchor below a steepening in the wall.
Pitch two: M5 40 meters. (Fixed anchor) Drytool steep twin cracks to start, and a second right facing corner at 20 meters to a belay on easy ledges.
Pitch three: M4 40 meters. Start up an easy right facing corner for 5 meters, then swim up snow in the gully to a huge cave with ice pouring down its right wall.
Pitch four: WI3+ 60 meters. Climb out of the cave to the right then up a 8 meter vertical pillar (present in 2019, not in 2018). Exit to the far right to avoid a steep wall above. Traverse until below a short (5 meter) wall with twin cracks. A direct up the steep wall directly above the pillar looks possible. If the ice pillar is not in a traverse on easy ledges to the right is possible.
Pitch five: M4 30 meters. Climb easily on twin face cracks to the left of the belay, then swim up snow in the gully to another huge cave.
Pitch six: M6 40 meters. Small people could possibly tunnel up through a narrow channel at the back of the cave. Failing that, climb up to the right side of the large roof chockstone, then awkwardly turn the roof on the right onto a perfect bivi ledge (upper end of possible tunnel). Above on the left wall is a wide steep crack (M6). At its top traverse right on perfect edges to exit right onto snow ledges. Traverse right to a fixed anchor. Rap the route.

Ian Welsted on C-train

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