NEW ALPINE MIXED ROUTE IN CANADIAN ROCKIES' CHICKADEE VALLEY

Posted on: November 19, 2007


“Owens/Walsh” (IV+ M6+ A1, 600m) on the North Face of "Mt. MOG" (2680m). Eamonn Walsh and Rob Owens climbed the new route in sixteen hours on October 26, 2007. [Photo] Rob Owens

In keeping with the recent explosion of early season route establishment in the Canadian Rockies, Eamonn Walsh and Rob Owens established a new alpine mixed route in the Chickadee Valley this October. The Valley is on the British Columbian side of the Continental Divide, roughly opposite the valley that is home to the famed Stanley Headwall.

The route climbs a line of weakness on the north face of a previously unnamed 2680m peak on the south side of the valley. Rob Owens described the climb as, "An awesome day, [with] ice splatterings on every pitch, but only 2 ice screws used on the entire route. [It had] a couple of hard pitches with lots of easier mixed—M4—in between, which allowed us to get to the top and down in 16 hours. Snow conditions were perfect—neve in places!"

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"We aided on short section to keep the pace. It would have gone free at a short but very physical M8-ish—overhanging, arcing roof corner crack with decent gear, but no feet to start."

The descent was a combination of down-climbing and short rappels—sometimes rather exposed. Owens suggests that a couloir on the west side of the peak would be a better choice of descent for repeats of this route.

Owens said, "After doing considerable research to see if the peak had been climbed, we figured it hadn't and called the peak Mt. MOG. 'MOG' stands for Man of Girth, of which Eamonn and I both are. Can also stand for 'Part man, part dog'."

Owens suggests that this style of alpine climbing—routes on lesser known peaks of lower elevation that still have quality climbing and relatively long routes—is increasing in popularity in the region. He writes, "For many of the still-active but seasoned veterans of the M-generation, this is a great alternative to bolting yet another mixed route. It hones the skills for bigger alpine walls as it involves climbing in committing situations—in winter-like conditions, remote areas, run-outs and short days."

Earlier in the month, Owens and Steve Holeczi climbed a similar new route on the north face of Mt. Bell, which they named Zeitgeist (IV+ M7- WI5 R, 530m).

Walsh, in recent years, has been involved in many first ascents in the Canadian Rockies and Alaska, including this year's first ascent of the west face of Mt. Alberta. Owens is a guide in the Canadian Rockies, and has established several difficult ice and mixed lines in the region but is more well known for his 2001 fourth ascent of Mt. Foraker's The Infinite Spur (Alaska Grade 6 5.9 M5 AI4).

Sources: Rob Owens



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