Home > Ice

Hard B.C. Mixed Route “The Theft” Gets Second Ascent

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.

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.”

Check out the latest buyer's guide:

The Best Climbing Gear According to Our Editors

It's the perfect time of year to freshen up your rack for the spring rock climbing season