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LYleK

Willow River Canyon

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If you find yourself in Prince George during the winter it's worth checking out the Willow Canyon for ice. It's about 30km east of Prince George on Highway #16 and you can pretty much drive to the top of the climbs (if the logging road is not plowed then it is a 1.5km flat hike). While there is a serious lack of snow in the area this winter (they had to truck snow in for a Provincial x/c comp last weekend) it is still at least -10C every night so there is a good supply of ice.

 

There are four routes in the picture, from top left: Farmed 1: A thin mixed line that may not be in. Farmed 2: The next one down was a thin pillar a few years ago but now looks mixed and likely unprotected by bolts (but I think it has a chain belay). Farmed 3: The main pillar is formed fatter this year than I've seen in the past. Chain belay, WI5/ WI5+. Natural 1: There is a fourth climb that is just visible lower right, and moreso through the trees on the second pic from the viewpoint. It is a braided WI2/ WI2+ and has bolt anchors scattered around, lots of options.

 

If the river is not frozen then you've got to rap in and climb out of the farmed routes so check conditions from the Viewpoint before rapping down (and either TR it first or fix a line for getting back out). If the river is frozen you can walk down left of the Viewpoint on a trail and to the base of the routes. The natural route can be rapped or walked into, there is a wide spot at the base to set up. You can also traverse in to a tree near the base of Farmed 3 (main pillar) from Natural 1, but would likely want to be roped up.

 

The terrain above is flat and swampy, the farmers have set a cut barrel into the ground which draws in water, and then is piped off to the top of the canyon. Kudos to the farmers (Cox/ Lacelle?), we had an excellent day out on Saturday (Feb 19) enjoying your efforts. PM me if you want directions.

439438-IMG_0261a.thumb.jpg.c80251ffd6d5dc20e73e29b650fcce29.jpg

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