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Big New Routes Climbed in B.C. Alpine Valley Called Pangea

Three climbers visit a remote zone and climb a few stunning lines, including the 600-metre Disaster Fauna 5.11 A0

Photo by: Nick Hindley

Nick Hindley, Harlin Brandvold and Duncan Pawson have recently returned from an expedition to an area west of Terrace, B.C., called the Ecstall region. Over two trips in 2019 and 2021, they established a number of big routes, and noted there’s a lot of potential for new routes.

When asked about whether climbers had visited the area before, Hindley said, “Nope, to our knowledge no one else has been out there at all.” And whether they’ll be going back next year, he said, “I think we’re done in there for the time being – there’s a lot more of B.C. to explore! It’d be sweet to see some others get into the area, though.”

The remote valley is accessed via helicopter and is located below the north face of Mount Gilt, a 1,200-metre wall. The three climber called the unnamed valley: Pangea. Below are a list of routes, and we’ll have a more in depth story in a future issue of Gripped. Below are route descriptions by Hindley.

Disaster Fauna 5.11 A0 15 pitches, 600 m: A very high quality route that climbs a buttress on the North side of the valley; linking corners and cracks at solid grades. We’re pretty excited about this one; it involves a ton of fun and varied climbing through interesting terrain including dykes, splitter hand cracks, and face climbing over chicken heads and bizarre granite pods. There is a three-bolt ladder to get you through the hardest section, which could probably be freed at 5.11+ or 5.12-. Rock quality is very good, and mostly free of vegetation until the angle kicks back at around pitch 10.
Flight of the Dodo 5.10 8 pitches, 350 m: Climbs Cambrian Wall, a smaller feature immediately north of Ecstall Pass (col). Climbs a cool corner system to a ledge, then out onto chicken heads and some harder face terrain. Does not quite top out the feature as rock quality deteriorates higher up.
Lizard King (incomplete) 5.10 C2 8 pitches (so far), ~300 m: One of the most aesthetic looking features I’ve ever seen, from afar. This climbs a dead straight dyke that bisects nearly the entirety of Extinction Wall. Turns out it’s wide and largely wet, from the glacier overhead. But a few decades of climate change should deal with that, and it will be stellar. Starts out right and traverse a dyke, then meets the base of the main dyke. From there the wetness begins, but you can climb along the dry outer edges of the dyke and avoid the water, placing gear in the dyke. Eventually you hit the ‘Komodo Roof, which is a slimy waterfall through a prominent overhang. Grit your teeth and aid through it at C2. Continue up another few wet chimney pitches to a portaledge station below a small roof. This was our high point, about 40% of the way up the wall. The dyke deepens and widens the higher you go, we believe it may get dry higher up once you pass a stream flowing down the wall. We would be psyched if this route was finished by another party, but it’s certainly not for everyone.
Planktonic Relationship – Mostly mid-5th, some 5.8 moves, 12 pitches, ~450 m: An easy ramble up a prominent slab on the north side of the Valley. The angle lessens higher up into solo-able slab. Wear comfy shoes and bug spray.

Hindley added, “Endless FAs to be had, including the absolutely monstrous north face of Gilt. It’s got to be among the largest walls in the Coast Range. We got a bunch of footage from the trip and hope to put together a short video about it.”

Disaster Fauna topo via Hindley

Lead photo: Nick Hindley