Brette Harrington, Marc-Andre Leclerc and Steve Janes made the second ascent of The Theft in B.C. on Feb. 12.
The Theft is a 240-metre mixed line described by many as the most aesthetic winter climb in the area.
Located at Bridge River west of Lillooet, The Theft was first climbed in 1996 by Californians Kevin Normoyle and Quang-Tuan Luong.
There’s a great blog from the first ascent that you can read here and photos from it here. In it, Luong wrote, “The new line is truly a showpiece of the varieties of hard ice climbing, and is also very esthetic. It includes a narrow icy chimney, which required an aid move on the first attempt, as well as an exposed traverse with a lot of air below.
“The final column, three pitches high, is a partially detached huge stalactite, on which the comfortable cave belays have an airy, big-wall ambiance. There are overhanging moves and sustained long sections on several pitches of extremely varying nature.
“Out of the six pitches of the climb, five offer significant difficulties. We carried a full load of courage on our rack in addition to the usual screws and slings, yet managed to use only the same #1 Camalot that Lee placed during the first attempt.”
Local climber Danny O’Farrell had been sending photos of The Theft to Lelcerc and Janes over the past few weeks. “Janes found the old blog post,” said Ofarrell. “I flagged where to cross and then planned the easiest approach up. There was no snow, so I didn’t have to punch a trail but offered.”
Some years ago, strong climbers Jia Condon and Chris Geisler attempted it in mixed condition and added bolts to pitch-four. But it never received a second ascent.
Zoom in to spot my yellow jacket on the second ascent of The Theft near Lillooet yesterday. With @bretteharrington and Steve Janes. Photo by Danny O’Farrell. I first heard about the route on my first day ever ice climbing 11 years ago, ‘the hardest route on the coast’ supposedly and unrepeated to boot; it was hard not to be intrigued! So a a dream was certainly realized yesterday when we finally got to check it out. These last two days have been some of the most special days of climbing I’ve had in western BC. Photo: @danny.ofarrell #arcteryx #dmmclimbing #maximropes
Leclerc climbed a direct variation to pitch-one and avoided the thin ice strip to the right. He graded it a 40-metre M5 WI6X.
The second and third pitches were funky chimney ice pitches. The big question was whether the fourth-pitch would go.
Leclerc said about the 40-metre M7 WI6+ pitch, “Dry-tool past bolts to make a wide stem to the ice. Crank through ice roofs with knee bars to gain the front of the column and an eventual cave belay.”
The final pitch is a 55-metre WI6 with ice roofs and “cobra hoods” that ends at the top.
Leclerc wrote on West Coast Ice, “Amazing that this hadn’t seen a repeat in 22 years. It must be the best waterfall climb in southwestern B.C. without question.”
After they got to the top, O’Farrell drove home and “cooked a huge leg of lamb dinner, roasted potatoes and salad” for everyone.
If you’re wondering what gear to bring, Leclerc said “a selection of cams to 0.75, knifeblades and bird beak for direct first-pitch.”
Here’s @mdre92 climbing a direct start to pitch 1 of The Theft near Lillooet, BC. This route was established in ‘96 and hasn’t seen a second ascent until yesterday. Marc has been talking about this route for years, so it was pretty special to climb it. Pitch’s 2 and 3 were fun chimney ice climbing, and pitch 4 was the question mark with technical mixed, M7, climbing leading into WI6. The final pitch was a mega 55 meters of overhanging ice grooves. @arcteryx @lasportivana @julboeyewearna @liquidiv #bridgerivercanyon #iceclimbing #celebratewild @olympuscamera #olympuscamera