Last Call

Me leading Pitch 2

As Climbed: [WI4, M5, A1]

I had a great weekend out in the Duffy on Feb 3-4, 2018 with Artem and Nic. Although temps were uncomfortably warm, we managed to climb Shreddie (WI5+) and Closet Secrets (WI4) on saturday, which are both awesome lines. We got absolutely drenched with water running down through the cave on Shreddie — felt like true West Coast style. Late saturday afternoon we drove around to find some inspiration for Sunday and WHAM! there is Last Call, staring you down from the road just above the Cinnamon Campground. It had never been on our radar, but looked too good to pass up with a mysterious mixed first pitch followed by a couple pitches of great ice.

Creek for Breakfast

Temps dropped overnight, and it was below-freezing in the morning. We crossed Cayoosh Creek from Cinnamon campground (water knee deep) and found an easy way up to the base of the climb. It is easy to spot the first mixed pitch, as it follows a large gash in the rock band. Although running water, there was some ice to be had and looked like a fun lead. Since I got to lead the money pitches the day before, I gave Artem the choice, and he opted to take it.

Start of Pitch 1

He climbed fun and moderate mixed terrain for about 30 meters before reaching a chimney/chasm that was guarded by moss covered slabs and minimal protection. He decided to bring Nic and I up to take a look, to see if we could find a way through to the ice above. Upon reaching the belay, I noticed a small opening in the ceiling of the cave, behind a few chockstones. It was full of old branches, but worth giving it a go, and I quickly pieced together a line up to it.

Artem following in the chimney. You can see the light coming through the squeeze above. (Photo Nic Gobin)

Taking the sharp end, I slung a chockstone, pulled up into the chimney, and hung on a few cams to clear out the branches. At first they wouldn’t budge, but being dead, I was able to just break them with my first, and carry on through the squeeze! It was tight, and I ended up breaking an ice clipper, dropping a few screws, and almost losing an ice tool. Finally through the tiny opening, I hammered in a pin (which I ended up pulling on) and made a couple moves up to the snow basin above. Adventure climbing at its finest! Artem and Nic joined me at the tree belay above, having both freed the squeeze, and commenting on how I had made it much harder than it needed to be (which seems reasonable for a muddy lead through a branch filled squeeze chimney).

Me leading Pitch 2 (Photo Nic Gobin)

I still got to lead the second pitch, which was a beautiful, sustained, WI4 curtain which I ran for a full 60 m before finding a nice belay ledge below rambling ice (WI2-3). Artem led the final pitch, which we simuled to the top (it could have been pitched out in 2 pitches). We rapped off two trees, a thread below the curtain, and another set of trees to the base of the route.

Simul-climbing the last pitch

An incredible route sporting adventurous mixed and great ice climbing above. Should definitely get more attention than it does — which I’m learning seems to be the case with a bunch of West Coast lines. Looking forward to exploring more along the Duffy corridor, especially the routes a bit further from the road…

The most exciting ascents are always the ones that begin with unknowns. We had never heard of this route, and upon spotting it, had to give it a go. In the FB and beta-intensive era, it’s important to remember the value in trying new things and not just sticking to what you know will go. (Photo Nic Gobin)

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