Guiness Gully

November 27th, 2004

For our last day we decided to go to Field and climb Guiness Gully (WI4). It is a very popular and classic line on Mt. Dennis that is only a 5-10 minute approach from the car. As one would expect, Saturday might be a busy day to get on this thing. Therefore, we stayed in Lake Louise the night before at the ACC Hostel. It was pretty expensive for the four of us together, but at least the climb was only about a 30 minute drive away. For some reason I decided that we needed to get up at 5 a.m. to be first on the route. Ken and Micah were pretty damn grumpy when I woke them up, and a fresh omelet did little to sweeten 'em up. When we pulled into the parking spot a solid hour before daybreak, I realized that maaaaaaybe we had gotten up too early. Hmmm, sorry guys!

Guiness Gully (WI4). Photo by Eric and Lucie

Once daylight came we saddled up and hiked up the hill. Soon the climb came into view, and it looked... HARD! A thin pencil of a pillar was just touching down from an imposing roof. A steep curtain finished off the pitch. Crap, maybe we shouldn't get on this thing at all! Ken was thinking about maybe giving it a go when he realized we were looking at Pilsner Pillar (WI6)! Yikes, so back to the car we zoomed. Unfortunately, a car was next to ours full of people wanting to climb Guiness. We drove on down to the real parking spot (just before the spur road rejoins HW 1) where two cars were already parked. Crap!

One person was milling around the front car, and watched in horror as we hopped out, shouldered our packs and headed for the climb in under 30 seconds. Once into the forest I looked back and saw the guy hot on our heels. The race was on! We all booked it up a cattle train of tracks heading up through the forest, and luckily our group all arrived at the base first. The guy behind us, a local guide, was pretty gracious about the whole thing, which I found pretty funny. It turns out this climb has plenty of snow between pitches such that parties can be on each pitch without knocking ice down on each other.

Ken leading the first pitch on featured ice (WI4).

Dave on the short steep pillar of pitch 2 (WI3+). Photo by Micah.

Starting the long and amazing third pitch (WI3+). Photo by Micah.

I'm loving those Quarks on the picked out brittle section. Photo by Micah.

Simply a great climb for the grade. All pitches are in the same range and sported good ice. We descended the climb as the guide mentioned that the walk off sucks in the early season. A 60 meter rappell brought us down the third pitch from the top, and the rest of the rapps were strait forward.

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