On June 20, Myself and Jon Walsh climbed a new line up the storied Emperor Face on Mt. Robson (3959m), the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.
On Friday the 18th, after deejaying the Test of Metal blockparty in Squamish, I hopped in my truck and drove the 10 hours through the night to meet Jon in the Robson parking lot mid-morning. We hiked in quickly and established a camp below the face.
Despite the continuous, cerebral (read: scary) nature of the climbing, it was a pure pleasure to climb such entertaining and sustained mixed ground for so long. We climbed quickly, swinging leads the entire way up the face. I can call the hardest pitch I lead M7 with a straight face. We hit the top of the face at midnight as lightning struck to the north, clouds enveloped around us, and it started to snow a little. At the time the decision was pretty easy to go down the Emperor Ridge and not continue to the summit. Now, I can't help but wonder 'what if?'
It always seemed a little silly to argue over the very definitions we climbers make up ourselves. Summit or not, it definitely felt like a new route. In correspondence with a longtime Rockies climber, another hero of mine, his point was clear: "we're not arguing black or white here, rather, different shades of ugly".
Look for a feature article I'm writing for Gripped Magazine.
Read the Alpinist Magazine report here