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HHinkkala

[TR] West Lion - Winter - North Couloir to NW Ridge 02/09/2020

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Posted (edited)

Trip: West Lion - Winter - North Couloir to NW Ridge

Trip Date: 02/09/2020

Trip Report:

 

This trip report is 2 months late but wanted to post this for folks in the future looking for info on this route/or the West Lion in general.

 

On Feb 9 Richard, David and I Climbed the the West Lion via the N couloir and then the NW ridge. We were around 14hrs car to car which seems pretty average for winter routes up on the lions. Some faster groups do achieve 8-12hr range c to c. Nevertheless winter routes up here are always a longer day. 

For general info I'm aware of the following winter routes on the West Lion, there could be more...

SE Gully - WI4- - 140m

NE Buttress - AI3/M4 - 400m

NE Buttress with East Face Approach - Difficulty Unknown

North Face - Hard (Line below is approx)

North Couloir to West Ridge - AI4- - 400m

North Couloir to West Ridge Direct (no rappel) - M4/M5 addition?

5e98ab6b331c6_01.WestLionNorthFacewithnotes2.thumb.jpg.bf156aa1bc120669b24abb707fe8c4a5.jpg

Photo topo of the North side routes and approach on West Lion

5e98acefca763_SEGully2.thumb.jpg.3df1028ab5fdf8837bd2762dce804cb1.jpg

Photo posted by Don Serl on Westcoastice Facebook group, outlining the East side routes on the West lion including a variation entrance onto the NE buttress in orange. I climbed the SE gully via the Red line, although I notice the original line in yellow goes out left.

 

01a.Attach0.thumb.jpg.bbdf2676e865860b1a2dccb4b4244ac8.jpg

North Couloir to NW Ridge. Upper part of the route as viewed from the approach basin. Descent gully noted on the right.

 

5e98ae016e568_02.20200209_101923a.thumb.jpg.78e554e8910cc544780eaa79b32ac9ce.jpg

Looking up the North side of the West Lion while approach the North Couloir.

 

5e98ae3e7cc81_04.20200209_110136.thumb.jpg.c4723d8fa4d0254db9e2be3d9b7d1b21.jpg

Richard soloing up the lower portion of the North Couloir.

 

5e98aec85523b_05.IMG_4220.thumb.jpg.1bb8fafdea305474cbcd98cdaffb5e6d.jpg

Photo of me leaving the comfortable cave on Pitch 2 in the Couloir

 

5e98af2d399ed_06.20200209_123822.thumb.jpg.f89fc9a6a79ea007d6cc53a77e846ba6.jpg

Dave coming up pitch 2 in the Couloir.

 

5e98af4d2b0c0_07.20200209_124952.thumb.jpg.68cd2fbc2b79d61666dd57745601c1da.jpg

Richard on pitch 3 in the Couloir.

 

5e98afd52a71b_08.IMG_4225.thumb.jpg.5fa6f1d2b54a60f55da3a66166f7c2e7.jpg

Photo of me on the 4rth pitch just after rapping from the notch

 

5e98aff6a7d5f_09.20200209_160717.thumb.jpg.6b8899d86c547ecb3fa968c3f8f04115.jpg

Richard leading the last section of ice on pitch 6.

 

5e98b01ca8839_11.20200209_163750.thumb.jpg.d610e5adedd724fd9cbee3d22145367f.jpg

Dave and Richard walking up the last portion to the summit with epic views that evening toward Howe sound/Strait of Georgia.

 

5e98b0b3a4944_13.IMG_4242.thumb.jpg.1d0db7c8c0b00a7b4a4629fa9ab38207.jpg

Descending the gully back to the approach basin in fading light.

On Feb 9 no flotation was needed on the approach, although the north side had much deeper penetration (crotch deep coming into gully). After being up to the lions area well over a dozen times in the winter I have concluded it is more likely then not, that flotation will be needed/helpful on the approach to the basin.  FYI I have found that the approach trail up is too steep to skin up efficiently, and offers a very short (not worthwhile) ski descent.

Conditions are very fickle for north shore alpine ice. When routes come in shape they seem to last only a couple weeks per season.

I feel this line is similar in overall difficulty/ exertion as the winter NW buttress but this has more full length ice pitches then the NW buttress.

I don't recall reading the route grade for the N Coulior/West Ridge but these are my thoughts on the difficulty (certainly conditions dependent):

Pitch 1 - AI2+ - 70m

P2 - AI3 out of cave - 60m

P3 - AI3 step with vertical snow just below the notch - 30m (40m Rappel from notch on shrub to next continuous ice flow)

P4 - AI4-/3+ - 50m

P5 - Steep snow to base of last ice pitch - 70m

P6 - AI3 - 60m

Walk to summit

14hr car to car

 

Cheers,

Henrik Hinkkala

 

Gear Notes:
x2-60m half ropes, 10 extendable slings/runners (used all), 4 nuts (didn't use), 9 screws most 13-17cm (Used 7, many got rocked), 3 pitons + spectre (used all), 5 cams (blue/ yellow/ orange metolious, red ultralight, red link cam- used all but blue/ yellow), 1 picket (used twice)

Approach Notes:
Follow Lions Trail up to Lions Basin

Edited by HHinkkala
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