Bogart-Sparrowhawk Area

wg note: VSOP is one of the best new routes I've seen in years!

The cirque under the huge NE wall of the ridge connecting Mts Bogart and Sparrowhawk provides a spectacular setting for some of the finest ice climbing to be found in Kananaskis. The routes described below lie left of the unformed smears visible from the Nakiska turnoff. Hike up the North Ribbon Creek trail to the 2nd Memorial Lake (3 hrs). The routes are another 30-60 mins from there. They can be done as big day trips, but there is also an excellent campsite at the last stand of trees above the 2nd Lake.

VSOP, 400 m, M4 WI5+ note the climber in picture below...

FA: Jason Thompson and Raphael Slawinski, Oct. 25, 2002

There are two obvious flows above the 2nd Memorial Lake. VSOP is the steeper and narrower right-hand one. It is one of the very best routes around, not to be missed. Take a rack of screws including stubbies, and a few pins. There are a couple of single-bolt anchors on the route, feel free to back them up.

1. 60 m, M4. The ice on the direct start will likely be thin and detached, so turn it on the right via a slabby rock ramp. Some snow buildup is helpful. Belay on scree ledges. (If climbing directly up the ice, there is a bolt on the left side on a small ledge 30 m up.)

2. 60 m. Scramble up, then traverse back left to the ice on a big snow ledge.

3. 60 m, WI4+ R. Climb a short pillar to lower-angled but thin and snowy ice. Either belay on ledges above, or stretch the rope to reach a small alcove right of a steep pillar (bolt).

4. 60 m, WI5. Climb a series of steep pillars. Either belay in one of the caves along the way, or stretch the rope to reach rolling ice above.

5 and 6. 120 m, WI3. Rolling ice and snow lead to the final crux.

7.    40 m, WI5+. "It ain't over, motherfuckers." Climb an overhanging pillar of good ice.

Rappel the route from a mixture of ice pillars, abalakovs and bolts.

Squid/Courvosier (name not final, grin) M5+ R WI 5+ 350M Oct. 31, Blanchard, House, Gadd.

1. First pitch of VSOP. Head up loose ice on rock, step right onto a ramp for a few feet, step back left (fixed angle) across edges and on up to a ledge. 40M M5+ R.  Subtitled, "You get what you need."

2. Short pitch up small ice step to the big ledge. 20M WI 4+.

3. Traverse left for 55M with a short section of difficult crawling.

4. Up one of the small corners and left to the ice, back right, belay on top of a buttress. 60M WI4+.

5. Up thin, difficult to protect ice for 50M. WI 5-.

6. Very nice, steep ice climbing for 60 M. WI5+.

7. 100M of easy ice brings you to the bowl at the top of the routes. There are five good smears out of the bowl, take your pick (we bailed from this point).

Walk right (north) and rap VSOP on a combination of V-threads and a one bolt anchor backed up with Billy Bob. The last rap can be done to the ground with 70M ropes, otherwise handline down for 5M off the fixed pin. Be careful, 60M ropes only barely make it to the ramp/pin.

Chomo, 210 m, WI5+

FA: Peter Smolik and Raphael Slawinski, Oct. 26, 2002

This pretty route may be seen from the valley hiking trail as a series of blue pillars above the 3rd Memorial Lake (often dry). The 3rd Lake can be accessed by scrambling up scree slopes to either side of a rock obelisk known as Bogart Tower. Take a small rack of screws, and maybe a few pins.

1. 50 m, WI5+. Climb a fragile pillar, overhanging at the start, to lower-angled ice and a 2-piton anchor on the left. In leaner times a ramp of thin ice just right of the pillar, with splitter cracks on the right wall, might provide an alternate start.

2. 60 m. Walk up snow to 2 short but stout pillars separated by a shield of lower-angled ice.

3. 40 m, WI5. The pillars can be done as 1 or 2 pitches.

4. 60 m, WI2. Easy ice leads to the top.

Rappel the route from abalakovs and the 2-piton anchor (watch for stuck ropes). It is possible to walk around some of the pitches on scree ledges.