Dani Arnold on Power Shrimps Photo Thomas Senf

In February 2018, Dani Arnold established and sent Power Shrimps at Helmcken Falls in northwestern B.C.

Arnold had visited the big and wild cave a few times, but the finicky conditions kept him and his team from climbing anything significant.

Earlier this year, teamed with Martin Ecsher, Arnold freed Power Shrimps, which climbs diagonally across the cave from right to left.

The first of the two pitches is 45 metres long and overhangs a whopping 30 metres. The second pitch is only 20 metres but provides a sting in the tail.

The route is bolted, but like most spray-ice climbs at Helmcken, there are big run outs and the ice often breaks without warning.

Helmcken was first climbed at in 2010 by Will Gadd and Tim Emmett. Over the years, a number of top climbers have established routes there, including Raphael Slawinski.

Raphael Slawinski at Helmcken Photo Wiktor Skupinski

There are at least a dozen hard spray-ice routes, including Interstellar Spice, Spray On and Wolverine.

While grades have been suggested from WI10 to WI12 and harder, Arnold chose not to grade Power Shrimps.

He told planetmountain.com last winter, “Let’s just say it’s hard, beautiful and one of the highlights of my ice climbing career. Why didn’t I grade it? Well the climbing in the cave is so unique.

“Conditions change completely every year, depending on how the winds blow in autumn when the ice first starts to form, and so the drips that I pulled on will never be there again.

“And even if you have a metal detector, chances are you’ll never find the bolts. That’s just how it is here at Helmcken and why I was so happy to finally find the right conditions. Talk about third time lucky!”

Gadd and Sarah Hueniken made the second ascent of Power Shrimps a few days after Arnold. Gadd said it was one of the best ice lines he’d ever climbed.

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