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Hope, British Columbia

Mousetrap, just west of Hope, BC doesn't often form. When Fern told me it was in, I just asked when I should show up.

The climb starts at about 180 feet above sea level. We climbed eight belayed pitches, gaining about 1100 vertical feet. The crux pitch is WI3, with two short steep steps. The rest of what we climbed is 2- to 3-. We turned around not because we ran out of ice, but because we wanted to make the descent in daylight. The route goes on and on and on with steps of climbing separated by very short flat sections, many of which have pools. We opted to descend in the forest and brush climber's left of the route, making two 60 meter raps (we left rap anchors on two trees) and walking or scrumbling the rest.

Fern leads pitch one, which is very wet. I follow and lead through for a 62 meter pitch that ends in an unavoidable small plunge pool. Fortunately the pool is frozen well enough to support my weight. I have a belay epic as the ropes get coated with a thick layer of ice and are very difficult to pull through my Petzl Reversino belay device. I have to setup the Reversino in auto lock mode, pull rope up with my left hand and through the device with my right. I have to put wraps of rope around my right hand to pull the rope through the device. Blech. So much for the Reversino.

On a hip belay, Fern leads a 70 meter pitch to a larger pool. I lead through and up a short WI2 pitch to the base of the crux. We have a snack and then I lead up. The steepest section is at the bottom, but a second steeper section on worse ice gets my attention higher up. The top half is easier: Less steep and good ice. I use up all the rope and end up belaying from screws three meters short of the pool. Fern gets a tool to the lip and the wind knocked out of her by a giant dinner plate while following, but tenaciously stays on and leads a short pitch above me. From Fern's belay it is possible to escape climber's left into the trees, but we continue up.

I lead a 2- pitch to a amphitheater with a dead tree leaning into the wide slab. Fern leads up and calls down that there is more yet. I join her and we agree we've had enough.

We drag the ropes into the trees and stumble down to just above the top of the crux pitch. Here we make a 60 meter rap down a granite slab to where we can walk to the base of the crux and retrieve our follower's pack.

We go back into the trees and descend until we're cliffed again. We traverse to our right until we come to a small ice crag, and then rap from a large cedar. 60 meters just lands us (into a blackberry bramble) and we are able to walk down to the base of the route, making it in daylight.

Under my pack I find the rock gear I was supposed to bring up as the second on the first pitch. We didn't need it and I didn't see any place where it would have been especially useful. Maybe if there was less ice on the route?

We make the short walk back to the car, along a very nice trail that we didn't find on the way in. A beer and some nice wind-down conversation is had at the car. We eat dinner at a great cafe in Chilliwack with one of Fern's friends.

I drop Fern at her car in Abbottsford, make an hassle-free border crossing, and I'm home at 10:07 PM.

I'd call Mousetrap the best moderate ice climb that I've been on. Thanks Fern, for the invite.


This page was last edited on Wednesday, February 23, 2005
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