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Banff Ice Conditions


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back from a long weekend in Banff.


Synopsis: a huge dump (50cm in Lake Louise and at Bow Summit) of snow on top of an already large snowpack for the month followed by unseasonably warm temps on Friday have left the entire range in typical Christmastime Chinook conditions: avoid anything at all threatened, avoid anything low angle. As a result, your options for the next bit are limited. The Bow and Columbia Valleys got significantly less snow. Temps were normal Sunday, -10 or so at night and -3 or so during the daytime.



Lots of familiar faces up there this time of year, including Layton, Ade, Colin, Wayne, Don Serl and co., Paco, others


SouthGibraltar Wall in and nice. Stanely Headwall shaping up nice.

Field I heard Mt Dennis and especially Carlsberg is as fat as it ever was. With the new snow Carlsberg is one of the safer places you can still go.

Louise Louise Falls only left hand pillar is in, right hand pillar collapsed this past week. Johnston Cy is sort of in, with Prism and the far right in fat but none of the other inbetween pillars down.

Bow Valley You now have to park about 10 min down the road to climb at the Junkyards. Junkyards have typical amount of ice.

Banff Nothing on the Trophy Wall is down. Cascade is in but only a loon would climb it now.

Parkway Snivelling very thin, Weeping Wall is in, but Left is buried in snow and/or very thin, Center in 5+/6 shape, Right in 4+ shape (styled by your boys Colin and Wayne on Friday, right before they shut down the highway for two days due to snow accumulation!).

David Thompson Michael Layton had a look at Nothing but the Breast and said the bottom pitches were now gone, and that Two Oclock was a snow climb.



Gib Wall, nice climb but flat tire.



Weeping Wall, what it really looked like the day we climbed.



Junkyards (the day I went to fix the flat)

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Dale, I dont know. Canmore got some, but it was so warm Sat alot of it melted. It fealt like Louise and points N got raged on, and Canmore and points E got much less. Still, the winds were very high Sat (typical Chinooking) and I bet some drifts are forming with whatever snow made it that far East

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To add to the beta from T-day weekend:


Professor falls is in (not wet at all), we skipped the top pitch since it was dumping and there is a bowl above that pitch, but that looked in too.


Johnson Canyon main upper falls is in if you don't mind either rapping to the base of the climb or tempting fate (and a cold swim) trying to get to the base. The ice that comes over the rock to the right of the falls is just daggers, not even close to touching down.


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the 1st pitch of nothing but the breast will probably be back in really soon with the new snow. it's normally super thin anyway. then it'll go out. then back in.

pilsner is in, i barely saw it through the snow.

I have to respectfully disagree about the safety of Carlsberg. It may be the safest of those climbs, but during any significant snowfall, I wouldn't concider anyclimb on the side of a MASSIVE mountain safe. The trees weren't even safe to be under (or the roads to be on).

Good new is that snow turns to ice and makes shit fatter. Wouldn't be doing slipstream or cascade any time soon.

Anyone see if WELCOME TO CANADA was in? I want that one.

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michael_layton said:

I have to respectfully disagree about the safety of Carlsberg. It may be the safest of those climbs, but during any significant snowfall, I wouldn't concider anyclimb on the side of a MASSIVE mountain safe. The trees weren't even safe to be under (or the roads to be on).


There are only like eight thousand feet of avi terrain above the climbs in Field. If I lived in Field, I would have moved to Lake Louise for the weekend, for fear of having my whole community swept away by the White Death.



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Marko said:



Pilsner is defintely in and it's fat. They way it was formed up a week ago looks more like it does in the photo of Twight climbing it in the front of JoJo's book instead of the classic piller picture in the middle of JoJo's book.


I actually hiked up to the base, strapped on all my stuff, and then climbed up to the base of the piller. F'ing intimidating and I decided that I had no business trying to climb this one yet.


The climb as of last week would involve about 10m of WI3 to the base of the pillar, 25m of scary steep climbing at WI6 and then a rest on the left with another 5m of WI5 to finish. The crux 25m was slightly overhanging and pretty featured, but not the type of features that would make things easier. I wish I had taken a picture. The column was about 6ft in dimeter, maybe a little more.


Anyone wanna gun me up it? evils3d.gif It's only one 40m pitch. confused.gifcantfocus.gif

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terminator (after winter 85/86) was down only in the winter of 96/97. it was down earlier this winter- someone climbed earlier in nov. 10 years after was in and thick earlier- received nomerous ascents this season. la goute was in too. that is a very stout and nice line, too bad it has big avi slope above.

earlier in nov (saw it on 17th) pilsner had to pillars touching down. there is huge slope above!!!!

agree with someone- carlberg is not safe. talked to someone who was avalanched of it last winter. the leader was knoced down by the slide from the very top and took 12m ride. there are no trees for a reason! also on the approach this little slope produced a slide (i saw it in 96), wich broke trees about 10" in diamiter.

as far as other "myth" safe climbs is whiteman. sure the climb is safe, but the approach canyon gets burried in the snow fall.

and this is the precise reasons i do go there in early november. there is more ice and no snow.

the picture of trophy wall shows sea of vapors is in and vapor trail too. looks like stuck in the middle is in the typical M7+ condition.

there is also twisted and some mixed lines formed on mt stephen, so go and check it out before it melts out!

Edited by glassgowkiss
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Here's a picture of the entire Beer Climb area taken on November 23. Pilsner (left) was in climbable shape but looked hard. We did Carslberg, which was nice and fat. The pillar on Kronenbourg looked too thin to be reasonable at the time (assuming it is ever reasonable...)

Eric and Lucie


Go check our site here



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Right on Eric, hey was that "Websters Smear" route at Lake Louise just left of Louise Falls. Fun route, felt like a three to me, very picked out....must have been getting tons of traffic. Need to sharpen my pics after that one!


Hope your ladyfriends knee feels better! bigdrink.gif

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