On Dec. 29th I finally managed to get to play a bit again with Raph. We did have a different goal in mind, but due to high avi hazard everywhere we decided to go to Kicking Horse Canyon, close to Golden/BC, to try a route neither of us had done so far. The "Cookoo's nest" is a pretty mixed line through steep cliffs on natural protection. It all sounds good, if it wasn't for the location: a stone throw away from the Trans Canada High- and Railway, in the narrowest part of the Canyon. The warm and moist conditions created a west coast feeling with the smell of wet cedar trees and made us feel a bit out of place with all of our ice gear. After a long drive we were not about to turn around though, and we managed not to drown climbing through the multiple showers. Whoever was the bright and good soul to invent the hoody, a big thanks. And to all of the rest a fun and safe 2012.Above, Raph approaching the route in the 'Schmack' and below, after 100m of unroped, low angled mixed terrain, leading the first pitch through the first shower.
This was probably the crux of the route, a short but steep cave to a detached dagger with ledge fall potential.
Me following the short pitch on less than aestethic ground.
On the next pitch I actually experienced my first lead fall on natural pro wearing ice gear (a few meters after the below picture was taken). After fumbling around way too long with a sling in a natural threat, I finally placed a perfect nut in it. Annoyed at myself that it took so long to figure it out, I tried to make up time with not paying attention to my dry tooling placements. A thin layer of wet ice gave away under my front points, and I was airborne in fairly easy terrain. Although I got away with a bruised shoulder and ego, I was mad at myself for this unnecessary but well deserved fall.
After finishing my lead I had to go out left to make a rock anchor under another shower, since the ice was too soft for great screws. Raph finished of the route on improving ice, actually the most fun part of the day. All in all a great route, not too hard, good pro and interesting climbing. Bring your Ipod to escape the noise and wait for a coolder day.