Chantilly FallsFebruary 11, 2007     

Icefall height:     100 m
Roundtrip time:   6:05

Ice climbing with Mark.

The primary attraction for picking Chantilly Falls as an objective was the number “2” after the letters “WI” in Joe Josephson’s description for the climb. We got the idea from Raff, who had completed the ascent a week earlier. The terrible weather forecast and a short approach were also factors in choosing this for our second ice climb.

About 40 minutes into the trip we saw a pretty significant icefall, but thought it looked too steep at the top to be a WI2 and so we walked right by it. 15 minutes later we arrived at a group of climbs that were certainly not grade 2 and a climber already there informed us we had walked right by Chantilly Falls. We returned to the correct fall and Mark started up, taking the lead.

The lower portion of the climb was perfect for us – not too steep, with ample opportunity to place protection. It was also scenic and interesting with short steeper sections interspersed with longer sections you could walk up. We made pretty good progress, again with Mark leading all the pitches. Almost at the top we arrived at the near vertical section that had caused concern when we first saw it from below. Mark attempted to climb the right side of the step, but the ice was brittle and he was beginning to tire, having led the entire ascent to that point. I had already decided that I wasn’t going to lead anything because I didn’t feel confident. We were just about to back down when Mark suggested I attempt the steeper route on the left side. Great choice – the ice here was solid and the axe placements felt very secure. Nevertheless, I still found the short step to be unnerving and I ascended it quickly so as not to lose my nerve.

After a brief stay at the top, we started the rappel down. We had only a single 60 m rope, so it took us three raps to get down. A good day out and a great way to enjoy the mountains even in miserable weather conditions. Like ski mountaineering, I don’t foresee us becoming particularly proficient at ice climbing but it sure is fun trying!


At the wrong ice climb  



At the right climb



Mark starts up the fall



Mark places an ice screw on the first pitch



The walkable second pitch 


Looking down the second pitch


Mark belays me up 


The upper section of the icefall; the crux is the near vertical section at the upper left


Climbing the lower part of the upper section


Mark prepares to ascend the crux


My turn at the crux step


Almost there


At the top


At the third and final rap station with a couple of other climbers ascending the crux high above


A nice, easy rap to end the day