The Rockies have unlimited potential for winter adventures. Surprisingly, one of the most obvious faces was left relatively untouched until recently.
The north face of Lawrence Grassi can be seen from every coffee shop in Canmore, making it quite Euro-esque. The large face stands tall above the classic Ha Ling and dwarfs the Canmore Wall and Ship’s Prow. Sean Isaac and Rob Owens attempted a route up the line dubbed the Town Gash a few years ago, but didn’t make it far.
This past summer, Ian Welsted and Sam Eastman climbed a new summer alpine rock route up the north face and called it Miner’s Waltz in C (hoss) Sharp with a Minor. Welsted, fresh from an attempt on Nuptse and keen to establish traditional alpine mixed routes set his sights on Grassi.
His first attempt was with Raphael Slawinski and they made it within a few pitches of the top before the short winter day ended. He then went back with Slawinski and Eastman for an attempt on the Town Gash, but steep drytooling slowed them down. On his third attempt, he returned with David Lussier and Jay Mills. The three of them climbed through a large hole to access the upper weakness and climbed into the dark to finish The Hole M6 300 metres.
The north face of Lawrence Grassi has a number of unclimbed lines, the Town Gash is getting some attention lately. Farther left on the wall is a number of features that would provide excellent winter climbing. The far left S-couloir has been skied.