Home > Ice

Rocket Man in Canadian Rockies Climbed in 2018

In the shade on the left: Shadow, Riptide, Tsunami (unformed,) and on the right in the sun: Rocket Baby (unformed,) and Rocket Man Photo Raphael Slawinski

Rocket Man in the Canadian Rockies has long been one of the test-piece big mixed routes with glaciated terrain and big avalanche dangers.

The monster mixed rig has been climbed by Raphael Slawinski and Landon Thompson in spring-like conditions.

Rocket Man was first climbed in 1999 by David Thomson, Kafira Allen, Eric Dumerac and Raphael Slawinski.

It did not have a second recorded ascent until 2011 when Raphael Slawinski and Jon Walsh climbed it, read about it here.

Yes, Slawinski has climbed it three times. Thompson said, “He cruises those rock to ice transitions as if they’re nothing. There’s plenty of choss… the bedding plane of the rock is downward into the wall so sometimes when you pull off a loose block you actually luck out and end up with a decent new hold underneath.”

In 2007, Ueli Steck and Simon Anthamatten climbed a variation to Rocket Man called Rocket Baby M8+ WI5+X.

Nick Bullock and Greg Boswell climbed Rocket Man in the fall of 2013. and in the winter of 2013/14, Gery Unterasinger and Alex Hollaus climbed it.

Then Kurt Ross and Colin Simon have climbed it, a sandbagged 350-metre M7+ WI6 on the steep walls below the Snowbird Glacier on Mount Patterson in the Rockies.

Greg Boswell on Rocket Man Photo Nick Bullock

Ross and Jess Roskelley attempted the big route a few days before but ran out of day light before finishing.

Shortly after Ross and Simon, Toronto-based climbers Stas Beskin and Daniel Martian climbed it. There may be other ascents that have been done over the past few years.

Thompson and Slawinski attempted the second ascent of Rocket Baby, but as Thompson reported, “Raph climbed to the base of it but couldn’t find any belay bolts and no good options for a gear belay. Looking up at an upside-down piton three metres up and a bolt five metres up we decided it was not going to happen. Ueli and Simon climbed the route in the fall whereas we were there in the spring so perhaps the belay bolts (if there are any) are buried in the snow.

“Having spent a couple hours trying to figure out the start of Rocket Baby, we figured we might as well make use of the day and climb as much of Rocket Man as we could. Turned out by linking some pitches we were able to top out the route and make it back to our packs just as night fell.

“Day tripping this route from Calgary made for a long and tiring but awesome day and likely last ice route of the season for Raph and I.”

Check out the latest buyer's guide:

Warm Belay Jackets For Cold Weather Climbing

You'll want to make sure that you have a warm puffy as we head into winter. Here are some great choices