Neil Gresham
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Ice World Tour
The Asylum, M7+, Jasper region
Sometimes the best plans are made on the spur of the moment. After making the early start and long drive to climb an ice pillar called the French Maid in the Jasper region of the Canadian Rockies, Mark Garthwaite and I were slightly disgruntled to see that it had fallen down in the night. The only other challenge in condition nearby was Sean Isaac's 5-pitch mixed test piece, the Asylum; so we made a break for it. Three pitches of easy ice led to a cave with a ludicrously inaccessible looking icicle dangling from the lip. This proved to be one of the wildest and most out-there pitches I've led in winter.
The Asylum, M7+
The Asylum, M7+, Jasper region
Photo: Gresham Col.
The Sorceror, WI 5+, Ghost region
After getting stuck in a creek for a day, when our 4x4 broke through the ice, we seriously considered never going back to the Ghost region again. The stories of people freezing to death in their vehicles after getting stuck in snow drifts made us realize that we'd been quite lucky. But Garth and I were so determined to tick this classic four pitch ice pillar that we braved the drive again and slogged up through waist-deep powder in the forest to be rewarded with a truly amazing day's ice climbing.
The Sorceror, WI 5+
The Sorceror, WI 5+, Ghost region
Photo: Gresham Col.