Morgan and I sneaked out to the pass for one last day of bolting, adding new pitches at Emerald Lake, before the snow flew. We didn’t get any photos so this post feels a little lacking, but I will carry on regardless.
We established our goals for the day on the drive from Lethbridge to the pass and decided to attempt a direct finish to Diamond in the Rough. On our last outing we added a third pitch to this route by traversing right along a ledge system at the top of the second pitch to avoid what looked like less appealing climbing above. But the lengthy traverse meant the route couldn’t easily be rappelled. A direct line would allow the route to be rappelled easily by following parties, or if we pushed the routes high point a little further we thought the top of Rags to Riches could be reached for an alternate decent.
On the first 2 pitches it looks like a number of parties have had to bail. If anyone would like to comment on the grades of these climbs feel free to leave a comment here. Also, I would also like to point out that despite the moderate grades these are intimidating routes. If you’re at or near your limit on 5.9 single pitch sport climbs these will be scary.
At the top of pitch 2 there is a 10 foot bulge of vertical rock with what looks like rambling, slab climbing above, the climbing we wanted to avoid last time. Here we unpacked the drill and Morgan took the lead. Past the bulge Morgan found, to our surprise, relatively good quality rock and technical 5.9 slab climbing. Morgan placed all 8 bolts he packed for the pitch and climbed 30m before bringing me up to swing leads. We didn’t put in a station at this belay because we thought a large ledge above could be reached in a single 60m. Unfortunately, Morgan called out that I was nearly at 30m when I was about 5m below the ledge. So the station is a little lower than we had hoped.
We climbed a short pitch slinging trees to gain the ledge above. From here Morgan started leading and bolting P4. Which is above the top of Rags to Riches. We previously hadn’t considered climbing this rock ’cause it also looked rambling, but it turned into reasonably technical 5.9ish climbing as well on good rock. Morgan ran out of bolts (and at this point we only had rap hangers left. I took a turn climbing the pitch and added one more bolt (with a ring) so that the this pitch could safely gain the ledge above. I think, you could now use this route to approach the infamous Crow Cave above emerald wall. In the spring I will try to head up there to see if it lives up to the hype.