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Canadians Put Up Boltless Mixed Climb in Rockies
Posted on: April 7, 2011
Raphael Slawinski on The Peach (WI5 M8, 110m), Storm Creek, Canadian Rockies. Slawinski, with partner Grant Meekins, established the climb March 12, and later returned to film the second ascent. See the footage from the climb on Alpinist TV. [Photo] Raphael Slawinski Collection
In the last weeks of winter, Grant Meekins and Raphael Slawinski put up a bolt-free ice and mixed line at Storm Creek in the Canadian Rockies. The Peach (WI5 M8, 110m) climbs an overhanging scoop of yellow limestone below an "imposing" dagger of ice hanging from the top of the wall. The duo established the climb ground-up in four short pitches.
Slawinski first came across the climb in spring of 2008, and bailed from the third pitch on his first attempt. "We retreated from below a radically overhanging crack with our tails between our legs," Slawinski wrote. On March 12, he returned with Meekins for a second attempt.
Situated between the Crash and Sinister Street routes, The Peach's first pitch climbs a 30-meter ice pillar of WI5, followed by a short pitch of chossy M4. On the second pitch, "...most of the holds are portable, and half of the pins can be cleaned by hand," said Slawinski, who belayed Meekins though that section. Pitch 3 ascends a wide, overhanging crack that leads to a final 40 meters of WI5 M7 on a dagger of ice. "[W]ith every move up the overhanging corner I am acutely aware of the painful smack into the ledge below I would incur if I should fall," Slawinski said of the final pitch.
Route line of The Peach (WI5 M8, 110m), Storm Creek, Canadian Rockies. [Photo] Raphael Slawinski
The duo carried a bolt kit, but relied only on pins, screws and trad gear for protection. "[I]t was definitely tempting to pull out the bolt kit once or twice, especially at belays," Slawinski said, "but I persevered and in the end was able to get decent gear in spite of the poor rock quality."
Slawinski later returned with Jerome Yearly to make the second ascent, with Wiktor Skupinski along to film the climb. Watch Skupinski's footage on Alpinist TV.