T3      V, M7, WI5+, 150m

FA by Guy Lacelle and Rob Owens.

Dec. 2003

In the fall of 2003, for the third time since first climbed in 1986 the famous Terminator ice route, high on Mt. Rundle touched down. Despite several inquiries it remained unclimbed due to the unsupported nature of the initial pillar.

     On December 5th, 2003 after the Bow Valley was hit by a couple large up-slope storms Guy Lacelle and Rob Owens made the 5 hour hike through waist deep, wind effected snow to the base of the Terminator Wall. Although the Terminator was touching down it was not the goal. The goal was to do the first free ascent of what was labeled T2, back in 1996.

T2 was a partially aided, unformed, mixed start to the Terminator. When T2 was climbed (probably the only ascent) there was a large dagger hanging from the roof where the pillar would normally form. The first ascentionists left a couple pins and a self drive bolt that allowed them to do some very hard ice climbing up into a cave on the right.

As Guy and Rob approached, actually only 50m right and 50m below the route the whole pillar colapsed leaving 30m of thin ice and rock exposed to a horizontal ice roof. Can you say close one! The pillar had been there for atleast a month prior. The recipe for this occurance was a cold night at approx. -20c degrees followed by a warming trend throughout the day culminating at       -7c.

With minimal beta and unable to see the fixed gear Rob took off in what ended up being a 2.5 hour lead and twarted by route finding didn't even finish. He was then lowered, pulled the rope and re-climbed the pitch, much faster this time, resulting in a 40m variant to the first pitch of the Terminator.

T3 ascends as follows:

Climb 10 meters of runout ice splatterings beind where the pillar would have initially been. Slopey drytooling holds above very marginal gear (knifeblades, rp) lead a few meters left to gain a slighty overhanging, 2 cm wide crack in a right facing corner. Good cams from Blue TCU to #1 Camalot protect this crack for about 8 meters. From the top of this crack the pins and bolt left from T2   were visible about 3 meters to the right on a blank looking wall. Apparantly the ice was in a different place when T2 was done.

A small overhanging ice blob up (left over from the fallen pillar) and left was gained and required a strenuous mantle but took a 13cm ice screw. Above this, smooth rock with some ice splatterings for feet, was climbed for 5 meters until a roof crack allowed for protection (small cams) and access to the left side of the ice roof. Difficult overhanging ice moves lead to 10 meters of WI5 ice climbing up and right to the cave.

     The ascentionists feel that perhaps the middle ice blob is needed for a repeat ascent. Without this blob there would most likely be a very smooth section of unprotectable rock to gain the ice roof.

Our feelings are that every year another version would most likely be available. It is probably best to stay away from adding bolts in even leaner years as, depending on where the ice forms, several traditional variations are still climbable.

     Will there be a T4?

Rob Owens