We're leaving again for a two day trip in the David Thompson area. The plan this time is to climb a short route on the first day, "Five Seven Zero", spend the night at the Shunda Creek hostel and climb Kitty Hawk, the "jewel" of the DT area the next day.
On January 16, we leave Canmore early (6 AM) and drive to the David Thompson Highway to climb Five Seven Zero, a two-pitch route with a southern exposure that sits near the top of a long ridge above the road. We park near Whirpool Point per the guidebook instructions and follow the lower ridge up to the climb. As we'll later find out on the descent, this makes the approach longer than it should have been; a better strategy is to park along the road at a large clearing just below the climb and hike up rocky slopes to join the ridge much higher.
After 90 minutes of postholing and bushwacking, we reach the base of the climb. This one is my lead. The first pitch is a steep but short WI4 step. The ice is pretty good but surprisingly brittle given the mild temperatures! I belay Eric from a tree on the left. The second pitch is easier (WI3+) with one steep section to another belay from trees on the left.
One rap from the tree (nice brand new anchor and rap ring) brings us down to the top of the first pitch. From there, a quick walk down "cheater's gully" on the left (facing down) brings us back to the base. We're back at the car an hour later and drive to the Shunda Creek Hostel.
We arrive there before they open so we take our time to get settled (we spread our gear in the basement to let it dry, unload the food, etc...). After a good hot shower and a tasty meal, we pack the gear for the next day and spend a quiet evening reading in the communal room. We have the hostel to ourselves so far but a lot of week-enders arrive late Friday evening. We go to bed before 9 PM, planning on an early start to climb Kitty Hawk the next day.
Five Seven Zero, David Thompson Hwy
|Five Seven Zero, seen from the road...|
|...and from much closer.|
|What the f%#@!? What happened to "Leave No trace"? Sure hope those campers were not climbers, or I am ashamed to be one.|
|Lucie starting up the first pitch (WI4).|
|Finishing the first pitch.|
|Going up the long, rolling ice flows on the second pitch.|
|Views fro the top, looking South East.|
|Racking gear at the top.|