Climbers are still getting after the winter lines in the Canadian Rockies as we head into the second half of April. While many south facing walls have been warm places for rock climbers, the north facing zones are still plenty cold.
On the Stanley Headwall, there’s still plenty of ice and mixed climbing to do. David Lama, Hansjorg Auer and Jess Rosskelley nabbed a late season ascent of the classic Nemesis WI6. The three top international climbers had recently made a quick ascent of the 700-metre Andromeda Strain IV M5 on Mount Andromeda.
Also on the Headwall, Tom Livingstone and Landon Thompson climbed the seven-pitch The Day After les Vacances de Mr. Hulot M7 WI6. Elsewhere in the Rockies, some ice around Field, B.C., is still being climbed.
Nemesis to Mr. Hulot History
The Stanley Headwall has been the premier winter crag of the Canadian Rockies and a testing ground for winter climbing since way back in 1974. That was the year when Bugs McKeith led the first ascent of Nemesis, using Terrordactyls, aiders, fixed ropes and all of the tricks of the day.
Six years later, James Blench, John Lauchlan and Albi Sole made the second ascent and the first free ascent. Over the years, a few pitches were added to the wall, but it was in the early 1990s that the other obvious ice lines were climbed, such as French Reality WI6+ and Acid Howl WI6+.
Jeff Everett and Glenn Reisenhofer were the first to apply the new vision of mixed climbing to the Headwall. In 1991, they hand-drilled their way to the hanging dagger of Suffer Machine A2 WI5, the route now goes at M7 WI5.
Then, three years later, Francois Damilano and Joe Josephson made the first ascent of The Day After Les Vacances de Mr. Hulot, using mixed and aid. In 1997, Matt Collins and Raphael Slawinski made the second ascent and the first free ascent of Mr. Hulot, on-sighting the aid pitches at M7.