Andromeda Strain + DTCB: Canadian Rockies

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Avery

climber
New Zealand
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 11, 2019 - 04:29am PT
The North-East Face of Mt Andromeda.The Andromeda Strain takes the cen...
The North-East Face of Mt Andromeda.The Andromeda Strain takes the centre line with DTCB on the left.
Credit: Raphael Slawinski (American Alpine Journal)
Avery

climber
New Zealand
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 11, 2019 - 08:35pm PT
1st Ascent-Andromeda Strain: Barry Blanchard, Dave Cheesmond and Tim Friesen (April 1983)


The Canadian Alpine Journal 1984
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Mar 12, 2019 - 12:09am PT
hey there, say, avery... nice to see this ... nice to see a post from you, too...

thank you so very much!
Avery

climber
New Zealand
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 12, 2019 - 07:13am PT
The Andromeda Strain: Alik Berg, Juan Henriquez and Raphael Slawinski (May 2016)

The northeast face of Mt. Andromeda on a crisp May morning, with the o...
The northeast face of Mt. Andromeda on a crisp May morning, with the obvious shadowed gash of the Andromeda Strain.
Credit: Raphael Slawinski
Juan Henriquez kicks steps up neve blasted hard by spindrift in the lo...
Juan Henriquez kicks steps up neve blasted hard by spindrift in the lower couloir of the route.
Credit: Raphael Slawinski
Alik Berg shuffles across a steep ledge of snow-covered choss halfway ...
Alik Berg shuffles across a steep ledge of snow-covered choss halfway up the route.
Credit: Raphael Slawinski
The oldest member of the party (RS) starts up the rock pitch a...
The oldest member of the party (RS) starts up the rock pitch above the ledge.
Credit: Juan Henriquez
Alik Berg makes the last few moves up the rock before it backs off int...
Alik Berg makes the last few moves up the rock before it backs off into the upper couloir.
Credit: Raphael Slawinski

Thanks to Raphael Slawinski (more to come)
Avery

climber
New Zealand
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 12, 2019 - 06:22pm PT
The Andromeda Strain: Alik Berg, Juan Henriquez and Raphael Slawinski (May 2016)

Unfortunately these days you need to tiptoe up another half a rope-len...
Unfortunately these days you need to tiptoe up another half a rope-length of low-angled mixed ground before you reach thick ice.

Credit: Raphael Slawinski
The upper couloir resembles nothing so much as a giant luge run.
The upper couloir resembles nothing so much as a giant luge run.
Credit: Juan Henriquez
Alik Berg strikes a classic pose on the traverse to the exit ice pitch...
Alik Berg strikes a classic pose on the traverse to the exit ice pitch.

Credit: Raphael Slawinski
Leaving an ankle-wrenching belay on sixty-degree ice, Juan Henriquez s...
Leaving an ankle-wrenching belay on sixty-degree ice, Juan Henriquez steps onto the legendary traverse.

Credit: Raphael Slawinski
Alik Berg contemplates where the cornice guarding the summit might be ...
Alik Berg contemplates where the cornice guarding the summit might be the smallest.

Credit: Raphael Slawinski

Thanks to Raphael Slawinski
Avery

climber
New Zealand
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 14, 2019 - 12:57am PT
(DTCB) The Doctor, The Tourist, His Crampon, and Their Banana (700m, V M7.)
Scott Semple and Raphael Slawinski (2006)

Mt. Andromeda graces countless postcards and coffee-table books, and, more to the point, is the climbing centerpiece of the Columbia Ice-fields. Andromeda is a university of alpine climbing. Over the years, as I worked my way through its routes, starting with the sweeping Skyladder through the “hard” classic Andromeda Strain, the mountain has taught me well, though at times (such when I whipped off of slush that passed for ice on Shooting Gallery) it could be a stern professor.

Having climbed most of the established routes more than once, I began looking beyond the red lines in the guidebook. If you squint at the photo in Selected Alpine Climbs, a possibility, the faint crease of a corner system, can be imagined left of the A- Strain. In spring, with the mountain well iced up, this unlikely line seemed ripe for an attempt.

Scott Semple and I got an inauspicious start, having overslept the alarm and woken with dawn illuminating the sky. But we had nothing better to do, so we wolfed down bananas and Danishes, piled into the car, and drove the remaining half-hour to the trailhead. The morning was disconcertingly warm, the snow on the moraines barely frozen. As the sun rose Andromeda’s northeast face came alive with noisy wet sloughs, fortunately well right of our intended line. We simul-climbed the lower portion, past the avalanche cone, up brittle ice and to the base of the rock.

At first a chossy crack had me looking for a way to traverse around the difficulty, but straight up was the way to go. Stuffing in cams, hooking loose chockstones, and grunting to make sure I had Scott’s attention at the belay— it was steep, dammit!—I was pleased to find a hidden runnel of thick ice lurking above. The first pitch set the pattern for the rest of the route: the stream of more (or less) thick ice down the corner system would be interrupted once or twice every pitch by steep dry-tooling. Our magic line kept going, twisting and turning and blocked by overhangs, so we could never see farther than half a pitch ahead.

As afternoon wore on, we secretly hoped for moderate ground. Instead, we found ourselves below yet another corner, with a dripping, slabby rock wall. But a delicate front-point shuffle, made more interesting for Scott by a broken crampon, opened the door, and soon we stood lashed to a small rock outcrop, looking up in dismay at a massively overhanging cornice. It seemed to grow the closer we got to it, assuming monstrous proportions. It took us over a ropelength of crawling beneath the cresting wave of snow before we were able to escape from the face. The gentle south slopes were already in shadow, though Bryce, Forbes, the Lyells, and a hundred other white peaks still glowed in the setting sun. We snapped a few photos, took a deep breath, and headed down. The Doctor, The Tourist, His Crampon, and Their Banana .

– Raphael Slawinski, Alberta, AAC (American Alpine Journal 2007)
fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Mar 14, 2019 - 05:41am PT
Man that traverse looks freakin' gnarly! Nice shot....
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Mar 14, 2019 - 08:32am PT
This is a completely awesome TR! Thanks to everyone who posted photos and prose of climbs on this amazing mountain. I have always had the greatest respect for Canadian mountaineers and see why they got so burly good. University indeed!

Thanks guys, you humble me.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Mar 14, 2019 - 01:18pm PT
The strain looks awesome.
brotherbbock

climber
So-Cal
Mar 14, 2019 - 01:53pm PT
I read the title and thought this was gonna be about how a new type of weed caused an epic haha.

Pretty bad ass line fellas...well done, thanks for the TR.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Mar 14, 2019 - 03:30pm PT
A Strain was attempted a number of times in the late 70's by climbers such as Jeff Lowe. I would assume most were made in summer which is the wrong season.
Avery

climber
New Zealand
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2019 - 02:25am PT
(DTCB) The Doctor, The Tourist, His Crampon, and Their Banana (700m, V M7.)
Scott Semple and Raphael Slawinski (2006)

DTCB Route Line
DTCB Route Line
Credit: Scott Semple
DTCB Crux
DTCB Crux
Credit: Scott Semple
DTCB Upper Slab
DTCB Upper Slab
Credit: Scott Semple

Thanks to Scott Semple
BruceHildenbrand

Social climber
Mountain View/Boulder
Mar 20, 2019 - 02:59am PT
I believe the late Michael Bearzi did and early repeat of Andromeda Strain(mid 80's) with a partner and wrote an article about if for Rock and Ice titled some like 'Taking the A-strain.'
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