Brette Harrington and Tony McLane are no strangers to the Canadian Rockies and have demonstrated strong alpine rock skills once again with their new line The Hammer and the Dance up the north pillar of Neptuak.
They graded their 700-metre route 5.11x. This is one of the most serious new alpine routes to be climbed in western Canada this year.
Neptuak Mountain was named in 1894, it’s the Stoney word for “nine” as Neptuak is peak nine in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. The summit is a tripoint for Banff National Park, Kootenay National Park and Yoho National Park, where the three parks share a border.
“This line has been on my mind for the past few years and finally it came together,” said Harrington of the new serious line. “We spent one night on the wall and one at the summit. The climbing was continuously demanding and steep till the very top. It was quite serious as we encountered many difficulties around mid 5.11 with lose rock and very little pro.”
We recently spoke to Harrington about climbing in Canada during the pandemic. “One of the coolest things about exploring local mountains and peaks is you understand them and their weather patterns better,” she said.
Revisiting alpine zones allows you to better grasp the terrain and how it responds to specific weather and sun orientation. “The more you visit an area [and the longer you stay], the more you become familiar and can expand what you try to climb,” she said.
Harrington is currently based in Golden and McLane in Squamish. The list of routes they’ve climbed solo or with varying partners is long and include some of the most impressive feats accomplished by Canadian alpinists.
Over a two day push in April 2019, Ines Papert, Luka Lindic and Harrington completed the first route to climb the entire east face of Mount Fay not far from Neptuak. The 1,110-metre alpine line goes at IV M8 WI5.
In 2017, McLane made the first solo of the north face of Geikie in the Ramparts, a 750-metre 5.11. You can read about his epic climb here.
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Over the past few days @tony.mclane and I climbed a new route on the North Pillar of Neptuak. This line has been on my mind for the past few years and finally it came together! The Hammer and the Dance, 5.11x, 700m. We spent one night on the wall and one at the summit. The climbing was continuously demanding and steep till the very top. It was quite serious as we encountered many difficulties around mid 5.11 with lose rock and very little pro. The Hammer and the Dance seemed fitting given the circumstances of the pandemic and the fact that we hammered a fair number of beaks, then danced above them . I’ll be sure to share more info about the route soon. ❤️ @thenorthface @thenorthface_climb @lasportivana @trailbutter @goodtogofoods @grade7equipment @julboeyewearna @mammutna #alpineclimbing #firstascent #morainelake #canadianrockies #alpineclubofcanada