Artem, Colin, Knut and I left Vancouver at 11am last Saturday to go climb some ice. Those familiar with the location of the few popular ice cragging spots in western British Columbia might imagine leaving at such an hour for some ice climbing on Sunday. But we were only going to Mt. Seymour.
We started walking before noon and made quick progress. Artem and Colin were on skis, but the 20cm of fresh snow was so light that Knut and I were able to keep up in just boots, walking comfortably on a buried crust. We inspected Suicide Bluff from a vantage point below Mystery Peak. Suicide Bluff looked impressively gnarly, but more mixed than ice. We carried on across Brocton Point toward De Pencier Bluff, which we had admired during the VOC’s Winter Longhike, the week before.
Our stoke levels red-lined as we arrived at the bluff to several attractive ice lines including a vertical, detached column. After a bit of deep-snow soloing – snoloing – Knut put in a top-rope above the column and then sat in his harness while I showered myself in icicles and flailed up the techy column. When I fell and my tools didn’t, Knut lowered me and took his turn. Fortunately for my ego, Knut also flailed foolishly up the column though, perhaps thanks to my extremely active belay, he was able to make it to the top of the column.
Meanwhile, Colin and Artem top-roped a much more reasonable route. We swapped ropes, and discovered that a beautiful WI3 route lay just around the corner from their rope. We climbed up their rope onto the bluff to views of a spectacular sunset. Knut and I stood, gaping, speechless out across a quietly cooling cityscape. Warm sunset colours reflected in the snow where confused winds had uncovered a buried mirror beneath the powder.
We all danced up that deep WI3 in the dying light, then wandered down to the car, barely able to keep our hearts in our chests as our euphoria expanded into the clear night sky.