Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Temperatures cooled off so Rob Smith and I decided to go for another try on Cryophobia.  Kris Irwin was unable to join us this  time so we were without a 4x4 vehicle capable of giving us a short approach by driving up the Waiparous Creek road.  So we drove in my Subaru to the North Ghost and made the long three hour trudge to the climb.

Hydrophobia is the big ice climb on the left. Cryophobia climbs up the rock on the right to the ice at the top
We quickly dispensed with the two pitches we climbed the previous week

Rob Smith leading the second pitch
I agreed to lead the ice at the top and Rob led all the difficult mixed pitches.  The third pitch was rated as the crux going over an M8 overhang .

Rob leading on third pitch
The fourth pitch was still plenty difficult even though it was rated easier at M7.  But the fifth pitch gave us the most trouble and was also rated easier than the third pitch at M7+.  I'm convinced that M7+ is the mixed climbing sandbag rating.
Rob leading the fourth pitch

On the sixth pitch I took over leading.  Above the first bolt I broke a hold with my ice tool and came off onto Rob crampons first.  Fortunately no one was hurt and I went back up and climbed out onto the ice dagger and the fatter Grade 5 ice above.  That was followed by another ice pitch rated 5+ that took us to the top of the climb.  It is a great route.  I would vote Cryophobia as one of the best mixed climbs I've done in the Canadian Rockies!

Me leading the fifth pitch onto the ice dagger looking down on Rob

It was a technical rappel down the climb in the dark given that it is overhung most of the way. Rob went first and on each rappel he had to clip the rope into several intermediate points so he could reach the next anchor and not be way out in space. It was hard for me to un-clip and retrieve those intermediate anchors as Rob pulled me into the wall from below.  After the climb we still had the long three hour trudge back to the car followed by a late night arrival back in Canmore.


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