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Unnamed Direct is New Rockies Moderate Alpine

On Nov. 5, Simon Richardson and Ian Welsted climbed a new 500-metre moderate alpine line between the town of Banff and Lake Louise they called Unnamed Direct WI3 M4.

Richardson, the curator of ScottishWinter.com, was visiting Banff to receive the Best Guidebook Award from the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival for his book Chasing the Ephemeral: 50 Routes for a Successful Scottish Winter.

Simon said he doesn't climb ice, but then we found some and he did.

A post shared by Ian Welsted (@ianwelsted) on

Richardson reached out to Welsted and told him that he wanted to climb new routes on his trip to Canada. Richardson is no stranger to new routes in Canada, having climbed some on Canada’s West Coast over the past few decades.

The latest being a new 42-pitch alpine climb up the southwest face of Monarch Mountain in the Coast Mountains called Game of Thrones.

Welsted, one of only two Canadians to receive the Piolet d’Or (the other being Raphael Slawinski for their trip to K6 West), helped make Richardson’s new-route idea come to life.

The duo climbed two new routes, their first being Unclimbed Line on an unnamed ridge on the lower section of Storm Mountain above Arnica Lake west of Banff. The other a moderate mixed route near Field, B.C.

Welsted said about Unnamed Direct: “It seems like the lower gully to get to the last few pitches to the ridge was someones project as there were two pitons and a nut spread apart in the first few hundred meters of the route Perhaps it has even been done before, but judging from the biner left on the last nut, I’m going to guess project.

“I’m also going to take a guess that an old Rockies hand may have been involved, but if anyone knows any history here, it’d be interesting to know.”

Richardson and Welsted climbed the line in -30C temperatures at 2,700 metres. “The protection was good, the rock was generally excellent, and the climbing interesting despite not being very steep.”

The approach took about two hours and their car to car time was 19. For beta on the new line visit Alpine Climbs in the Canadian Rockies on Facebook here.

Unknown Direct Photo Ian Welsted

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