Sunday, February 24, 2013


9:45 - We're driving on our way to Parlee brook (plan A). It becomes pretty evident that I'm not super psyched about this plan. With 8 screws and a 70m rope I figure it will be a petty taxing day mentally if I'm leading most of the pitches. Everything in Parlee that I want to do is pretty long. I'd like to get on 3 Amigoes but I'd rather have double ropes at at least 4-5 more screws. We talk about slogging around to find Alpine Squeeze but none of us have ever seen it before and don't know how to find the start. Aside from that both Magda and me don't have any snowshoes. Screw this.

10:30 - Now we're headed for St. Martins with the objective of sending the Fundy Gully (plan B). The photo in Joe's ice guide looks rad. A 100m multi-pitch grade III ice line climbing strait out of the beach. Problem is that the tide peaks right now and the beach isn't accessible for another 3 hours. We'll have to wait it out. We head towards Quaco Head, where Dom knows of a few accessible routes to kill time on. 

11:15 - Quaco (plan C) is actually pretty stellar. Almost directly north-facing means little daytime sun and everything is in. I lead an easy grade III called Bouffe. Bulletproof ice but fun. Overall Quaco seems full of really cool lines. Dom led a line left of Bouffe and I went looking around. Aerial looked way cool but the top of the line was decorated with a car sized chandelier of overhanging ice daggers. Dubiously attached, it was later decided to better leave it alone. The gem of the area seemed to be White Cottage, a steep and stout completely free-hanging dagger. It had touched down on the beach but was perhaps only 3 feet in diameter and transparent. It was the kind of climb that makes me want to get lighter and stronger. Beyond my ability, I decided to come back someday when it was thicker and when I'm thinner. 

Dr. Magma on Bouffe
Dom on a nice seaside pitch
"I've got the screaming barfies!"

... the tide is now well on it's way out. 

3:00 - We're now across to the far side of town walking down towards Berry beach. The sun is blasting and the cliffs impressive. Honeycombs and heucos are eroded into the overhanging sandstone. If the rock were more consolidated, this would support world class sport-climbing. Too bad it's choss. The three of us walking down the beach with fingers crossed. Indications are good. We see huge well-formed daggers on the way in at the St. Martins caves restaurant and Dom suggests that at Quaco he'd never seen it so fat.  Passing Superbowl area however it doesn't look good. This line (a multi-pitch grade II) is badly sunbaked and more snowy sand than ice. We finally get to Fundy Gully, what would have been the prize of my season, and find this: 
4:00 - Now back at the car, and a bit deflated, we decide to make it a true Tour-de-Glace, and head for roadside ice at Hampton Marsh... which is on the way home... sort of. We arrive an hour later with just enough evening daylight to lead a pitch. I choose the right-most vertical line. Turns out to be soft ice and good climbing... but the screws are a bit hollow... which leaves me pretty gassed just before topping out the climb. I rest on a screw, but eventually scramble up. Nice spot... we play around there until it's thoroughly dark. 

Go in faster gawddammitt!
Three ice destinations in a day... and we didn't even get an early start. Will have to try for Fundy Gully next year. Unfortunately.... I seem to have lost a nice 13cm BD Screw somewhere in St. Martins. I think it probably belongs to the sea now. 

So what's the nicest ice route you've climbed within 3 hours of Fredericton?


  1. "it thicker and when I'm thinner" That's a great line!

    You probably could have still done Fundy Gully; the rock is so soft it'll take screws.

  2. Sounds like a pretty fun day!