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New M9 WI6+ is B.C.’s Hardest New Mix Climb

The mixed route follows steep rock to the left of the popular Shreddie WI6 pillar on the Duffy

Photo by: Brent Nixon

A cold winter in parts of western Canada has led to the development of several new ice and mixed climbs. On the Duffy Highway north of Whistler in the Lillooet Range, Brent Nixon and Steve Janes have made the first ascent of Jade Warrior, a 70-metre M9 WI6+. It’s found in the Rambles/Closet Secret area.

“Took two days to bolt it on lead then tried it four times before sending,” said Nixon, who’s established several climbs in B.C. this winter. Local climber Mohammad Pahrbod joined in on the action for a day.

“This was over three separate weekends driving from Vancouver three hours north to the Duffy. I was on the route about 20 minutes for the send. My glasses started fogging-up once I got on the upper ice. Had to hang on and unzip my jacket to see.”

The climb starts off with a 10-metre step of WI3 and some scrambling to get to a bolt belay. The second pitch is the first real climbing with 35 metres up to WI5 of cauliflowers from water spray. From there, you reach a sheltered cave belay behind the main Shreddie WI6 pillar. “Steve and I replaced the bolt anchor here with a super duty chain equalized station,” said Nixon.

From the cave belay, climb 13 bolts trending leftward and up on overhanging rock to the left side dagger. “I stemmed to the dagger,” said Nixon, “then chimney’d behind it higher until committing full weight on it and moving around to the front. Wild exposure here overhanging the gully far below. I traversed off the smaller dagger onto the main overhanging ice of Shreddie and continued straight up the front. The ice eased to WI5 with perfect plastic sticks to a perfect flat belay at the top.”

Nixon said that figuring out the beta meant first cleaning loose rock to see what holds wouldn’t break. “I didn’t have any major whips but I did take a few surprise falls when the rock ripped,” he said.

“Steve and I cleaned some enormous loose blocks off the route. It was a mental test bolting this on lead with so much loose rock. It was a culmination of my years of experience climbing loose rock to be able to ease up on holds instead of pulling down aggressively.”

Lead photo: Brent Nixon