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jmace

first ascent [TR] Seton Lake - FA-Piss 'n' Vinegar-450m 4+ 3/13

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Trip: Seton Lake - FA-Piss 'n' Vinegar-450m 4+

 

Date: 3/13/2009

 

Trip Report:

I generally dont write a TR for ice cragging but these routes deserve some traffic!

 

I think everyone who has thumbed through the west coast ice guide has passed the seton lake section and probably thought those are some cool sounding routes. I actually think Don has under estimated the quality of these lines, these are must do routes and every one is 5 stars.

 

I had been trying to get down the lake for the last few weekends but every time we prepared to leave high winds would be forecast causing us to cancel. Our mode of transportation was a canoe, a rather precarious mode of travel when loaded up with tonnes of gear. Therefore we needed a calm lake and we needed it to be calm all day, so not wanting to fully commit we decided to load up bivy gear as well. All for making a low riding canoe. I spent Thursday working and trying to come up with a wind forecast for Seton lake, once I was convinced it was worth a shot I drove up to Whistler picked up Bruce Kay and we headed to Lillooet for the night. Now there just had to be climbable ice.

 

4 Pines tried to charge us 80$ so we wandered over to the Mile-0. The next morning we were at the lake before sun up and paddling towards the first set of climbs. What a surreal and somewhat frightening experience, Bruce joked that the life jackets would just prolong our death in the icy lake and possibly a gun would be a wiser choice if we were to capsize.

 

First set of bluffs, left to right Deliverance far left then the unformed Squeal Like a Pig and Fishin Musician

 

Click photos for larger shot

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Fishin Musician

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Comedy of errors I missed a shot of but it just looks phenomenal as a narrow alpine couloir!!! Bruce and I had our sights on something larger, the 400m+ flow of Winter Water Sports, which lies further down the lake. Looking at the guide this behind Belmore gully may be the biggest line in the guide? A worthy destination so we pressed on.

 

Water Sports from the Canoe, Ice Capades can be seen at the end, its about an hour canoe ride in calm winds

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Winter Water Sports on the left fully in to the water, as opposed to the first ascent where they climbed rock for 80 m to reach the ice. The right hand line is the new route Piss n Vinegar and looks discontinuous. We continued on the right on the upper wall in total about 10 pitches.

 

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Dock your canoe in a little niche at a single bolt then start climbing, make sure to keep the boat out of the line of fire of ice though.

 

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views are unique!!

 

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Looking up halfway

 

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Crux pitch

 

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Lillooet and Seton lake

 

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Almost done the route and the photo overload

 

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We topped out in a strong wind and with white caps on the lake I wondered if we should descend to a barren cold ledge or camp in the forest and make a fire. We decided to head down and see what happens. Besides the sleeping bags were down there.

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We were concerned about falling ice in the warm temps so we rapped the vertical forested face to climbers right, and after 8 raps we hit the canoe. I was pretty tired and the hour long paddle home seemed hard on my shoulders. However once we hit the middle of the lake the wind picked up and started broad siding the canoe with waves, this brought renewed power and we bee lined for shore, not the quickest route but having land within swimming distance seemed comforting. The waves were larger here though and as we neared the car the wind started howling, I could see the mist from crashing waves in the parking lot lights being whipped against the truck. Thankfully we were close just another 100 feet but the waves were getting big finally one swamps the canoe Bruce yells and then we slide up on the beach, safe. Then it was beer and a long drive home..

 

So if your full of Piss n Vinegar there are some great routes available and they come with a most memorable experience just an hours paddle away..

 

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Approach Notes:

Notes

A Row Boat would be better, The wind forecast is for Lytton which is the windiest place in the interior. Either go dead calm or call Environment Canada for a forecast. You can scope Winter Water from just after the bridge going South before Seton lake boat launch. There is a very high possibility that you could walk to Comedy of Errors et al.

 

 

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Sweet! Those are some awesome pictures!

I've been making the drive from Seattle to Lillooet for 15 years now but have never sampled the Seton Lake climbs.

 

I have a ski boat with a Johnson 100 horse outboard. Would I be crazy to tow it up to B.C.'s Little Nugget- or are the climbs that good?

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Paddle in was an hour. Weather was deteriorating ahead of a front which is why I took the day off.

 

Edlinger routes are very worthwhile, not so sure how you would moore a boat on these cliffs? I would be worried about winds pushing the boat into the rocks? We figured an aluminum skiff/car topper with a small engine would be perfect.

 

You could probably spend an hour or so waking down the tracks on the opposite side of the lake and scope the routes. There seemed to be a transport car between Shalalth and Lillooet but I know nothing about it..would be a great way to scope routes. Then again maybe its a private rail car dunno but it made multiple trips.

 

Thanks for all the nice remarks.

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There seemed to be a transport car between Shalalth and Lillooet but I know nothing about it..would be a great way to scope routes. Then again maybe its a private rail car dunno but it made multiple trips.

 

 

When BC Rail was privatised, they sold a small rail car to the local band to use as transport from Shalalth, Seton Portage etc. to Lillooet. It's how the local kids get to school and so on. The train driver is named Percy, we met him in the Reynolds a couple years ago and he was pretty nice guy, offered us a free ride to check out the routes. I think Don or Steve might have his number written down on a business card?

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Damn cool doing the biathalon! Those are some great looking climbs.

 

I went in there with Mark Price on his first attempt at Squeal Like a Pig years ago. After we bailed off the crux free-hanging curtain we too paddled our canoe back in the dark against a wicked breeze. Frickin' scary with steep waves dumping into my lap and then freezing. Yeah, you'd be SOL if you went in; even if you were near shore a lot of that shore is basically a line of cliffs.

 

Sweet! Those are some awesome pictures!

I've been making the drive from Seattle to Lillooet for 15 years now but have never sampled the Seton Lake climbs.

 

I have a ski boat with a Johnson 100 horse outboard. Would I be crazy to tow it up to B.C.'s Little Nugget- or are the climbs that good?

 

The climbs are definitely worth the trip but like jmace says, the shore is pretty damn rocky and would probably bash the shit out of your boat if (when) the wind kicks up. I think something light enough you could pull up onto the rocks is good, or light enough that you could use fenders to keep it off the cliff. Also, if you take a motorized boat be sure to tip up the motor to drain the cooling water so it doesn't freeze and fuck up your escape!

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As my friend and I paddled back after Deliverance we contemplated what we would do if we tipped or got swamped as well (i'm sure everyone does). I concluded I would swim for the west shore with the rail tracks. You might not make the swim but if you do you can warm up running along the tracks back to the cabins. If you go for the east shore you will survive for a short while but there is almost no hope of making it along the shore to a cabin before you freeze!

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Post some pics up of Deliverance if you have them, looked like a very cool route.

 

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