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Massive New Alpine Mixed Route on B.C.’s Mount MacDonald

They called it the Indirect American M7 WI4+ 1,000m

Chris Wright and Graham Zimmerman made the first ascent of a 1,000-metre long alpine ice routes on the north side of Mount MacDonald in the near Roger’s Pass in B.C. They climbed it in 62 hours car to car and bivied twice.

They called it the Indirect American and it was climbed over three days in the middle of November, Wright and Zimmerman graded it M7 WI4+.

The Selkirk Mountain were the birth place of hard mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies and the first ascent of MacDonald was in 1886 by J.J. McArthur. Roger’s Pass has some winter routes and is one of the worlds most popular backcountry skiing areas.

Zimmermann and Wright are experienced climbers who knew about the icy project on MacDonald for years, but needed the right conditions. When things lined up in November, they headed north from their home in Oregon.

“It was Wright’s research and patience that allowed us to get this one done,” said Zimmerman. “He spied the window between when winter conditions hit and when the closure comes into effect and we were ready when the right conditions showed up. I’ve been watching with him for a while now, and it took a couple of years for particular conditions to come together, but oh man was it worth it when they did.

They had to bushwhack up a steep slope to reach the wall at the top of large avalanche slopes and they started left of the obvious feature. They bivied after one long day on a snow ledge.

On Nov. 12, they climbed nearly 100 metres of WI4+ ice into many more pitches of solid M6 climbing up obvious features before reaching another ledge for another bivy.

“A long dream on a north wall, just us and the rocks and the clouds, the ice and the air, a sense of purpose and the sun passing behind, one more magical idea made real,” said Wright about the route.

After reaching the east ridge, they climbed to the top before heading back down the Southwest Ridge to the Banana/Herdman Couloir which they rappelled. Thanks to the low avalanche conditions, they were able to head down the slopes.