Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Kerkeslin Falls 2013

Sat Dec 14th - Kerkeslin Falls

Synopsis: 4 out of 5 stars. A great day out with a reasonable approach, several pitches of 3 to 3+ ice with the last long pitch being the best.

We were in Jasper, scouting around for a birthday climb for Kim. I was concerned about avy hazard however the wardens felt the strong winds of late blew most of the snow elsewhere (likely Saskatchewan) and what was left would be smaller pockets of wind slab. To be respected, so our plan was to rope up and place some gear.

After a full night, we didn't really get an early start. To add to it, I didn't really know where the parking lot was and had to pull into the Athabasca Falls Youth Hostel for directions (a great place to stay for ice climbing in the area). The correct parking lot is actually a few km's further south on the west side of the highway. A fairly well trodden path across the highway to the south made the way pretty obvious.

Given all of this we didn't actually leave the car until 11:30. Fortunately the approach was less than an hour, involving 200m of elevation gain.

At this point the canyon started to narrow and there was ice showing so we suited up.

There was a small step to warm up on, before further meandering up the valley.

Which lead to the first two pitches of pretty easy grade 3 ice. Bolted anchors were on the climber right.

For us the highlight was the 3rd roped pitch and the longest of the bunch. About then, we were enjoying the 0 degree temperatures and the plastic ice (okay, it wasn't completely plastic in fact a little dinner platey in spots). Still just a blast of a pitch.

My understanding is this was the end of he longer pitches although there was some more ice above that would be interesting to explore.

Unfortunately, it was also 3:30 pm on very close to the shortest day of the year so we turned around.

As per plan we made it back to the gear up spot just as it was getting dark and to the car at 5 pm without headlamps.

Great day, great objective - might get up earlier next time! We followed it up with a day at Maligne Canyon for giggles.