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White Fang

First ascent
Ruari Macfarlane, Sam Waetford, July 14 2021

A beautiful steep pillar, East facing at 1700m up Husky Stream (visible from the Southern base of the Husky Gut bypass), and amongst the most accessible ice routes from MCV. A long single pitch, or a couple shorter ones. WI4+. Formed midwinter after a cold spell. Complex avalanche terrain - on the approach, and from steep terrain threatening the route. Extra caution if Westerly winds are forecast - the slope above is a steep lee slope, very prone to wind loading. If loose wet avalanches are a concern, the pillar is likely too wet anyhow!
One of the attractions is an optional ice cave approach, following the stream through a cave in a permanent avalanche debris snowfield, immediately below the route (this was almost fully plugged with fresh debris during the FA). A 3 hour approach from Celmisia Flat by bike/foot, in very slow travel conditions. From the Husky Flat chain (4wd access to here), total 800m vert / 3 km. One approach option shown in attached image: walk up the stream until it narrows, then follow steep, sustained snow/scree slopes on the true left. Above 1400m trend left (SW) into the basin below the pillar. Approach and FA were in the dark (work night), so different options may exist (eg sidling leftwards at a higher elevation ). Further rambling pitches appear possible (snow / short ice steps). A radically difficult mixed route would be possible up the right-hand side.

  • P1
  • Water Ice WI2
  • 10m

Carefully approach and climb the first 10m of thinner shell-ice to a sheltered belay cave on the right - or more logically scramble up snowslopes to the right, to the same belay cave. Ice screw anchor.

  • P2
  • Water Ice WI4
  • 35m

Step left onto the pillar. A thinnish curtain of vertical ice begins easing slightly after 5m, but the climbing remains steep and tenuous for 20 meters. Heavily chandeliered on the first ascent; the belayer experienced some concern when ice began falling down the inside of the curtain with each blow. Belay wherever you find good ice in the lower angle ice gully above; unless you plan on extending this route through the small steep choke above into rambling terrain.

ruari macfarlane