Rivers of Babylon - A new Route on Mt Wilson

Rivers of Babylon VI M6+ WI5+R 500 m

On Nov. 26 and 27, Paul McSorley and I climbed a new 9 pitch route on Mt. Wilson in the bowl between Mixed Monster and Ice Nine. "Rivers of Babylon" is the central line of three ice flows. The climbing is sustained, technical and fun the entire way. It was also quite delicate and often run-out. We climbed mostly rock that traversed left and right on natural weaknesses through the overhanging buttress, for four pitches to gain the thin flow, which provided excellent thin ice and mixed climbing for another five pitches. Good screws were rare to non existent, however tool placements came easily. No bolts were placed and the rock is generally excellent by rockies standards. We fixed three ropes on the first four pitches on day one, descended to Rampart Creek hostel for the night, and the next day ascended our ropes and climbed the rest of the route. A one day ascent would be impressive, but doable by a very strong party. This route is probably best earlier in the season and will be extremely dangerous when the avalanche hazard increases.

Drama Queen

Drama Queen 170m M7 WI6
FA: Chris Brazeau, Jon Simms, Jon Walsh Jan 5, 2006

Late in March 2004, Jon Simms and I went "freestyling" up this part of the headwall after failing on another route. We had soon climbed to bellow the upper daggers in four pitches of entertaining climbing. We decided to go back the following season with the drill and push the route to the top of the wall. After a day of equipping in early december, we invited Chris Brazeau to join us for the final send. The name of the route comes from the conversations and jokes that were making us laugh one day working on the route. Everybody has a drama queen in their life...

Drama Queen is located on the Stanley Headwall about halfway between French Toast and Extreme Comfort. There is a traverse bolt marking the start and the first belay. The climbing follows thinly iced ramps and corner systems to wild mushroom formations that grow below the twin daggers that the route finishes upon. The climbing itself has a bit of an "alpine" feel and is a bit scrappy at times (wide cracks, squeeze chimneys, etc.). Each pitch gets progressively harder until the final ice crux at the very top! A rack consisting of Camelots - one each from .3 to #3, a few stoppers, and 6 or 7 screws including stubbies does the trick. The cruxes are generally well protected but there are some run-out sections in between. The route finding is very straight forward and the first three belays are fixed. The top belay is in ice.

The Shadow

The Shadow - WI6+R, M6, 220 meters, Mt. Patterson, Canadian Rockies