Having spent the night at the Shunda Creek hostel, we get up at 5:30 AM to go climb Kitty Hawk. After the standard pre-climb breakfast, we leave at 6:45 AM. That should bring us to the parking spot for the climb well before sunrise. Not early enough! Since Eric is sleepy, I end up driving. About 10 miles before the parking below the climb, a truck comes flying by me at 100 MPH or something. S&@#! Hope they're not climbers… Sure enough, a few minutes later, we find them getting ready for "Kitty Hawk". Damned! This climb is becoming our Nemesis: second time we plan to climb it and can't. Nothing we can do, so we decide to climb "Elliot Left Hand", a route that is located a few hundred meters left (south) of Kitty Hawk. A 50 min approach on a good, broken trail leads us to the base of the climb.
After an initial WI3+ pitch with a short steep section, "Eliott" follows a gully for a couple of pitches to a final WI4 pillar. I lead the first three pitches leaving the crux pillar for Eric. The first pitch appears wet from a distance but turns out to have good ice, although a bit brittle. There is a good belay anchor (2 bolts with chains) on the left at the top of the pitch. I belay Eric up who then moves the belay a couple of feet up in an alcove on the right. The third pitch goes up the chimney: fun pitch in a narrow slot with good plastic ice. More snow and easy ice leads to the final steep pitch. Eric takes that one. The climbing is not that hard but it's tricky to get good placements - the ice is broken on the first half then becomes chandeliered and brittle.
After enjoying nice views of Abraham Lake from the top of the climb, we're ready to go down. We rap the upper pitch from a tree on the left. After some downclimbing (snow and easy ice), we reach the top of a more exposed ice section that we chose to rap from webbing slung around a chockstone. That brings us to the top of the second pitch that we also rap from an existing Abalakov. One more rap from the beefy bolted anchor and we're back at our packs. Plenty of daylight left - a nice easy day.
Eliott Left Hand, David Thompson Hwy.
|Starting from the end... coming back down; the climb starts in the tight slot in the background.|
|Lucie leading the first pitch into the slot.|
|Going through a steep step.|
|The bolted belay at the top of the first pitch.|
|Continuing up the tight gully on rolling ice (click for movie).|
|Exiting the slot.|
|The upper pillar (WI4).|
|Starting up the crux pillar.|
|Abraham Lake from the top of the climb.|