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Two Big New Ice Routes Near Peyto Lake in Rockies

Maarten van Haeren and Sebastian Taborszky have established three new routes near Caldron Lake, southwest of Peyto Lake.

Caldron Lake sits at about 2,400 metres on the Icefields Parkway north of Lake Louise. “Definitely reminiscent of some areas in Norway, rolling hills with shrubby alpine vegetation,” said van Haeren.

On Nov. 8, van Haeren and Taborszky climbed the new Pigs in the Caldron, a 170-metre WI5. It is the most obvious big ice flow and has no avalanche terrain above due to the bench feature if flows off of.

The four pitch route climbs big pillars with stacked mushroom ice. The two rappelled the route. A few days later, van Haeren returned with Ryan Strohmaier and climbed a new 60-metre route called Socks and Stocks WI4 closer to the road.

Pigs in the Caldron. Photo Maarten van Haeren
Pigs in the Caldron. Photo Maarten van Haeren

On Nov. 18, van Haeren and Taborszky returned to Caldron Lake and climbed the big new mixed alpine route A Witch’s Brew. The 330-metre M5+ WI4 connects drips of ice with short sections of rock. “The rock protected surprisingly well and we found it a worthwhile adventure,” said van Haeren.

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“The route is situated down and left of the unnamed 2,900-metre summit, which was attained on the first ascent. A motivated party could find some adventure by questing up the final headwall instead of traversing as for pitch five.

Taborszky and van Haeren climbed the route in seven long pitches with pitch six being the M5+ crux. “A steep but short 10-metre section of excellent mixed climbing (good nuts) gains the snow slopes above,” said van Haeren.

For gear, they brought a standard mixed rack to two inches, several big hexes, pins and eight to 10 screws. To descend, you can rappel Pigs in the Caldron or head down along the top of the cliff until you reach a glacier and the lake.

Seb Taborszky heading up Witch's Brew. Photo Maarten van Haeren
Seb Taborszky heading up Witch’s Brew. Photo Maarten van Haeren

To get there, you park at the Bow Summit lookout and descend the trail to Peyto Lake and continue to Peyto Creek. Get to the east side of the creek and find a moraine feature up to Caldron Lake.

Head up and over some avalanche terrain to the lake. It takes around four hours. For more information on the new routes, visit here and follow van Haeren on Instagram here.