Sunday, January 5, 2014

Beach walking in Winter!! Way more fun then in Summer.... for me anyway!

Cory Hall climbing over Shepody Bay in Dorchester Cape NB.

As a lot of you know I have ventured to Chilean Patagonia to work for NOLS the past few years.... this years is no different except that I would be leaving Patagonia in early December to come home to New Brunswick for my little sisters wedding and to also enjoy the holidays with family and friends.
Getting ready for snow school! One of the funnest classes in the mountains! Photo Steve Robitshek
Teaching Glaciology. Photo Steve Robitshek
So when my NOLS course finished in early December I was quick to check and see what the weather was doing, to see if there would be some early season ice. Fortunately ice season in NB had started, especially in Parlee Brook. And even more exciting there was a cold spell basically 3 days before I arrived home with no sign of letting up! So that means the infamous coastal ice climbing on the Bay of Fundy would be forming too!

On December 8th I arrived in Halifax and made it to Sackville later that evening. On the 9th I was out checking ice conditions in the greater Sackville area (Pecks Point, Cape Maringouin and Dorchester Cape). That day I climbed 15 pitches of ice and got to all these locations. A great welcome home!
Cory Hall climbing a WI4+ 35m route in Dorchester Cape NB.
Luc Gallant walking into Dorchester Cape
As my time progressed I would venture over to Parlee Brook NB, St. Martins NB, Joggins NS, Cape Chignecto NS and Cape D'Or NS. Each area provided amazing climbing and even better exploring! I got to be a part of 18 first ascents all on the Fundy Coast, in NB and NS.

Parlee Brook is the ice climbing destination in NB. It is in early and late regardless of weather.... minus a huge rain event. Climbing in here ranges from WI2- the infamous Truancy Falls WI5+. It is well worth the visit.
Parlee Brook early December. Blue Pillar on right. 
I spent most of my time focusing on coastal ice. Especially on the Chignecto Penninsula of NS. There is so much ice in this area both coastal and inland. Cape D'Or, Cape Chignecto, Apple River and Joggins host routes from 20m to 200m of all difficulties. And Moose River NS has some amazing inland ice up to 50m in length.
Luc Gallant on NB Pillar Moose River NS, March 2013.
Moose River!
I teamed up with Luc Gallant and Greg Hughes for most of my ice climbing adventures this last month.

Greg and I got out to Cape Chignecto and estabished 2 WI4 175m routes (Maritime Alpinism and High and Wild) with Mike Delaney and had a little adventure getting out.... all in all a great day of climbing and walking that lasted 16hrs or so.

High and Wild follows a line on the left and Maritime Alpinism follows a line hidden in the center and tops out on an upper ice curtain, the right most ice line is unclimbed.
Unclimbed route in Cape Chignecto..... Get after it!!!!!!! Greg is on the beach on the left.
Luc and I were the first to get a glimpse of the SW aspect of Cape D'Or which hosts some of the Maritimes hardest and longest unclimbed lines ranging from 100m to 150m with difficulties reaching WI6. Luc and I climbed 2 60m WI3 lines just north of the lighthouse.
Unclimbed goodness in Cape D'Or. Psyched to hear when this gets climbed!
More unclimbed goodness in Cape D'Or.... this was from the first trip out there... it has fattened up since!

Just before New Years Luc, Greg, Cory Hall and I headed to St Martins, NB to check out an area called the Controls. It is known for hard thin climbing with the bottoms washed away by the tides. And that is what we found. We ended up looking around and finding a new gem that NB ice hardman Joe Kennedy hadn't seem before. It is 300m west of the Controls. 4 routes were established... Side Doggy WI5 70m Cory Hall & Greg Hughes, Hot, Sweet V WI4+ 70m Luc Gallant & Max Fisher, WI4 70m Max Fisher & Luc Gallant and WI4+ 80m Greg Hughes & Cory Hall.
The Controls, St Martins NB

Greg and Luc looking at the WI4 and WI4+... they had fun mixed starts!!
Side Doggy WI5 and Hot Sweet V WI4+

Cory and Luc on a classic coastal top-out in St. Martins.

My next visit to Cape D'Or was with Greg Hughes. We rented a little trailer for a night and spent 2 days climbing.... the tides weren't ideal but we established 2 really fun, high quality routes!
Enter the Dragon WI5 130m with Matt Peck and The Sweet Chimney of Love WI3+ M5 R 110m.
Enter the Dragon WI5 130m
Greg on the top of pitch 2 (WI4+) of Enter the Dragon. What a unique place to climb! 
Greg on the first pitch, WI3, of The Sweet Chimney of Love
Enjoying the cold below the Sweet Chimney pitch.

The Sweet Chimney of Love pitch 2 WI3+ M5 R 50m

I also had the privilege of climbing with Lucas Toron in Parlee Brook and Dorchester Cape. And I also took my friend Mike Mandele out ice climbing for the first time.

All in all an amazing 28 days in NB visiting family and friends, drinking beer, a great wedding, sharing stories and climbing. I got to climb 17 days, 18 new routes and 56 pitches of ice. Thanks to winter for coming earlier then it has in the past few years and for my motivated ice climbing friends to drag me out and up some pretty awesome ice climbs!

Well it is time for my winter to end, I'm off to Chilean Patagonia tonight at 7pm. Take care all and see ya when I return. I love the Maritimes!

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