Canadians have a longer winter than usual from coast to coast to coast this year due to a polar vortex that’s keeping things icy.
The prolonged cold season is good news for ice and mixed climbers who are taking advantage of the spring chills.
Jean-Francois Girard has reported that on March 22 with Carl Darveau and Tzao Plamondon, he made the first ascent of a project at Les portes de l’ enfer.
He called the new route The Siegfried’s Funeral M10 and it’s the most difficult climb in this area of Quebec.
The a canyon where the is found about 40 kilometres south of Rimouski, a well-known town on the shore of Saint Lawrence River, 300 kilometres east Québec City.
To access the route, which hadn’t formed in six years, required a six-kilometre ski.
“In December, I got really excited when I saw it shape up and gave it few tries with differents partners,” said Girard.
“On March 24, after bailing on a project in Percé, Tzao Plamondon and I went to give it a go.
“After a good effort, I blew the crux and fell a few metres.”
The 30-metre route climbs an overhanging, diagonal sandstone band. It overhangs nearly 10 metres.
“It is really slippery, dusty and unsecure,” said Girard. “Many of the placements are dicey, so great concentration is required to not blow it on the fragile and breaking holds.
“We came back the day after and i sent the line. The first part is an ultra dynamic overhang with sketchy feet that lead to a super complex lock-off to reach a little crack than the ice curtain.
“After the mid-way ice is an M8 roof with a complex puzzle of slopers, which forced me to use my rock climbing skills.”