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Quebec’s Route des Baleines is Mega New M9 WI7

Stas Beskin, who has been having a monumental year on the ice and mixed, has reported about a new route called Route des Baleines in Quebec he’s made the first ascent of with Daniel Martian.

“A line of a lifetime,” Beskin said. “We’ve never climbed anything like this before.”

Route des Baleines and is located at Sainte Marguerite River in the territory of Mont-Valin, Le Fjord-du-Saguenay, a tributary to the Saguenay River.

“I spotted this line last year, when we came to climb the 150-metre L’Appartement M8 WI7 at Cote Nord,” said Beskin.

Route des baleines climbs the right line Photo Stas Beskin

“We came too late in the season and that climb had started to fall on us so we had to bail.”

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This year, they returned with the hopes of climbing a new route. “It’s 180 metres of challenging and in-your-face climbing from bottom to the top,” said Beskin.

“It has verglas, daggers, blobs, mushrooms, jellyfish, overhangs, a chimney and an offwidth, just name a few features.”

Stas Beskin on the first pitch Photo Daniel Martian

As Beskin said, “The line is of unbelievable quality. Three long pitches, each one is very special in its own way.”

The first 40-metre WI6 pitch start 20 metres right of the 180-metre Le Mulot WI6+ and climbs a thinly iced corner to a roof to a dagger before another dagger and an anchor.

The second pitch climbs the dagger past two bolts in a 20-metre M7 WI6+ pitch. You can link the first two pitches into one 65-metre length.

Third-pitch offwidth Photo Stas Beskin

The third pitch climbs up a pillar into a bomb-bay chimney, a burly offwidth and a thin seam. It all leads to ice blogs in a cave after a 45-metre battle up M9 WI6 terrain with a few bolts, but bring some small gear to “soothe the runouts.”

The final pitch heads up dizzying WI7- ice features to the top. From there, you rappel from threads and bolts. They brought a dozen screws, nuts and cams.

As Beskin points out, “The objective hazards are: remote area, sink holes in the approach, a lot of free-hanging ice and it faces southeast, so no climbing in warm temps.”

Beskin and Martian climbed the 300-metre Rockies test-piece Rocket Man M7+ WI5+ 300m in the fall of 2016. Beskin has climbed new M13s and repeated hard M10 trad routes and Martian is a leading Ontario 5.14 rock climber.

Starting the fourth pitch Photo Stas Beskin