Ice - Valley of the Sun

Grant P

Drive: Mostly easy but some deeper ruts in occasional spots. The drive in after the blue bridge was starting to flood and mildly bumpy. On the way out it was getting deeper and chewed up. TA road was ok. Valley bottom had good driving with little or no new drifting. Wully crossing is ice bridged and easy. It could collapse if we get warm weather but not an issue today. Crossings 39 and 40 had ice shelves building. Lifted rigs ok. Stock may require a 45 degree edge chopped. Approach: walked halfway up before putting crampons on. Walked all the way down with crampons on ice or snow. Occasional wet hole to watch for. Climb: generally decent shape. Some pitches had flat ice below them indicating they may have only frozen over recently with the past weeks cold snap. We tentatively trusted them. One or two pitches seemed a little thin so easy on your swings. The chockstone pitch was thin in the narrows and the chockstone itself was its usual awkward self. Final pitch had a shell on the apron down low. The steep part was surprisingly not overly brittle. There was an accumulation of snow above the steep part on the concavity. Moving onto the steeper part it fractured and settled but didnt slide. It was the only fracturing I noticed for the day. We did see signs of a point release though on a steep sunny slope on the approach but small. All rap stations in good order. Had to dig out a couple and the autumns fires seem to have had little impact in the vicinity of the climb. Final rap tree and around weren't affected by fire although we did see one burned log in the drainage.

Weather

-28c temps driving from Cochrane. Significantly warmer as we got into the Ghost. -17c as we left the car around 11am. Warm in the sun. Clouded over early afternoon. As we did the final pitch and descended it got cooler again. Winds were strong enough to be blowing spindrift around both in the canyon base and from steep walls high above us. Thankfully not too significant winds or it may have felt quite a bit cooler.

Source: Avalanche Canada MIN